40 Awesome Lion Tattoo Ideas for Men & Women in 2023
The King (and Queen) of the Jungle, nature’s most ferocious feline. Power. Beauty. Speed. Family. There are so many reasons why one would love a lion, so it comes as no surprise that lion tattoos are so darn popular.
But before you go and get your own lion tattoo, let us help guide you in choosing the perfect piece of ink. Below we’ll show you the most unique, most stylish, and best-looking lion tattoo ideas of 2023. You’ll surely be inspired with the perfect idea of which tattoo style to get, as well as where to get tattooed on your body.
With that said, let’s begin.
Ornamental Minimal Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Woman’s Forearm
It’s clear to see we’ve got the Lion King here. Fineline style provides the crown while the decorative Ornamental motif “softens” the design. Overall this is a very pretty, feminine tattoo perfectly centered over the forearm.
Fineline Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Inner Biceps
Fineline style is seen in the beautiful linear lines and circles of this tattoo. The two seem to form something akin to a spiritual staff imparting wisdom to this “all-seeing” lion. The well-demarcated triangular frame showcases the lion and positions it perfectly over the biceps. Simple Sophistication
Realistic Black and Gray Lion Tattoo
Ok if this doesn’t say “Keep Away” I don’t know what does. On the other hand this tattoo is sure to draw attention and conversation. You can see how the artist used fine black lines, contrast and shading to create this realistic lion. The blue eyes are a nice added touch to the otherwise exclusive use of black and gray.
Style: realistic black and gray
Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Wrist
Black ink alone is used in this tattoo. It’s then watered down to create the gray tones which are expertly used for shading. The angular lines of the lion’s face and mane impart a strength to the lion. Positioned right at the wrist, this design could be the perfect ending for a full-sleeve tattoo.
Black and Gray with Watercolor Lion Tattoo on Shoulder Blade
Watercolor style + Black and Gray style = A marriage made in tattoo heaven. Whether with pastels or black and gray tones, the shading in this tattoo is exquisite. It’s nice how some of the gray shading is carried onto the flowers. Similarly the lion’s blue eye serves to create a harmony, yes a “marriage” between these two different styles.
Fineline Lion Tattoo on Woman’s Arm
Fineline style with its characteristic thin lines imparts a delicate feel. Here the simplicity of design and style seem to impart a quiet regalness to this lioness. Resting right on your arm it’s totally Insta-ready.
Click here if you’d like to see more minimal tattoo ideas.
Fineline Lion Tattoo on Top of Forearm
Fineline style typically imparts a delicate feel. In this case the lion is a strong enough theme to receive this treatment. The wavy black lines of the mane contrast nicely with the straighter lines of the feathers. The design is 2D but definitely a stand out.
Realistic Color Lion With Crown Tattoo on Chest
This must be The Lion King. Great 3D is achieved here with the use of fine lines, contrast and shading. Many tones are used and even white ink to impart the realism. Look at the jewels of the crown and you can see them sparkle. Props to the artist at Bloodline Tattoo out of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Black and Gray Lion Tattoo
I love this tattoo; it’s powerful in a quiet way. With fine lines and soft shading you can feel this Lioness’ embrace of her cub. You can sense the warmth of her body. The barely there shading is a subtle touch that elevates this design to another level. Accented by the negative space around it, this tattoo looks and feels like a dream.
Realistic Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Man’s Arm
Historically lioned-headed female deities represented fierceness and bravery and imparted protection to others. Maybe that’s why this guy has this large impressive tattoo on his arm. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to ignore the fierce realism of both the woman and lion. Each has a piercing gaze and impressive detail created with black ink, gray shading and use of negative space. Truly Impressive
Sketch With Watercolor Lion Tattoo on Upper Back
I love this tattoo for so many reasons. First Sketch style is so contemporary and fresh; overlapping lines, incomplete strokes, nothing extra. Then combining it with Watercolor style flowers is so unexpected both style-wise and theme-wise. The upper back provides a perfect frame for the design. Btw when painting or tattooing, Watercolors require genuine skill. Props to the artist.
Realistic Black and Gray ¾ Sleeve Lion Tattoo
You have to admit this is one awesome tattoo. With steady lines, great shading and contrast, dimensionality is created bringing this lion to life. There are so many interesting elements to this design: the clock, the flowers and of course the connection to the half-chest tattoo. The two seamlessly blend and look like they are each part of one larger design. This one is a Head Turner
Realistic Black and Gray Lion Tattoo
You can feel this lion watching you. The intensity of the gaze and perfect shading and contrast make this an awesome tattoo. The faint light on the snout makes it actually look wet. This is Realistic Black and Gray styles done to perfection.
