Depending on its color, a carnation can symbolize anything from gratitude (pink) to love and affection (red). It’s no wonder the floral makes for such a popular tattoo design for ink lovers. “Carnation tattoos are usually very sentimental or of great meaning to the client,” says tattoo artist Crys of Fleur Noire Tattoo in Brooklyn, New York. “Because the symbolism of the flower itself can change, it gives clients a lot of options to choose from.”
Or maybe colorful ink isn’t your thing at all. Aesthetic tattoos — or simple linework pieces — are all the rage right now, so you could opt for a carnation that’s more of a subtle outline design. Either way, Crys says this particular flower offers plenty of versatility. “Stylistically, they can be very bold or delicate, so it is befitting to all genders and tastes,” she tells Bustle.
Crys says she typically likes to freehand floral tattoos. “Freehanding allows me a better opportunity to make sure the piece flows exactly the way it should,” she notes. As for where the tattoo should land, Crys says placement is based on your personal preference. “My best advice is to look at whether the design is of a vertical or horizontal angle, and work with the body placements that align [that] best.”
Whether planning your first tattoo or considering a new addition, Crys says to remember that your ink should be a collaboration between you and your artist — ask them for help if you need assistance plotting your carnation tattoo design. Before booking your next appointment, scroll the list below for a bit of ink inspo.