The butterfly is a design found often in Western-style tattooing. It has somewhat the reputation as a "ladies tattoo" along with the rose as the type of design that is appropriate should a woman choose to get skin art. Whether draw in profile or shown with both wings spread, the butterfly can be adapted to fit many body shapes. The body elements allow for rendering as an outline or shaded fully with bold coloring.
Butterflies are a wide range of flying insects, all members of the order Lepidoptera. Their main identifying traits are their slim bodies, clubbed antennae and wings which are often brightly colored and broad. Artistically, this offers a lot for the tattoo artist to work with if you choose to have some sort of fantasy butterfly created as a one-of-a-kind for your tattoo. Or you can pick a specific species and have that reproduced exactly. You can also take qualities from a few species and have your artist blend them together to create your own butterfly. Although you often hear people complain they need more pictures when trying to find a tattoo design they like, really what they need is to be more firm about their options and choices as they are virtually endless.
The symbology of the butterfly is often what attracts people to wear this insect as a tattoo. As butterflies begin life as caterpillars and then metamorphose, they carry the connotation of transformation and starting anew. The phrase coined in the 1980s "the butterfly effect" refers to the concept that a butterfly could beat its wings and they would magnify to be a large wind. Taken individually, a butterfly tattoo could be significant for people working as part of a larger effort, or for those who are trying to keep in mind that humble efforts can have a larger cumulative effect in the world.
Your butterfly tattoo could be a single insect flying on a shoulder blade, or you could have a larger swarm as a back piece or flying up or down an arm or leg. Butterflies are good when adding to previous work that is floral or nature-oriented. You can add tribal elements around them, or just a few wisps to suggest flying or movement. With just a little bit of time and design effort, it's not hard to find or create the butterfly that is just right for you.
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