Dove tattoos can symbolize a number of things to a number of people; a dove may carry the traditional meaning of peace, the religious meaning of the Holy Spirit, or may carry messages of hope, innocence and purity.
Many people like to use the literal translation of this peaceful bird, while others prefer to use a more bold version. Realistic dove tattoos generally feature a black and white, or skin toned bird in flight, occasionally carrying an olive branch, or flower in its beak. They may be shown on their own, sketched inside an outdoor scene, or flying free from a pair of outstretched hands. The bolder equivalent will often have vivid colors, such as blue or even multicolored wings, and frequently feature brightly hued symbols like roses, flames or stars.
Dove tattoos can be placed in a unique setting. One idea would be a stained glass dove. You can create something that appears similar to a stained glass window, with a varying array of colors; in the center you could place Picasso’s “Dove of Peace.” You could also go for a more arresting version of this design, and have it appear to be bursting through a circular pane of glass, the glass being in shards of sunny colors. Many people also like to create dove tattoos that are akin to the 1950′s diving swallow. The swallow was said to be tattooed upon a sailor’s chest, so that if he should drown at sea, his soul would be carried to the heavens. If a dove replaces a swallow in this particular tattoo design, it could very well be a symbol of protection and a peaceful journey to the afterlife. This design may also feature recognizable 50′s symbols; it may be surrounded by nautical stars or carry a bright red bunch of cherries in its beak.
Dove tattoos may also carry eloquent messages of love. Given that this particular bird mates for life, it is not uncommon to see a design featuring two doves laying close together in a newly built nest. You can also feature a dove on each shoulder carrying a banner with dates and names. The names may be those of loved ones, and dates can range from marriage date, to the date of newly born children.
For most people, when seeing a dove it is hard to think of it as simply being another bird. The many signs this creature bears make it one of the most significant symbols in tattoo art.