lion tattoo design ideas

35 Badass Lion Tattoo Design Ideas

No wonder the lion king has become a popular subject in the tattoo community. There are many lion tattoo designs each one has a different and special meaning. From simple paw prints to the intricate photo-realistic lion tattoo, your choices are infinite. Most lion tattoos are intricate works of art that speak of the tattoo artist’s skills and experience.

The strong expression of the eyes and the flow of the mane makes this tattoo impressive and expressive. Here are 35 of the most badass lion tattoo ideas for men and women.

King of the Jungle

Let us start the list strong with the lion with the crown tattoo. What better way to assert your dominance and power than by wearing a crown. This lion tattoo is a favorite amongst men who is the protector and the head of the family, just like a true king. 

Fierce lion

Another fierce and dominating tattoo design idea is the fierce lion. Although the lion is already a fierce and intimidating animal, the detail of the eyes and the snarl will bring this tattoo to life. If you want to show dominance and assert your position, this is the tattoo for you.

fierce lion

Lion head

One of the most beautiful lion tattoos is the lion head. The intricate detail of the mane and the expression in the eye will give personality to this tattoo. A lion head tattoo usually shows the softer side of this animal. That is why it is commonly worn to express mystery and emotion.

big lion head tattoo on back

Roaring lion tattoo

This tattoo intimidates. A roaring lion is a powerful and badass tattoo that shows superiority and dominance. If you want to make a strong statement, this is the lion tattoo to match your masculine energy.

lion roar tattoo on thigh
roaring lion tattoo in arm

Lion eyes tattoo

There are many ways to do the lion eyes tattoo. The eyes of a lion can express strong determination, or it can also express melancholy. This tattoo is best done in a photorealistic style to give the expression of the eyes life. The lion eyes tattoo symbolizes being watched or watching over someone as a means of protecting them.

lion eyes tattoo

Winged lion tattoo

The Winged lion is a mythical creature that originated from the Mediterranean as a decorative motif. From walls of the museums to the forearm or the chest. It just proves that the charm of this majestic animal has no limits.  

winged lion tattoo

Lion finger tattoo

Although finger tattoos are not the best places for a tattoo, there are still many who ink a lion’s head on their fingers. This is a subtle way to get inked yet express strong emotion. It may look tiny but its coolness makes up for its size.

Lion forearm tattoo

A forearm tattoo is a good place for a small to medium-sized lion tattoo. It is a good part of the canvass because you can directly see your tattoo. If you are a tattoo virgin, we suggest trying your first one on the forearm. This is one of the least painful places to ink a tattoo.

lion tattoo on forearm
watercolor lion head tattoo on hand

Lion chest tattoo

If you want a big and bold tattoo, this placement is for you. You can have unlimited options for lion tattoo ideas for a chest tattoo. The chest has a big surface area that makes for a good canvass. Your chest is a good place to showcase a lion tattoo with complex and impressive detailing.

lion chest tattoo

Lion back tattoo

Back is one of the most popular canvasses for tattoos no matter the design. It has a huge surface area that makes for the perfect placement and detailing of any tattoo. You can do a pack of lions or a family of lion tattoos with the space that you have.

lion tattoo on back
lion and lioness back tattoo

Lion shoulder tattoo

Another favorite place for a tattoo is the shoulder. Commonly, men choose the head of a lion or a roaring lion to place on this part of the body. Like the chest and the back, the shoulder offers a large art space. You can start from the shoulder and extend to your chest or your biceps or to your back.

lion tattoo on shoulder

Lion sleeve tattoo

A sleeve tattoo is badass enough, add the king of the jungle tattoo and you take “badass tattoo” to another level. The sleeve lion tattoo offers a good space for a vertical tattoo so placement is important. The best part of this tattoo is you have a 360-degree of awesome artwork in your arms.

full sleeve lion tattoo

Lion hand tattoo

Hands are one of the most visible parts of the body so if you want to make a statement, a lion hand tattoo will do the job for you. Although the hands have the reputation of being a tricky place to tattoo and bad healing, there are still many who opt for a hand tattoo. Get a good artist and you can pull this off. 

Female lion tattoo

This may be a masculinity-dominated tattoo, but we can never forget the queen. The lioness will take its place in our list of the best lion tattoo ideas for men. The female lion tattoo is a tribute to the strong woman backing up the strong man that you are.

lioness tattoo on women ribs
lion and cub tattoo on forearm

Baby lion tattoo

The list will not be complete without the cute and adorable cubs. Baby lion tattoos symbolize the paternal instinct and the love of a father for his child. This is a favorite tattoo for men who just had a child and who feel deeply for their children.

lion cub tattoo on arms

Lion and cub tattoo

Lion and cub tattoo is another popular choice for the head of the family. It symbolizes the paternal instinct and the love of a father to his children. A big canvass space like the back or the chest is the perfect placement for this tattoo.

lion and cub tattoo on leg
black and grey lion and cub tattoo

Lion family tattoo

We have the king of the jungle, the lioness and the cub and on the list. Put them together in one artwork and you get a tattoo that speaks of family love. This is an intricate tattoo that will test the skill of your tattoo artist.

lion family tattoo on hand
lion family tattoo on forearm

Lion and lamb tattoo

The lion and lamb tattoo shows two contrasting meanings. The lion is a symbol of power and dominance whilst the lamb symbolizes purity and innocence. This tattoo also touches on spirituality symbolizing Christ’s sacrifice.

lion and lamb tattoo

Pride of lion tattoo

Pride of lion tattoo is something to be proud of. Sitting on the tattoo chair and enduring hours of pain for this stunning tattoo is one reason to show off this tattoo. Another is the strong but meaningful message it sends. The tattoo symbolizes leadership and love for family and close friends.

sitting pride lion tattoo

Lion paw tattoo

Subtle and lion are two words that don’t seem to match. But if you want a lion tattoo but your personality does not match the dominating and powerful lion, the lion paw tattoo is your best bet.