Realistic Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Top Man’s Forearm
The forearm provides a great place for animal head tattoos as its flat surface prevents distortion of facial details. This tattoo has awesome black inking along with gray shading. Both are really excellent. The artist did a wonderful job here.
Fineline Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Forearm With Dotwork
The mix of three styles works in this design: Fineline, Dotwork and Black and Gray. The dotwork and fine lines above and below the lioness make full use of the canvas provided by the forearm. The curved line design element by the wrist is a pretty added touch.
Floral With Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Woman’s Hip
Of course you’d take a look if you saw a lion walking among the flowers; or inked on a woman’s hip. This one definitely deserves stares. Black and Gray style is beautifully used to outline and shade both the flowers and lion. The location of a tattoo definitely should influence its dimensions. You can see that influence here as the flowers follow the body contours. Very attractive!
Realistic Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Woman’s Hip
This tattoo has fantastic shading not only on the lion’s face but also around it. Here the medium and darker shades of gray define and anchor the face to the overall design. The very dark shadows between the lion and the flowers also change the mood; from light and delicate to intense and strong. Definitely Befitting A Lion
Black and Gray With Watercolor Lion Tattoo on Forearm
With Watercolor style the colors are dabbed on looking somewhat like splashes or splotches. If not skillfully done the result can literally be a mess. Lucky for this guy that’s not the case here. Gray tones are used to shade and provide contrast for the lion. I really like the heavy bands of black ink suggestive of street art that frame the lion. The right eye, inked in Watercolors and then encircled by black scribbling, is more evidence of this artist’s skill. Awesome
Custom Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Arm
A tattoo is not only a way to showcase artwork but also a way to tell a story. And there’s definitely a story behind this custom design. Beyond its intended meaning, really great skill is seen here. Although there are many elements, the overall design looks cohesive and never messy. The amount of detail seen in each of the small planets is amazing. Again if you want something like this make sure the artist has the skills.
Neo Traditional Lion Tattoo
Neo Traditional style generally differs from New School as it doesn’t employ vibrant colors. The typical muted shades associated with Neo Traditional style are switched up here for gray tones and black and white ink. I think it works to serve up the reminder to have “Courage Each and Every Day”.
Check out more Neo Traditional style tattoos here!
Realistic Black and Gray Full Back Lion Tattoo
If you’re going to get a full back tattoo it’s nice to have a back like this guy’s. The lion with his fangs and the woman with her long nails and swirling hair look equally powerful to me. Awesome black linework and shades of gray provide contrast and realism to each face. With great use of light neither gets lost within the design. The negative space also creates this jungle of palms. Fantastic
King of Jungle - A Realistic Lion Portrait Tattoo With Orange Sunset
If this isn’t the coolest lion half-sleeve tattoo ever, then I don’t know what is.
The detail the artist put into this tattoo is absolutely mind-blowing. Whether it be the black and gray lion or the colorful African sunset, this artist is an absolute master of realistic tattoos.
Geometric, Realistic and Black and Gray Lion Tattoo
The fractalized, repeating geometric pattern of the Mandala serves as a crown for this lion. The Mandala has often been used in Eastern Religions as a tool while meditating. Here it imparts an all-knowing look to the lion. Add to that the skilled shading of the lion and you have one awesome tattoo.
Fineline Lion Tattoo on Outer Forearm
What stands out in this design is the awesome use of negative or un-inked space. The space around this mother lion and her cubs makes the overall design cohesive even without the addition of secondary details. With just thin black lines and no shading or color, you can sense the connection among these three.
Realistic Black and Gray Half-Sleeve Lioness and Cub Tattoo
Sitting at the top of the arm, the shoulder perfectly frames this lioness. The heavy black inking around her actually highlights her face and prevents the design from looking too busy. It also adds a sense of movement. Very Nice
Minimal Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Forearm
This tattoo is small but mighty. Just like the lion. The rectangular shaded frame and surrounding negative space elevate the importance of this design and make it pop. With the addition of flowers and the infinity symbol, perhaps it’s saying: “I Am Woman. I Am Forever Strong”.
