Joker tattoos have developed a surge of new found popularity, due mainly to more recent film releases. However, the depiction of the joker in art is not a new thing. This character has been depicted in Tarot cards, playing cards, paintings and body art for ages, and is a symbol of eccentricity, intrigue and — to a certain extent — innocence.
Recently, one of the most popular designs for joker tattoos is a depiction of the character from the Batman series. Although some will use the most recent incarnation, many like to use the earlier actors. These designs are generally done in a portrait style and show the broad, red and sinister grin of Jack Nicholson, or the flamboyantly raised brow and green hair of Cesar Romero. It is also quite common to see joker tattoos featuring the cartoon and comic book version of this character. This highly stylized Joker usually shows a broad shouldered figure in a purple suit; green hair slicked back from a sharp featured face, with brooding eyes and large, grimacing teeth.
Many people prefer more archaic joker tattoos. The modern joker card was based on the Tarot symbol of ‘The Fool.’ This jaunty figure is said to be an emblem for new beginnings, bravery and optimism. It is not unusual to see one of the most recognizable depictions of this card; a yellow background with a bright white sun, a young man in a loose cloth tunic, carrying a satchel, whilst standing atop an ocean cliff; his trusty dog at his side. However, many people favor the simplicity of the playing card joker. Although there are many variations, this card usually shows a court jester with a pointed hat, big grin, baton and a garland sporting each of the four suits. Most of these are made to look as though they were the actual playing card placed across the skin; however, many simply show the joker frolicking across a body part.
Joker tattoos tend to feature a whimsical and winsome creature, and this, in general, is exactly what the design is meant to symbolize.