Lion scratch tattoo

When you see a lion scratch tattoo, the first thing that you feel is pain and agony. A photo-realistic lion scratch tattoo captures the emotion and gives the sensation of getting clawed by this fierce animal. This tattoo is usually placed on the chest or the back. 

Lion King tattoo

We all grow up watching Lion King. So it is not impossible that many men would want to ink the characters in this epic movie. Simba, Scar and Mufasa are the favorites subject of a Lion King tattoo.  

Lion and flower tattoo

Lion and flowers are two subjects that you wouldn’t imagine coming together to form one impressive tattoo. But surprisingly, this combo works. The lion represents masculinity while the flower shows the softer side of the person. 

Lion and cross tattoo

A lion and cross tattoo often have a spiritual meaning attached to it. The lion in Christianity symbolizes Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and courage. It is also the symbol of Judah, an ancient Israelite tribe.

lion and cross tattoo

Lion and dragon tattoo

Lion and dragon are two of the fiercest and most powerful creatures in the animal kingdom. Combine these two subjects and you will get an impressive and intimidating tattoo. This tattoo symbolizes strength and authority. Needless to say, this tattoo is one kickass piece of art.

Lion and wolf tattoo

Both the lion and the wolf are symbols of loyalty, courage, domination and strength. Apart from these, both animals are often associated with mystery and spiritual guidance. Oftentimes, the wolf and the lion are the spirit animals of the strong and the brave.  

lion and wolf tattoo in arms

Asian lion tattoo

The lion of “Foo dog” is an important part of Asian culture, particularly the Japanese and Chinese cultures. They are often characterized by long fangs, scary eyes and colorful bodies. The male foo dog symbolizes guardianship and protection while the female foo dog symbolizes nurturing spirit, support and goodness.

Black and gray lion tattoo

Most lion tattoos are done in black and gray it was considered to best but nowadays, there are other bold and colorful ways to do a lion tattoo like a neo-traditional tattoo, watercolor tattoo and 3D tattoo. This tattoo style being a favorite amongst males. The combination of black and gray lines and proper shading gives life and character to this tattoo. It also shows the high level of skills and experience of the tattoo artist.

black and grey lion tattoo

Colored lion tattoo

A colored lion tattoo is a bold choice when it comes to this subject. The proper combination and contrast of color is the most important aspect of this tattoo. Get your color combos correct and you are sure to get a stunning and eye-catching tattoo.

colored african safari lion tattoo
color lion tattoo on arm
color head lion

3D lion tattoo

2D lions are creative and impressive enough. But do it in 3D and your lion tattoo will come to life. A popular design for a 3D lion tattoo is the running or jumping lion. The 3D effect gives motion to the art.

3d lion tattoo

Photo-realistic lion tattoo

A photo-realistic tattoo is a tattoo style that makes a tattoo look like a photograph on the skin rather than a drawing. This complex tattooing style requires experience and a mastery of the technique. One wrong line or one small mistake can ruin the whole image.    

Neo-traditional lion tattoo

For a more modern yet bold rendition of a lion tattoo, try a neo-traditional style. The combination of bold lines, bright and strong colors and intricate details make your lion tattoo eye-catching. The neo-traditional style gives a modern spin to the classic tattoo subject.

Watercolor lion tattoo

Another bold move for a lion tattoo is to do it in watercolor. This tattoo style might not be able to capture the details of the lion’s mane, which gives its personality, there is still a charm with watercolor tattoos. The proper combination and saturation of colors is the key to getting an impressive watercolor lion tattoo.

watercolor lion tattoo on arm
@ joho.steve

Geometric lion tattoo

For a more artsy lion tattoo idea, you may want to consider a geometric lion tattoo. The combination of shapes, lines and shading will bring this tattoo to life. This tattoo symbolizes symmetry, balance and harmony. This is a badass tattoo for men who wants to show order.

Tribal lion tattoo

A tribal lion tattoo is a symbolic tattoo. It means being a part of a tribe or a family. What makes a tribal tattoo interesting is the combination of curves and lines that forms the image of this fierce animal. Plus it is uber cool if done on the right placement.

What does a lion tattoo symbolize?

The lion is a symbol of power, masculinity, domination and strength, hence being called the “king of the jungle”. In many different cultures, lions represent protection, honor, loyalty and royalty. It is an icon that will never be out of date.

What is the best lion tattoo?

The best lion tattoo is the tattoo that speaks of your personality.


No doubt getting a lion tattoo is a bold move. A lion tattoo speaks of the strong and masculine personality of the wearer. And a good lion tattoo can add confidence to the person. It can help a person embody the boldness and bravery of the lion. But a lion tattoo is not an easy piece of art. The intricate details of a lion’s face are a true testament to the talent and skill of the tattoo artist. So if you want a kickass lion tattoo, find an experienced and passionate artist.

Image source – All the images are from Instagram and the source is mentioned in the caption. Featured image @modoink_vivi

Disclaimer: This tattoo collection is for inspiration only. Please do not copy the artwork. If you love these tattoos, follow artists and show them some support

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