The moon is an almost perfect tattoo idea since every piece of body art is unique to the wearer and their understanding of the lunar components in the design. There are an almost unlimited palette of designs and ideas incorporating aspects of lunar life that you can take with you to the tattoo shop.
A moon tattoo design is perhaps the most highly charged of tattoos incorporating the role natural elements play in life. It can also illustrate body art ideas of love, duality, aspects of femininity and womanhood, or can be used in matching couples tattoo or way out new wave depictions of space and the intergalactic.
Read on for 85 awesome descriptions of moon tattoo images and concepts. You can utilize a moon symbol for use in your next tattoo or see how it fits into the list of best tattoo idea list. From a moon phase piece to cool crescent moon tattoo design ideas, you’ll be illuminated with inspiration for a beautiful tattoo.
1. Man in the Moon Tattoo Ideas
This is a great black and gray design that takes an image that could have been pulled from a 19th-century children’s book and turns it into an interesting tattoo. The artist makes expert use of bold line work and some limited gray wash to create a tattoo that is reminiscent of hand-etched lithographs.
The use of clean line work in the face is impressive, perfectly capturing the stoic countenance on the moon man’s face, while the swirls in the clouds are perfectly applied. The composition of this piece is well thought out and balanced, further enhancing the appeal of this interesting and unique tattoo.
The moon has been called the “ship of light on the sea of night”. One look upwards into the night sky and you’ll spot the moon smiling right on back – it’s not hard to picture that being a person smiling back. It’s a constant theme in tattooing, whether harking back to illustrating ancient cultures or balancing against a sun tattoo.
2. Black and Gray Realist Moon Tattoo Designs
This tattoo takes a more photorealistic approach than some of the other designs with great results. The artist uses one bold line to capture the shape of the moon, other than that the design is made up of expert black and gray shading and intelligent use of negative space.
The gradation of tones in this tattoo is also excellent; the fully saturated black at the bottom of the piece gradually moves towards the almost full negative space in the crater in the top right portion of the piece. The varied use of stipple and whip shading is excellent as well, allowing the artist to create a surprising amount of depth and texture in a relatively small tattoo.
3. Landscape Tattoos Featuring the Moon
This is an interesting piece, placed on the shoulder blade that takes an illustrative approach to create a lovely, moon-inspired tattoo. What immediately stands out in this piece is the extreme level of saturation in the black at the bottom of the design; it produces a creative foundation for the design that allows the lighter portions of the tattoo to really pop.
The bold line work that is used in the craggy peaks is clean and deliberate while the finer line work used in the trees perfectly captures a nighttime landscape. The fine stipple shading that starts above the mountains, eventually fading to negative space, is a clever way to enhance the composition and gives the design a more open feel.
This design is inspired by a nighttime scene over a lake with the moon reflected in the surface of the water, and the tattoo artist makes a couple of different stylistic choices that are incorporated into an interesting tattoo. The landscape in the bottom half of the tattoo uses a more illustrative design concept with bold lines forming the outline of the hilltops and negative space with some white ink for highlights.
The moon, on the other hand, is completed with a much more realistic approach: there are none of the bold lines used in the bottom half, instead, the artist utilizes shading and excellent use of negative space to create an almost photorealistic interpretation of our nearest celestial body. These contrasting styles work well here to create a unique tattoo.
4. Spaceman Tattoo Ideas
5. Abstract Moon Tattoo Ideas
6. Lunar Cycle Tattoo Ideas
This moon design uses black and gray ink to capture the different phases of the moon across this man’s stomach. The black ink is well-saturated, creating the dark tones on the edges of the moons, increasing contrast and allowing the negative space highlights to stand out.
The near-perfect circle that is used to create the full moon at the center of the piece is impressive and is a testament to the skill of the artist. The composition in this piece is also excellent, and dramatically improves the tattoo’s appeal: if the placement and angles of the moon phases weren’t correct the entire design would suffer. This is a great tattoo that, no doubt, holds special symbolic meaning to the wearer and their relationship with the lunar cycle.
7. New Wave Moon Tattoos
Here is a design that uses vivid colors, large size and bold placement to create a stunning, side tattoo. I love how the artist makes expert use of a broad color scheme, utilizing blues and purples, all the way through to reds and pale yellows, setting this piece apart from other less vibrant tattoos.
