With its black, shiny coat and long, lean figure, panther tattoos are an emblem for a mysterious and sensual personality. These dark creatures are also said to be a symbol of freedom, control and a stealthy, clever strength.
By far, crawling black panther tattoos are the most popular. This style is rather simple, but so large in proportion that it is usually contoured around wide areas of the body, and are frequently used to cover up older pieces of body art. The design generally features the muscular black cat prowling, claws extended, and usually with an open, growling mouth. It is not uncommon to see small bursts of colors as well; generally blues, greens, yellow gold and reds for the eyes and mouth. One idea for this design would be to show the beast literally climbing up a leg or arm; in this depiction, it could leave red claw marks behind to show the progress of its trek.
A few other designs for panther tattoos are scenes and busts. Many people like their panther tattoos to feature just the head and shoulders of the animal; these regularly show it with fangs exposed, sometimes with blood dripping from the tip. They occasionally also show the teeth appearing to rip through the skin, thus representing the ‘beast within.’ The scene styles usually show a natural motif; a full bodied panther wandering around a large, grassy wetland; lounging next to a pool of water, perhaps lazily dipping a paw into its reflection; or even climbing a tall tree.
Tribal and Chinese panther tattoos are also gaining popularity. The tribal panther is generally done in a sharp, bold outline; while the Chinese panther has full features, a vicious expression that is akin to wood block-style warriors, and long claws. These, unlike the tribal style, usually have other symbols surrounding it to create a broader theme. For instance, a crouching panther appearing to climb a frothy waterfall; the bust of a panther surrounded in bright blossoms, or interlocked with a dragon or snake. This style can also be simple, and show the panther unto itself, with a bright background of velvety reds or oranges.
Although seen as ferocious, panthers can also be gentle, and are generally calm unless their loved ones are threatened. This — with all other symbols, and artistic merit aside — may be reason enough for a person to gravitate towards panther tattoos.