In the 6 short years that Instagram’s been around, users have uploaded over 100k photos of butterfly tattoos. That put’s the butterfly above the anchor, cross, and dreamcatcher, yet still a ways back from the all too popular rose tattoo—which currently boasts an unbelievable 600k photos.
Why are butterfly tattoos so popular? Well, for starters they’re incredibly beautiful creatures. Their ornate wings and spectacular display’s of color make them one of the most fascinating insects in the animal kingdom. And with over 160,000 different species, the creative possibilities are seemingly endless.
While many people believe the butterfly to be a bit of a cliche as far a women’s tattoos go, we’re here to show you that they’re anything but. Yes, they’re common, and simple designs can be a little mundane, but when done right, butterfly tattoos are still some of the most beautiful designs around. Here are a few of our favorites.
This white ink infusion.
As the only white ink example on the list, we decided to post this design first. To the best of our knowledge, these designs are relatively rare, which is a shame due to their undeniable aesthetic appeal. (Photo: Graffittoo)
These varying patterns.
This 3D butterfly on shoulder.
One of many on this list by the talented Alex Bruz. Alex specializes in hyperrealism animal designs, and as you can tell, he’s one of the best in the business.
This purple pearlescent piece.
A wonderful combination of color, this design almost looks too good to be true with it’s silky gradients and shimmering transitions. (Photo: David Fomin)
This beautiful pink butterfly.
An excellently executed display of shadow. The light to dark pink transition on the wings does a wonderful job of illustrating depth while at the same time giving the whole design a wonderfully feminine feel. (Photo: Alex Bruz)
This watercolor hip tattoo.
High on the hip, splotches of watercolor ink fill these wild squiggly lines. (Photo: Simona Blanar)
This back shoulder butterfly.
This blackwork butterfly.
This terrific turquoise tat.
These three beautiful butterflies.