Tribal lion tattoos look like the head or entire body of the mighty lion, with the hair and mane deftly drawn in the thick, black, yet somehow graceful lines of the tribal art. Because lion tattoo designs are so popular, even some of the better tribal lion tattoo artists are beginning to vary the work by using a touch of color or varying the bold lines with a more delicate touch.
Other artists lean toward a lion tattoo design that is even more specialized. A Celtic lion tattoo will look like a lion, to be sure, but manages to work in the knotty patterns and intricate corded look so celebrated in celtic art. Likewise looking for creativity, some body artists will feature symbols familiar from heraldry: the lion dormant (lying down), passant (walking), statant (standing all four legs down) or a rampant lion tattoo which has the king of beasts on hindlegs with front claws in the air.
Perhaps the most well known artwork is the Lion of Judah tattoo. Usually thought to stand for Jesus Christ, this lion design takes many forms, but all of them are both ferocious and dignified. In Christian literature, C.S. Lewis popularized the image of the lion as a symbol of Christ in his Narnia tales and that visual image is usually a lion on gold or on green background.
Some people think if one is going to have a lion ornamentation, it should be as large and commanding as the animal itself. Thus, popular spots for lion tatoos are the shoulder, hip, back and thigh. Some are in black and white, some feature the beast in his deep golden native color, but all are intimidating and quite beautiful.