160 Kick-Ass Dragon Tattoo Designs to Choose From (with Meanings)

The dragon tattoo has pretty much been immortalized in the world of tattoo designs. Each part of the world has had their own artistic depiction of what these mythical creatures are supposed to look like. Sometimes, the dragon has been created to represent strength, or as a defender of something valuable like a treasure chest or a bag of valuable gems. Dragons have both been given good and evil personalities in legends, television, literature, and pop culture. So a tattoo of a dragon can bring up these types of ideals, but of course, it varies from owner to owner and the artist.

A man sporting a dragon tattoo can have a different meaning as compared to a woman sporting the same tattoo design. On men, dragon tattoos can symbolize toughness and power. If a girl carries it, it suggests that she has a strong personality, and never listens to whatever opinions people have of her.


Types of Dragon Tattoos

Oriental Dragon Tattoos

Oriental-style dragon tattoos are created with a vibrant, colorful design. These tattoos are based on the artist’s own imagination, as well as their creativity and skill level. In Chinese culture, dragons represent fertility, compassion, and good fortune, which is why they are a common motif in Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations.

Dragon and Tiger Tattoos

Tigers and dragons are considered to be opposites, according to common folklore. Both animals signify duality, since they balance each other’s own powerful forces. A dragon and tiger pairing is often compared to the yin-yang symbol, once again prevalent in East Asian cultures. These types of tattoos are highly versatile, since they are liked by women and men.

dragon tattoo designs

Cute Dragon

Just because it’s a dragon doesn’t necessarily mean the design has to be fierce-looking: Certain people, women in particular, usually get cuter, cartoonized versions of dragon tattoos. Artists like to incorporate these cute characters into a sleeve tattoo, if the client requests it. But if you want to find a look that isn’t too ferocious or masculine-looking, then this is the right kind of tattoo for you, since you can incorporate it with pastel colors and cute symbols.

Dragon and Moon Tattoos

The moon is already a powerful symbol by itself – It symbolizes reaffirmation, since everyone is touched by its beams of light. The moon’s changing faces is akin to regenerating, and has often been used to signify influence, purity, and a quiet type of inner strength. Both the moon and the dragon are water symbols. These two form a relationship from within a person’s subconscious, and are often connected to deep thought processes, and meditation.

Japanese Irezumi Dragon Tattoo

This type of dragon tattoo features a legendary Japanese dragon named Ryu. This type of tattoo is decorated with hues of red, black, gray and yellow, giving it a wonderful, slightly oriental look to it. The Irezumi tattoo is huge, so it’s recommended to be placed on your back, or your stomach.

dragon tattoo

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Meaning of Dragon Tattoos

The dragon has long been regarded as a creature of power, so the dragon tattoo means the person has, or wants to have, the same characters that a dragon would possess: Power, strength, and bravery.

The gothic-style dragon tattoo also represents a man’s primal instincts. When it comes to a good dragon tattoo design, the creature is often drawn looking defiant, almost as if he’s ready to defeat and overpower those who dare to weaken and defeat him. Those who carry this type of design are brave, not to mention, powerful.

With them, dragon tattoos hold plenty of aspects and characterizations, such as masculinity, passion, desire, longevity, wisdom, and creation/destruction.

dragon tattoos   

Ideal Placement of Dragon Tattoos

Dragons’ bodies are very expressive, so the tattoo artist can give draw them in many positions. They can also give the dragon a highly expressive look, which is sure to give it a bit of a personality.

Dragon tattoos are usually drawn on a person’s back, thighs, arms, chest, and side. Plenty of these tattoos take up an entire surface area of a person’s skin – Occasionally even covering up the entire body part.

Men get big tattoos on their chests, and depending on the artist’s skill, it can look quite elaborate and highly detailed. It probably just depends on the type of message you want to convey with that tattoo of yours. You can choose if you want a cute dragon like the one mentioned earlier, or a huge dragon with its fangs bared.

Dragon tattoos are huge, and this is one of the reason why a dragon tattoo design is preferred on the back.

If possible, you can get a smaller tattoo on your neck, shoulder, arms, ankles, wrists, and even the finger.

The average basketball player is sometimes decorated with plenty of tattoos. Practically every athlete out there sports sleeve tattoos that occupy the entire length of the arm. These established athletes already have enough cash to get every single inch of their bodies tattooed – Or have them removed or changed if they don’t lie it. However, if you’re an ordinary fellow who’s currently hunting for his future job, it’s not the right time for you to get a tattoo.

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Dragon Tattoos Preparation Tips

After you have decided to finally get a tattoo, you must now look for an experienced tattooist with a stellar reputation, and fits your preferred design.

Check out your preferred artist’s portfolio, or go search up their looks online. This allows you to learn if your tattoo style of choice fits with the dragon tattoo design that you have sketched in your mind, or on paper. Plenty of tattooists nowadays have opened up social media accounts for their artwork, and they like to update these very often with their latest designs, or the ones that don’t fit in their artist’s portfolio. With this, you can get an idea of their expertise and what kind of skill they currently have.

If you’re planning to get your first tattoo, pick a small one first. Once you’re used to having the needles prick your skin, then you can go for the full sleeve.

You have to purchase all of the necessary things before you head on over to the studio. First, you will need clean paper towels, cotton towels, tattoo aftercare lotion or a non-scented lotion, and an antibacterial soap. You must bring these to the tattoo parlor, just in case the parlor itself does not carry these items. This reduces the chance of your tattoo getting a bacterial infection.

Make sure you are well-rested and have eaten a good meal before you visit the parlor for your appointment. Get plenty of rest so you can feel relaxed the next morning. Have breakfast or lunch at least two or three hours before the session begins. Get yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water. Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes because this can ruin your tattoo’s design.

dragon tattoos for men

Average Service Cost & Standard Price for Getting Dragon Tattoos

Just like most tattoos, this one doesn’t come with a fixed price. If you want to cover up your skin with a gigantic dragon tattoo design, then be prepared to shell out thousands of bucks. There are many spots in which you can get the same size and design of tattoo for a reasonable price, but keep in mind that the end results will also depend on the skill of the artist. Do a research on the shop where you want to get a tattoo from, and, if possible, meet up with the artist a couple of days or weeks before the session. This allows the both of you to discuss the type of design you want to have, as well as set a fixed price for the design.

If your design involves the dragon’s tail wrapping around your body, then this can make your dragon tattoo a bit pricey – Not to mention the process might be twice as painful. The artist will place your dragon tattoo design somewhere in the price range of $800 and $1200. This could also take hours to complete, causing you to pay even more cash.

Maintenance Tips After Getting Dragon Tattoos

Clean your new ink twice or thrice a day. If it starts to peel, leave it alone – This is completely normal. Wash your tattoo during your shower, or at least after you wake up or before you get some sleep at night. Allow it to air dry after you clean it up.

Your tattoo will heal up eventually, but the aftercare doesn’t stop there – You have to maintain it daily in order to keep it looking as good as new. If you don’t take care of it, the ink could fade out faster, and experience discoloration. Buy a non-scented lotion, or even better, a tattoo aftercare lotion. Your skin will also feel healthier and moisturized when you apply the lotion to your tattoo daily. If you correctly follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions, your tattoo will heal properly and will gain plenty of admirers.