The lack of bold and defining lines is made up for here with expert color gradation and a well-planned design: in the hands of a less skilled artist this tattoo could easily have turned into an amorphous blob of contrasting colors. Instead it is an exciting celestial scene, complete with planets, stars, aurora borealis inspired swirls and whorls, perfectly capturing the intense colors of the cosmos.
8. Black and Gray Illustrative Moon Tattoo Imagery
This is an excellent black and gray piece that takes an image from the classic silent film “Voyage to the Moon” and creates an interesting tattoo. The artist uses well-saturated black to create the starry backdrop for this moon man’s grimace.
The use of gray wash shading to capture the pockmarked surface of the moon is well applied and stays true to the images in the film. This piece is impressive for the way the artist perfectly captures this scene that has become famous for being one of the first science fiction films.
Here is another excellent piece that eschews color for a more subdued and classy design created with excellent use of black and gray ink. Once again we have a design that utilizes expert hatching to create the effect of the ink on paper designs produced through the lithograph process.
The fine line work used to give depth and create shadows in the hand is excellent and contrasts nicely with the shading used in the moon, where the artist uses a more traditional technique along with negative space to capture the pockmarked surface of the moon. This is a great example of what is possible with a talented artist and a clever design concept.
9. Moon and Wolf Tattoo Combinations
10. Innovative Moon Tattoo Designs
This is a beautiful tattoo that uses expert gradation of tones and precise line work to create a tattoo that looks to be inspired by lithograph art from a bygone era. There are several things working together to make this unique design stand out from other tattoos that attempt to recreate this artistic technique.
First off, the level of saturation in the black ink at the top of the piece is excellent and creates the contrast that lets the artist use varying levels of shading and negative space so effectively. The shading throughout-from the stipple work on the side of the church to whip shading in the steeple and on in the face of the sun-is expert and is a testament to the skill of the artist.
This is a clean black and gray design that uses elements of American traditional tattoos to create a unique piece. The bold lines and simple design are common traits of this style and are used here to create an interesting tattoo that has little chance of fading over time.
The balanced composition allows the artist to incorporate a number of different elements-the big dipper, the Evening Star, and antlers-and give all the features their own space to breathe without feeling bunched or cluttered.
The artist also makes great use of subtle shading to add a layer of depth that increases contrast and helps the moon and snowy peaks stand out. The clean, simple Roman numerals at the top of the piece most likely signify an important date and helps makes this a more personal and meaningful tattoo.
11. Ships in the Night
Moon Tattoo FAQs
What is the symbolic meaning of moon tattoos?
A moon tattoo is a powerful symbol that can be interpreted in many contrasting ways.
A half-moon is often used to represent balance, while a crescent moon can reference moving past difficult times to a moment of rebirth.
Another common concept for moon inspired tattoos is an image showing all the different stages in the lunar cycle, symbolizing the endless process of life, death, and rebirth.
The other classical moon tattoo idea ponders the duality of light and dark, sun and moon, and sometimes even good and evil . The two orbs either a t as complete opposites in a concept, but in designs such as a moon matching tattoo, they often match together like a lock and key, or hand and glove.
Where can you put a moon tattoo?
The placement of a moon tattoo is up to their wearer , their tastes in tattoo art and priorities for the design .
There are choices in placement for a moon design that have become more popular in recent times. In contemporary tattooing every tattoo artist needs a good idea of the moon cycle.
Individuals are choosing to put a moon tattoo design between their shoulder blades, letting the top of the tattoo peek out above the collar to give the tattoo art a balanced feel by sitting in the center of the back.
Another popular choice for a lunar tattoo can show the different stages of the moon as they run down the forearm or along the leg . The eight moon phases move as follows:
- New moon
- Waxing crescent
- First quarter
- Waxing moon (waxing gibbous)
- Full moon
- Waning moon (waning gibbous)
- Third quarter
- Waning crescent
This kind of arm tattoo design lets the composition of the design flow and makes for a dynamic piece.
It doesnt matter if it’s a full moon tattoo, waxing moon, or even a blue moon, these lovely tattoos are full of symbolic meaning and are a great way to express powerful feelings of interconnectedness and unity with the night sky and natural world.
What does a crescent moon tattoo symbolize?
A Crescent moon tattoo idea is often linked to change, transition, and the development of of something new. This view is further borne out by the half moon tattoo being a symbol related to birth cycles, fertility, rebirth and more general patterns of womanhood .
Did these moon symbol tattoo designs send you straight to your tattoo shop’s site to make a tattoo appointment? If you’re looking for more inspiration for your first tattoo, or next tattoo, then click on the links below for more galleries: