108 Genius Tattoos That Reveal All Their Glory Only After Their Canvases Move

When it comes to tattoos, we now have the possibility to get almost anything we can imagine inked onto our bodies. Some people prefer a classic, simple, black outline while others are more interested in hyper-realistic images. But with the right combination of a creative client and a skilled artist, some tattoos can even come to life when their canvases move. In celebration of these pieces, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most intriguing, funny and impressive moving tattoos for you to check out below. Don’t forget to upvote your favorites, and keep note of any that might be inspiration for your next piece of inked artwork. Then after you’ve finished viewing this list, be sure to also check out out Bored Panda’s last publication on the same topic right here.

#1 Almost Fully Healed

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While tattoos are sacred pieces of art in some cultures, they are still considered taboo in others. Particularly in Western society, attitudes towards tattoos have shifted over time. While once viewed by some as only for sailors and criminals, getting tattoos done was even outlawed in various places in the US in the 1950s. This was mostly due to fear of disease, but tattooing remained illegal until long after in some states. South Carolina finally changed their stance on body ink in 2004, and Oklahoma was the last state to allow tattooing beginning in 2006. But as far as the rest of the world, today you still won’t have any luck getting a tattoo done in Iran, Turkey or the United Arab Emirates.

Dr. David Lane, an assistant professor at Illinois State University who has done extensive research on tattooing, told Byrdie that tattoos started to be viewed differently over the past 60 years as celebrities, athletes and people in the fashion industry started sporting them publicly. Tattoo artists with art degrees, including Cliff Raven and Ed Hardy, also gained popularity and “were largely responsible for revamping some of the public imagery of tattooing in the ’60s and ’70s”. Lane also notes that “initial tattoo conventions were actually about trying to create a kind of professional image”, and tattoo artists were at the forefront of pushing for regulations to ensure safe practices, licensing and oversight. 

#2 Elephant

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After being presented with an influx of tattooed celebrities in the 1970s, including Cher, Peter Fonda and Janis Joplin, public opinion in the US really began to shift. “In a sense I think we were seeing more of it or more different kinds of bodies,” says Dr. David Lane. “NFL players started getting tattooed on their arms, basketball players, baseball players.” While it’s still common for employers to have policies regarding visible tattoos, they are being viewed more and more as examples of self-expression, rather than hindrances to our appearances. Currently, 59% of women and 41% of men have at least one tattoo, and annually, the United States spends approximately $1.6 billion on tattoos. And if you’re looking to get a tattoo or find a job as a tattoo artist, Miami might be the destination for you. It has the most tattoo parlors of any other city in the nation, with 24 shops for every 100,000 people.   

#3 Moving Dinosaur Tattoo

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#4 Freehand Today

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When getting a tattoo, it can be hard to decide exactly what style you like, and articulating your vision to an artist can be even trickier. To help understand the 12 styles of tattoos, Byrdie breaks them down in their “Comprehensive Guide to Every Type of Tattoo”. The first style mentioned is minimalist tattoos. It’s noted that these don’t actually have to be small, but they follow the “less is more” idea, typically using delicate, clean lines and one or very few colors. These are best for designs that can be visualized and portrayed with little complexity.

Next up is negative space tattoos. These are designs that “rather than using an outline to create the tattoo’s image… use the skin as the outline and the pigment as the normally ‘blank’ parts of a design”. The third type of tattoo is hand-poked or stick-and-poke designs. While these don’t require an electric machine, they can still be beautifully detailed and complex pieces. The next popular tattoo style features words and phrases, also known as “script” tattoos. There are no real rules when it comes to these designs, just be sure you spell check them before the needle touches your skin.     