Realistic Black and Gray Full Chest Lion Tattoo
This tattoo probably has its origin in The Lion King; Simba, like Moses, is victorious over oppressive rulers. These inspirational stories are symbolized in this impressive design. Black ink is used and then watered down to create multiple shades of gray. Here different shades of gray are used for each side creating shading and contrast. Although the two sides mesh seamlessly together, the different tones provide distinction to each side. The overall design beautifully follows the curves of the shoulders and chest. It doesn’t hurt that this guy provides one fine looking canvas.
Sketch Style Lion Tattoo on Forearm
Sketch style is contemporary, it’s fresh and getting more and more popular. Sketch style looks exactly like you’d think; a sketch on a piece of paper. There’s bold shading but the use of negative space really characterizes the style. The forearm is a great place for inking an animal head. As the surface is flat you won’t get distortion of the facial features.
Realistic Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Triceps
Realistic style is often used to depict animals. Here Black and Gray style with its fine lines, contrast and shading is employed to make this lion so realistic. The contrasting shades of gray used for both the lion and flowers provides contrast and prevents the design from being overly busy.
Floral Black and Gray Tattoo on Thigh
Don’t you think this tattoo is off the charts? The thin black lines and accompanying shading is beautiful. The light emanating from the flowers is created with the use of negative space. This provides contrast between the lion and the flowers and prevents the design from looking messy. Of course a great artist doesn’t forget small touches like the sole leaf falling onto the knee. Nice
Realistic Black and Gray Lion Tattoo
Dark shading is used throughout this tattoo but its the multiple tones of gray that give it light. Even the dark shadow around the periphery works to frame and highlight the lion. Add to that the use of white ink around the eyes and rose petals and this is one very cool tattoo.
Watercolor Lion Tattoo on Outer Thigh
Think Watercolors and think of flowers and pretty landscapes. Lions? Not so much. Of course it works in this large thigh tattoo. Watercolor style often involves dabbing colors on in big bold splashes. In the hands of an unskilled painter or tattoo artist the result is often a mess.
Thankfully that’s not the case here, as the lion and the cherry blossoms go very well together.
Blackwork Lion Tattoo on Thigh
Blackwork style is often used for large designs which are typically on the arms or legs. Here you can see the characteristic use of heavy sold planes of black ink. The lion’s mane is created by combining these solid planes with adjacent negative space.
Blackwork Lion Tattoo on Man’s Arm
The large flat planes of the lion’s face are so cool; they definitely add to his intimidating look. Black ink alone is used in this tattoo and then in dot-like fashion applied under the eyes. Super cool. It’s nice how the design follows the curves of the shoulder continuing all the way down to the swirling of the mane onto the elbow. Great technical and artistic skill on display
Realistic Black and Gray Lion Tattoo on Forearm
I wonder if that’s a printed/painted picture on the left and the inspiration for this design. The lion in this tattoo is certainly realistic looking. In the Christian tradition, the deer symbolizes piety, devotion and courage making the lion an obvious pairing. Along with the artistic interpretation, great inking skills are on display here.
Lion Tattoo Mandala With Black and Gray on Top of Forearm
What better way to showcase that you’re feminine and strong than with this design. This lioness is regally adorned with the ornamental elements of the Mandala – a perfect crown. A dangling jeweled piece is even included; the flower being the perfect finishing touch at the wrist.
Floral Lion Tattoo
Perfectly accented with flowers, this lion gracefully adorns the body. The thin black lines and subtle shading are really beautiful. White ink is then artistically employed to highlight the flowers as well as the lion’s eyes. Not every artist is skilled with white ink so be sure to check their portfolio first. Fortunately Marina Storck out of Guarapari, Brazil has the necessary skills.
Black and Gray Linework Lion Tattoo on Top of Forearm
Courage along with sunlight reveal/unlock the truth. I’m not sure that’s the meaning of this design but I do know it it’s inked with impressive skill. From the straight lines – to the contrast created with tones of gray – to its positioning on top of the forearm; they all highlight the skill of this artist.
Custom Black and Gray Fineline Lion Tattoos on Forearm
These his and hers tattoos are super interesting and will keep you looking for a long time. There are so many elements in each that many conversations are bound to occur. Beyond the symbolism, awesome skill is on display. Be sure to check an artist’s portfolio before commiting to similar designs.
Minimal Lion Tattoo on Ankle
This is one cute lion. Created with nothing more than several thin black lines, this is Minimal style. The design though is not just these lines; it’s also the negative space around it. With no secondary distractions, the lion pops. This is where “Less Is More”