I love tattoos and have been writing about the topic for several years.
An angel tattoo has become a highly popular way to express yourself through body art. It is no longer simply a figure with a set of wings; rather, it's the action of the angel that predominates in the design now. Many people try to express themselves through the human characteristics of the angel motif. It's a way to put something both spiritual and human on your skin, without having to accurately depict "real" angels.
Because there are so many types of angel-themed tattoos, I'll explore just a few here: powerful. aggressive angels, as well as those including a more quiet, contemplative and beautiful look. Angels can be archangels, guardian angels, cherubs, or fallen angels. An archangel tattoo might show an angel holding a large sword, ready to do battle, with his wings spread out to majestic width to dramatize his power and readiness.
One common design choice is a set of angel wings on the back, with the idea being that you're the angel. These large wings use the whole of the back as the canvas.
Female Angel Walking Peacefully
Sometimes understating a look can be a powerful way of actually making a strong statement with a tattoo design, and that's how I see this wonderful tattoo of a female angel quietly walking, apparently dwelling in her own thoughts.
It's a beautiful portrait, with my favorite parts of the design being the demure look on her face, and her hand holding up the robe. It's a stunning portrayal, capturing the essence of the moment perfectly.
Tattoo of Angel Wings on Back
Some people get a tattoo not of an angel, but of angel wings drawn on their back, as if to imply that they're angels, or at least potentially (we've watched too much Touched by an Angel).
Either way, these wings can look nice as art, but they to me they don't look really great as a tattoo. I'm not sure what it is, but no matter how well done they are, stylistically or in design, they just don't seem to work for me. Maybe you like them though, and that's ok, of course.
I can't help thinking that wearing the type of clothes that would showcase the angel wings would surely attract a lot of attention and comments.
Angel With Large Feathered Wings
This richly detailed tattoo almost hides the face of the angel behind the plethora of feathers that dominate the image.
Usually it's the angel itself that is on display in body art, but in this design, it's the feathers of the wings of the angel. Perhaps it's a compromise between a tattoo of a complete angel and the wings-only tattoo discussed just above.
Powerful Male Angel
Angel tattoos are just as popular with men as they are with women. It's one of several tattoo themes that work for both, especially given the diversity of ways to portray an angel.
You can design your angels as men or women, as quiet or powerful, adding elements to the design to complement the overall look of the specific angel tattoo.
When looking at this awesome male angel, you get the sense of ominous power and majesty.
The contrast between the darker shading on the left side of the piece and the lighter shading on the right creates the sense of the being standing in the light of God ... awaiting instructions.
Angels as Warriors
In Christian teaching, angels have had a couple of important roles to play. Sometimes they are sent with messages from God to His people, and sometimes they are sent to serve and protect people in various circumstances.
So the idea of powerful, protective guardian angels has been part of Christian teaching for a long time. As in some of the tattoos here, they are seen as powerful and mighty warriors for God's people.
You can see that in the very detailed tattoo design above, where it shows angels in the midst of battle.
Through the centuries, the idea that we all have a guardian angel has provided comfort in times of need. Most people imagine guardian angels as armed, like the one above. They are often thought of as protecting children especially, and many people tattoo them thinking of their own children or grandchildren.
Fallen angels are often shown in feminine form, beautiful but dark in nature. They are also portrayed as being in constant battle. If resting, they may have torn wings and bloody swords.
The darker ink usually used in fallen-angel tattoos is preferred by those who gravitate toward darker themes, like Goths, bikers, and Satanists.
Above is a fantastic look at an angel in its fallen form, with the tattered and shattered wings complementing the ragged hair which hides the shame of the angel in its broken state.
The dark ink, lines, and great shadowing make it a terrific piece of art.
Confident Male Angel
I like this tattoo of a male angel because of the way it is shown to be highly confident without being arrogant.
While appearing poised and relaxed, it also seems to be ready to take action at a moment's notice.
My favorite part of the design is in the transparent robe in front, flowing in response to a gust of wind. The long wings far above the head and hanging down to the feet emphasize the being's ample power.
Angel Tattoos Lend Themselves to Quality Design
From this small sample, you can see the quality of design and detail associated with this powerful subject matter.
Perhaps people choose these unseen beings as the subject matter for their tattoo designs because they can be shown in a wide range of emotions—representing either good or evil—that can potentially reside in any human heart.
Capturing these fascinating creatures via body art creates some images that are impossible to ignore.
Rob on November 14, 2014:
When it states the above scripture in the bible it is referring to pagan like idols that they would have branded etc upon their skin, common to people of the time. I got to minister to a man at the petrol station after he commented on my leg tattoo of Mother Mary, praise God.
torrilynn on December 07, 2013:
I agree that angel tattoos are becoming more and more popular. Especially the angel wings. Good article. Interesting indeed. Voted up.
Gems on October 16, 2011:
A God that truly loved his children would not care if they put marks on their body. It just another way to make sure he sends them all to hell.
Jesus Freak on September 15, 2011:
We as Christians are so fast to throw out this verse out. If you keep reading it is talking about pagan practices. I don't plan on putting any pegan marks on my body.
brotheryochanan on April 17, 2010:
wow.. too late to read
Leviticus 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
Often tattoos are just vanity and really we need to kill all vanity in us when we come to christ.
Jacob Z on February 01, 2010:
The guardian angel tat is so freaking awesome!! I want it. How much would that cost?