#5 The Oyster Is Possessive Of The Pearl. But It Is The Artisan Who Makes Her Feel Like A Jewel

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#6 Freehand Done At Home

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Another common tattoo style is floral art. These can have a variety of meanings, with each being symbolic of a different trait, birth month, etc. Of course, they can always just be purely aesthetic as well. The next type of tattoos are line art pieces. These are essentially any picture portrayed through one continuous line, and they’ve become increasingly popular in recent years. Then we have watercolor tattoos. These are done with color in a way that “mimics the look and fluidity of a watercolor painting. They require more colors of ink than the average tattoo, to create that trademark gradient effect, but they can be done with almost any color or image. Abstract tattoos are another popular style that “don’t necessarily represent the reality around us but instead focus on the shapes, colors, and textures that make up that reality”. Since these tend to be more about the aesthetic than the meaning of the tattoo, it’s crucial to find an artist who really understands your vision before getting one done.   

#7 Metamorphosis

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#8 Animated Giraffe, Eating Some Flowers. This Was A Fun One

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#9 Sad Elbow Wrinkle

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The next style of tattoo is a very interesting one: UV or glow-in-the-dark tattoos. These use “vivid, fluorescent pigments that are difficult to view in daylight” but come to life when under ultraviolet lights. These were a popular trend in the 90s while neon was all the rage, but you can still get them done today if you find an artist who specializes in them. Geometric tattoos are another common style, which are often inspired by traditional tribal tattoos of various cultures including Maori, Polynesian and Thai.

Next up we have blackwork tattoos, which feature heavy amounts of black ink. These can include heavy gray shading or only crisp, black lines, but they certainly require precision to achieve the desired effect. Lastly, American traditional tattoos, also known as Americana or Western style, are another popular type of art. These first appeared on sailors in the 1700s, but they’ve made a comeback often featuring roses, pin-ups, hearts and animal heads. With their bold black outlines and heavy but minimal black shading, these are classic tattoos that stand the test of time.    

#10 Beautiful Moving Tattoo

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#11 Trapeze Artists

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#12 Very Cute Beetle

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While many of us know what it’s like to get a tattoo, very few of us know what it’s like to be a tattoo artist. While the job clearly requires a high level of skill, there are many perks for artists looking for a profession where they can be creative and socialize with clients every day. The average tattoo artist in the United States makes a decent salary, earning an average of $85,000 per year. There’s also plenty of job security as tattoos are always in demand, and artists can work anywhere in the country (sometimes even anywhere in the world) they like. They often get to set their own hours, booking appointments around their own schedules, meaning they can also have weekends off. The environment of working in a tattoo shop is much more enjoyable for many artists than, say, working in a traditional office. There is no formal education required to become a tattoo artist either. As long as an artist has skills and lands an apprenticeship at a shop, their career can begin whenever they’re ready. 

#13 Another Cool Knee Tattoo. Ribbit Ribbit When It Moves

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#14 Siamese Fish

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#15 Super Fun Scarab That Opens Up With The Arm. Some Mushies On The Shell

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Probably the top reason many tattoo artists cite for loving their jobs is the opportunity to be creative in their careers. While many professions allow for very little variety throughout the workday, tattooers get to see different clients and create new pieces of art every single day. Most artists also find their jobs very rewarding, as they get to see customers’ excitement after receiving a new piece and sometimes form long relationships with clients who return again and again for more artwork. Artists can also use their online presences to advance their careers. Social media is a great way for tattoo artists to share their work, expand their audiences and gain new clients.       

#16 Humpback Whale Diving With The Arm

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#17 Donnie Darko

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#18 Funny Tattoo

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Last year, Insider published a piece featuring tattoo artist and TikToker Alissa Jung, where she told the story of how she quit her corporate job at age 29 to pursue a full-time career in tattooing. Alissa notes that, although she considers herself an introvert, she is thriving in her new profession. “Now, I mostly work with other introverts who feel the same way. As a tattoo artist, I work one-on-one with my clients and do all of the listening. I never thought I’d enjoy meeting new people, but every experience is so unique and rewarding.”

