Bird tattoos are fairly common. But among these, hummingbird tattoos are perhaps the most popular design. It normally depicts the small bird in flight.
But why is this getting so much attention these days? Why are more people getting this kind of tattoo? This post will tackle the meaning behind the tattoo and some designs that can inspire yours. Additionally, we’ll be answering a few frequently asked questions that new enthusiasts often ask.
Meaning of Hummingbird Tattoos
- Meaning of Hummingbird Tattoos
- South American
- Other Meanings of Hummingbird Tattoos
- Common Hummingbird Tattoo Styles
- Tribal Hummingbird Tattoos
- Realistic Tattoos
- Watercolor Tattoos
- Minimalist Tattoos
- Common Hummingbird Tattoo Depiction
- Common Tattoo Placement
- Difficulty in Aftercare
- Pain Level
- How to Prepare When Getting Inked
- Tattoo Aftercare
Tattoos can be mere decorations on your body. But for many enthusiasts, tattoos have meanings. These could symbolize a part of the wearer’s personality. Or it could share their entire story in one image. That said, hummingbird tattoos also have their own meaning.
However, its meaning can depend entirely on the wearer. A tattoo can acquire its given meaning or the wearer may give it its own meaning. For example, they may simply find hummingbirds as one of the most adorable creatures on Earth so they wanted to have it tattooed.
But if you’re interested in getting a hummingbird tattoo, you might want to know its given meaning. Hummingbirds are popular in many different cultures. And in each one, a hummingbird is a symbol of something.
Below are the most common meanings behind a hummingbird tattoo based on different cultures:
Many South American cultures associate the hummingbird as a symbol of life and even resurrection. For example, the Aztecs believed that if they die, they will be reincarnated into these tiny birds.
Additionally, this notion may have also come from the fact that hummingbirds enter a torpor when night comes. This is a sort of light hibernation which makes them appear like they are dead. But they come back to their normal selves once the sun comes back up.
The Aztecs are deeply associated with this bird since they decorated their bodies with the bird’s feathers. Royalties and religious leaders also wore dead hummingbird in small bags around their necks.
Some South American cultures also believe that the hummingbirds are messengers sent from the heavens to bring news to the living. According to Hopi legend, the hummingbird was tasked to send a message from Earth asking the gods in heaven for rain, to which the gods obliged.
Meanwhile, Cherokee people believe that the hummingbird brought tobacco to humankind.
Birds have long been associated with freedom. It’s no surprise that many who get a hummingbird tattoo decides to make it a symbol of being free. Normally, a hummingbird is depicted in flight. Your design can also consist of more than one hummingbird.
Other Meanings of Hummingbird Tattoos
Other meanings associated with hummingbird tattoos include:
- Sweetness (pertaining to their love for sweet nectar from blooming flowers)
- Good luck
- Overcoming hard times
- Hard work
Common Hummingbird Tattoo Styles
You can get a hummingbird tattoo in different styles. There are tribal designs, realistic, watercolor, and minimalist styles. Each one is different from another and it really depends on your personality and style which one you prefer.
There are also many other unique styles that you can choose from. Ultimately, the key to getting your dream tattoo is to find a great artist that specializes in that style.
Tribal Hummingbird Tattoos
These aren’t as popular as the others, but it’s definitely one style you should consider if you want something unique and different.
Tribal tattoos are best known for the bold black strokes. The details are also unlike the real deal. Instead, tribal tattoos use swirls and patterns to add detail to a design. A hummingbird tattoo would be no different. While the lines are thinner than usual, it still has that bold tribal look.
Of course, each design is unique especially if you get the help of a good tattoo artist.
Realistic tattoos are rather hit and miss. And it’s not just hummingbird tattoo designs but any other realistic tattoos you might want to get. The key here is to find a great artist who can do your tattoo. Remember that there are tattoo artists that specialize in certain tattoo styles. If you really want to get a realistic hummingbird tattoo, it’s best that you find someone who specializes in realistic tattoos.
You should check their portfolio and see how well they do tattoos in this style. Plus, you should also bring a photo for reference.
Realistic hummingbird tattoos are tough to get but worth the pain, money, and effort of finding the best possible artist.
Watercolor tattoos are getting more popular these past few years, especially among women. This style uses different colors, often red, blues, purples, greens, and yellows that are lightened to achieve a watercolor effect. It can be used as a mere decoration where the artist will follow random watercolor splats.
It can also be how the subject is actually drawn. Normally, there is no black outline. The hummingbird will be drawn with yellow and green ink and there will be subtle splats, as if it was drawn with a brush.
These watercolor tattoos are often delicate and colorful which makes them the perfect choice for women.
Minimalist tattoos are also gaining momentum as years pass by. Basically, these tattoos don’t have much details and have more negative space. They can also have colors but it normally includes a sparse color palette than normal.
Minimalist hummingbird tattoos are often small and are often located on the wrist, ankles, neck, finger, or behind the ear. They can either be small drawings of these birds without much details or a geometric tattoo that uses geometric lines and shapes to form the actual shape of a hummingbird.
