Geometric shapes and the negative space that forms between them are essentially the visual building blocks of our world. So, it's no surprise that so many people have chosen to impart upon themselves the elegance of those building blocks in the form of elaborate geometric tattoos. Just pause for a moment, and look at the world around you. Everything you see can be broken down into geometric form — from pillows to flora and fauna, all aspects of life can be simplified into graceful or chaotic spatial design. (And yes, pillows are an essential aspect of life, don't kid yourself.)
More people than you think might expect to spend their daily lives deconstructing the visual world according to spatial relationships and simplified shapes. Architects, engineers, and graphic designers; game designers, photographers, and event coordinators; archaeologists, mathematicians, and scientists — all of these professions and more utilize basic geometry (and often, the golden ratio, despite its aesthetic purity coming under speculation) daily to categorize, design, and contribute to the world around them. Truth is, you visualize the world this way, whether or not you're conscious of it. So, if you're drawn to the way tattoo artists pay homage to nature and mathematics, there's good reason for it. And don't worry, you're not alone.
Of course, geometric tattoos branch into the realms of sacred geometry, tribal history, and deep personal significance, so it's always worth doing some research before committing to a lifetime of ink, and the commentaries that accompany it. Personally, I'm of the opinion that whenever possible, it's best to have a custom piece designed for you, or to design your own work, if you're comfortable doing so (with the aid of your tattoo artist, if they're willing to help, because they're aware of what will and won't work on certain areas of the body, as well as what they're capable of creating at a professional level). Coming in with expectations to copy or rip off another artist's design will more than likely upset your tattoo artist, which you definitely want to avoid. Because like most professionals, your tattoo artist has integrity, and likely holds herself/himself to a very high standard — which usually includes respect for their work, and the work of other industry professionals.
That being said, visually shopping around beforehand, and being able to present your tattoo artist with some inspiration and a basic idea of the style and shapes you're interested in is a great way to prepare for your consultation. And, with all of the beautiful artwork on the Internet and social media these days, there are plenty of resources to be found. However, if you don't have hours to comb the web for tattoos, or want a peek at what inspires us, here are a variety of incredible geometric tattoos to inspire your next piece of ink. (Just remember to practice good tattoo aftercare.)
1. Careful Contours
One of the best parts of working with a skilled tattoo artist is that they will place your tattoo in a location that will allow its shape to move with the contour of your body. This mandala, sacred geometry piece is a wonderful example of that skill and attention to placement.
2. Extreme Stippling
See all of those tiny dots? The formation of an image through the placement and gradation of dots like these is a technique called stippling, and is not terribly unlike the way your computer screen utilizes pixels to display imagery. It's a lengthy process for an artist, but also a fairly meditative one, and yields stunning results.
3. Stippled And Simplistic
On the opposite side of the spectrum, a little stippling can be enough to make a simple, delicately lined piece stand out.
4. Squiggly Mandalas
This mandala piece is a bit more free form, and allows imperfections to highlight the human element of the design. Plus, the intricacy is beautifully shaded with subtle hints of color, giving the ink a soft radiance.
5. Petite Perfection
If you're looking for an understated tattoo that boasts delicate line work and intriguing design, you might want to consider a piece inspired by this one. The contrast between the stark angles of the triangles and the gentle slope of the parabola are subtly heightened by the gradient work in this ink, and personally, I'm a huge fan of the effect.
6. A Study In Tessellation
Reminiscent of an Escher-esque landscape, this sleeve is an excellent example of tessellated ink. It's trippy, it's stark, and it's hardcore geometric.
7. Color Blocking Nature
Shells are probably one of the most obvious, semi-static examples of fractals in nature (second to ever changing snowflakes and various forms of flora). They're a beautiful reminder that the universe is infinitely scale-able, and that we're just a small part of a far greater equation.
8. Sacred Space
Easily one of my favorite pieces, from one of my favorite local tattoo artists (that's right, northwest Illinois, she's in the neighborhood), this breathtaking, galactic, sacred geometry tattoo transcends time and space.
9. Flower Power
Geometric shapes blended with the intricate detail of flora are a truly beautiful thing.
10. Mindful Mandalas
Another piece of sacred geometry, this tattoo features a lotus motif, and exquisitely precise detail. Honestly, even beyond getting a tattoo, it inspires me to sit down and create something soul soothing.
11. Ecosystem Of The Heart
If you're considering a geometric tattoo with your sweetie, you may want to extrapolate the concept behind this gorgeous piece. The tattoos are tied together by the unifying shapes of the honeycomb (but could be any environmental aspect), and pay homage to the symbiotic relationship of the bee and the flower. Clearly, this tattoo is symbolic on a couple of levels, which is part of what makes it so delightful.
12. Pretty Polytopes
Another geometric object worth your consideration is the polytope. They can get pretty complex, and make for wildly eye catching statement pieces — and an opportunity to spout some math love.
13. Charts And Graphs
Simple, understated, and really cool, this geometric tattoo is reminiscent of a compass without ever really reaching complete definition. If abstract is your forte, this look may be key to your tattooed happiness.
14. Animal Instincts
Beautifully deconstructed, this spin on a classic bird tattoo exhibits just how well animals translate into geometric tattoos.
15. Keep It Clean
Sometimes, things that are meaningless hold the most significance. If that's the case for you, seeking a simple design with clean, powerful lines may be the way to go. Here's a sample of how well that can work, especially in stark black ink.