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Wing Tattoo Meanings & Photos

Updated on February 9, 2016
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Jaymz has held numerous jobs in several states, but no matter where he works, he always has a job as a tattoo artist as well.

Whimsical, realistic, religious, or tribal, wings make a beautiful tattoo to represent your unique personality.
Whimsical, realistic, religious, or tribal, wings make a beautiful tattoo to represent your unique personality.

Wings are beautiful on birds, insects, and mythological characters. When drawn, they can appear very different depending upon the artist's style.

When it comes to wing tattoos, there are a few particularly popular styles. You'll find galleries of pictures below of these major wing types:

  • Angel
  • Fairy
  • Tribal

Wing tattoo designs often have inspirational or spiritual symbolism for the wearer. In many myths, for example, wings have to be earned. In nature, wings allow birds and insects to fly. Symbolically they can represent:

  • Speed
  • Elevation
  • Freedom
  • Aspiration

These tattoos often appear on the back, since that is where wings are located on the creatures that have them. Most traditional feathered wings will take up the width of the shoulders. Aside from those pictured here, I have also seen wings tattooed on neck napes and hips, as well as arms and backs.

Angel Wings

Traditional, feathered angel wings is probably the most popular wing tattoo design. They tend to be inked only in black and tattooed on the back of the recipient.

Wings associated with angels tend to symobolize:

  • Spirituality
  • Enlightenment
  • Guidance
  • Protection
  • Inspiration

Some of the tattoos shown below include other items, such as a halo, a complete angel, or a cross.

Tattoo by artist at Identity Tattoo and Piercing Studio, Bridlington, East Yorkshire, England.
Tattoo by artist at Identity Tattoo and Piercing Studio, Bridlington, East Yorkshire, England.
Tattoo by Macky and Sheralyn, Electroline Tattoo Studio, High Pit Road, Cramlington, UK.
Tattoo by Macky and Sheralyn, Electroline Tattoo Studio, High Pit Road, Cramlington, UK.
Tattoo by Jerry, Body Temple, Oceanside, CA.
Tattoo by Jerry, Body Temple, Oceanside, CA.
Tattoo by Teemu Brotkin.
Tattoo by Teemu Brotkin.

Fairies and Mythological Creatures

Mythological creatures that are commonly shown with wings include:

  • Fairies
  • Dragons
  • Pegasus
  • Griffons

Wings that depict a mythological creature can symbolize:

  • Alchemy
  • Magic
  • Transfomation
  • The elements (earth, sky, wind, and fire)

Tattoo by Janine Neuhaus, Sam's Tattoo, Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
Tattoo by Janine Neuhaus, Sam's Tattoo, Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
Tattoo by Matt Terry, Fu's Custom Tattoos, Charlotte, NC.
Tattoo by Matt Terry, Fu's Custom Tattoos, Charlotte, NC.
Tattoo by Cliff Ziegler, Zebra Tattooz, Streetsboro, Ohio.
Tattoo by Cliff Ziegler, Zebra Tattooz, Streetsboro, Ohio.
Tattoo by Greg, Sinkin Ink, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Tattoo by Greg, Sinkin Ink, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

More Wing Tattoo Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tattoo by Cliff Ziegler, Zebra Tattooz, Streetsboro, Ohio.Tattoo by Shawn Ink.Tattoo by Jamie, Good Clean Fun, Snellville, Georgia.Tattoo by Aaron, Mos Eisleys, Grand Rapids, MI.Tattoo by Jean-Michel, Atomik Tattoo, Ste-Foy.Tattoo by Ray, The Tattoo Studio, Sidcup.Tattoo by Gino, Manila, Philippines.
Tattoo by Cliff Ziegler, Zebra Tattooz, Streetsboro, Ohio.
Tattoo by Cliff Ziegler, Zebra Tattooz, Streetsboro, Ohio.
Tattoo by Shawn Ink.
Tattoo by Shawn Ink.
Tattoo by Jamie, Good Clean Fun, Snellville, Georgia.
Tattoo by Jamie, Good Clean Fun, Snellville, Georgia.
Tattoo by Aaron, Mos Eisleys, Grand Rapids, MI.
Tattoo by Aaron, Mos Eisleys, Grand Rapids, MI.
Tattoo by Jean-Michel, Atomik Tattoo, Ste-Foy.
Tattoo by Jean-Michel, Atomik Tattoo, Ste-Foy.
Tattoo by Ray, The Tattoo Studio, Sidcup.
Tattoo by Ray, The Tattoo Studio, Sidcup.
Tattoo by Gino, Manila, Philippines.
Tattoo by Gino, Manila, Philippines.

Tribal Style Wings

Another popular style is to draw the wing shape in black tribal style and fill in with symbols from myth, legend, or Native culture. Depicted this way, a wing tattoo can symbolize warriors in myth or reality.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo by EvilLittleBlue, via FlickrTribal wings use the wing shape and fill in with symbols.
Photo by EvilLittleBlue, via Flickr
Photo by EvilLittleBlue, via Flickr
Tribal wings use the wing shape and fill in with symbols.
Tribal wings use the wing shape and fill in with symbols.

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    • profile image

      mnms 7 months ago

      Im sorry, but some of these tattoos are just so badly done, like issues with shading and line work..

    • profile image

      nhelly bhoy 6 years ago

      i love angel wings tattoo

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      wow...I'm in love with that black and white tribal one!

    • profile image

      Tracy F 7 years ago

      You could go to Photobucket & enter 'angel wing tattoos' into the search engine...they may have some pictures.

    • profile image

      Empress Viaa 8 years ago

      I am actually thinking of getting a tattoo of a wing on my left hand (between wrist and elbow) - my b/f is gonna put the same on his right hand - so it looks like we each have a wing on opposite hands.

    • profile image

      fifi 8 years ago

      i have a tat..a cross tat..and im planning to have a wings tat. connected to my cross.

    • profile image

      malachi 8 years ago

      i am thinking about getting a tattoo on my leg of wings but i cant find any pics where the bottom of the wings are overlapping any suggestions on where i should look?

    • profile image

      sad eyes  9 years ago

      i love the pic i really want 2 get a tattoo but i don't know if i shoiuld get angelwings or stars

    • starrkissed profile image

      starrkissed 9 years ago from Arizona

      i'm glad i came across this hub. i've been thinking of getting wings for my big tattoo on my back.. but have been unsure. great pictures!

    • Raven King profile image

      Raven King 9 years ago from Cabin Fever

      The tatoo are real living art. The photos are beautiful.