Common Hummingbird Tattoo Depiction
There are really two common hummingbird depictions when it comes to a tattoo: in flight and feeding.
Hummingbirds are best known for their speed. They’re also the only birds that can fly backwards. They are most commonly seen fleeting from one flower to another to feed and pollinate. That’s why it’s no surprise to see a bunch of tattoos depicting these little birds doing the same thing.
You can see common hummingbird tattoos where it’s stuck in flight or feeding from flowers. That’s also the reason why flowers are a common companion for a hummingbird in tattoo designs.
Common Tattoo Placement
You can have your tattoo anywhere you like. But if you ask us, it’s best that you consider a few things first. Here are factors you should consider before deciding where you’re going to have your tattoo:
- Exposure of your tattoo
- Difficulty in aftercare
- Pain level
Firstly, the level of exposure you want for your tattoo depends on how confident you are of showing it off. Remember, you’re going to have your tattoo for the rest of your life. If you’re not that confident in showing it off, it’s best to have it in a place that you can easily hide.
Unfortunately, there are also many people who still find tattoos as taboo. And these people can be found in companies that you might want to work for. Although it’s definitely not something you should be ashamed of, it’s best to have a tattoo somewhere that allows you to hide it with your uniform.
There are many companies that won’t care if you have tattoos. But there are also many companies that will require you to at least have them where they can’t be seen by the customers.
Difficulty in Aftercare
Aftercare is most definitely the most important part of getting a tattoo. It’s always important to care for it well if you want it to look its best. However, certain areas of the body will make it hard to do so.
For example, a specific area on your ribs or inner bicep will make it almost impossible to avoid friction. Rubbing on your body or your clothes can cause scarring and make it hard for your tattoo to heal well. Once you have a tattoo in these areas, you should always be mindful of your actions.
Sleeping may also be tough if you have tattoos in these areas.
But your efforts will definitely pay off. Once the healing is complete, your tattoo will be effortlessly beautiful. Plus, it doesn’t really take forever. Depending on your tattoo, the healing time may last between a couple of week or a few months.
It’s a little absurd to ask if getting a tattoo is painful. Even when it’s your first time getting a tattoo, you should have an idea that it will be painful. After all, you’re being pierced by a needle a few thousand times per minute.
But it is safe to ask how painful it’ll be.
There are certain parts of the bodies that will elicit more pain than the others. Generally, avoid the bony and sensitive areas if it’s your first time having a tattoo. These areas are more painful than muscular or fatty areas like the biceps, back, and thighs.
You can also find a pain chart online. This can guide you through areas that are more painful and areas where you can likely bear the pain.
However, it may also depend on your pain tolerance. Some people may find a specific area more painful than others even when it’s not supposed to be that painful. Still, the guide can help you make a decision.
How to Prepare When Getting Inked
Preparing mentally and physically ensures you have the best time getting a tattoo. Sure, it is painful and you might be sore for a few hours, but it’s an experience that you will never forget regardless of whether you’ve had a tattoo before or this is your first time.
That said, here are ways to prepare before getting a tattoo:
- Hydrate yourself. Drink more water a few days before your schedule until the day you’re supposed to get a tattoo. If you’re hydrated, your skin is a lot more resilient and makes it easier to endure longer tattoo sessions. Plus, your tattoo will heal faster if your body is in tip top shape.
- Moisturize your skin with a hydrating and moisturizing lotion. If possible, do this at least a week or a couple of weeks before you want to get a tattoo. By moisturizing your skin, the needle will easily glide and it’ll be easier for you and your artist. But never lotion on the day of your session as it can affect the machine.
- If you have body hair on the area where you’re getting a tattoo, shave it until it is smooth. However, be careful not to break your skin or else, you will have to reschedule.
- Exfoliate your skin so the procedure is more comfortable for you and also for your artist.
- Make sure you have eaten before your schedule. If it’s longer, you can bring a snack. But it’s best that you are full so you don’t have to take a break every now and then.
As said, the aftercare is the most important part of getting a tattoo. If you have found a good artist, they will provide you with tips on how to care for your tattoo, especially right after the session.
However, here are the most common aftercare tips you should never forget:
- Clean your tattoo three to four hours after the session to get rid of excess ink and blood. Ensure you only use mild and alcohol-free soap and clean lukewarm water. Apply the soap in a circular motion and be gentle with your movements. Do this at least two times a day.
- Dry your tattoo by dabbing a clean, dry cloth. Never rub it or you’ll be in pain and your tattoo won’t heal properly.
- You can also use mild and alcohol and fragrant-free lotion to hydrate your skin.
- Don’t scratch your tattoo no matter how itchy it gets (and it will be). Also, never peel the scab off and let it fall by itself.
- Avoid swimming in the beach or pool at least four months or so. There’s a possibility you’ll get infection which could hinder your tattoo’s healing and even cause dire health conditions.
With all of that said, enjoy your new tattoo. You can also check out this gallery for hummingbird tattoos that can inspire yours.