While she loves her new career, Alissa wants people to know that it didn’t happen overnight. After she accepted an apprenticeship, she didn’t actually pick up a tattoo machine for months. She explained that first her responsibilities were focused on “learning how the shop runs, cleaning, and setting up or breaking down stations”. “You also work on daily assignments from your mentor,” Alissa notes. “Which mostly consist of tracing shapes and drawing. I lucked out at my apprenticeship and started learning to ink on practice skin after about four to five months.”

#19 Butterfly Eyes

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#20 Two Girls On A Ladder. They Look At Each Other When I Bend My Knee

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#21 It Took 399 Years

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Then came the most difficult part: finding her tattoo niche. Alissa said her favorite pieces at the moment are micro-realism tattoos, but she expects her style to change over time. She also emphasized how much work there is outside of the actual tattooing. “I’m constantly drawing for my upcoming clients, doing consultations, replying to emails, and going through my request sheet. Plus I have to keep up with social media and constantly create new content to market myself.”

#22 Spider

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#23 See How This Baby Folds Up

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#24 Freehand. Done At Les Petites Mains

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Before heading to get your next tattoo, it’s important to be a well informed client. Thankfully, Insider has a list of “things tattoo artists want people to know” to prevent any future faux pas. One important thing to note is that tipping your artist is standard and polite, unless you are really dissatisfied with the results. Another thing to be aware of is that requesting an “exact copy of a tattoo you found online can be considered offensive, unethical and legally questionable”. While it’s natural to find inspiration online, it’s best to work with your artist to create something unique and original. Plus, your piece will be even more special that way. Lastly, tattoos can be expensive, but trust your artist when they tell you the price. They’re the expert, and prices can greatly vary based on the level of skill and the amount of time and ink the tattoo requires. If your budget is really tight, you might want to hold off on getting inked until you can splurge a little more.

#25 This Is Amazing

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#26 This Cute Bat

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#27 Melted Brain

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Tattoos can be an amazing way of expressing ourselves and acquiring pieces of art that will last a lifetime. We hope you’ll enjoy the rest of this list of tattoos with lives of their own, and don’t forget to upvote all of your favorites. Then we’d love to hear in the comments below if you have any interesting tattoos or plans to get some done any time soon!

#28 Got To Finish This Super Fun Beetle Today

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#29 Moving Frog Tattoo

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#30 Lapin

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#31 Freehand. One Session, One Shot

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#32 Heart

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#33 Peter Rabbit Running Home

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#34 A Small Match

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#35 Bendy Ladder

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#36 Beauty Creatures, Lines And Textures

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#37 We’re Twerkin’ Our Way Into 2022

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#38 This Was Fun

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#39 Spongebob Squarepants Diving Jellyfish⁡

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#40 I Absolutely Loved Doing This Wolf, The Placement Is So Cool The Wolf Almost Curls Up When She Moves Her Arm

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#41 Thank You For Choosing This Flash To Adorn Your Skin! The Result Is Super Playful And Funny

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#42 Got To Do This Moth. We’ve Been Wanting To Do This For Ages

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#43 My Little Shrimp Finally Found His Home

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#44 I’m Frog, You’re A Frog, Kiss Me

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#45 Take Your Time To Enjoy This

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#46 Freehand Done At Home

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#47 Freehand Done At Home

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#48 Butterfish

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#49 Freehand Fish

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#50 Thanks Guy, Cool Session

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#51 A Golden Stag Beetle

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#52 Moth Butterfly & Skull

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#53 Had Such A Blast Making This

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lead to happier, longer lasting marriages, according to a study in Sage Journals. This slow personality evolution can also explain how our beliefs can shift over time as well.

#54 On / Off Tattoo

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#55 Blinking Eye Tattoo

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#56 Majestic

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#57 Freehand. Done At Pau Tattoo Convention

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#58 Freehand. Two Sessions

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#59 We Did It Again

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#60 Juicy Pike

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#61 My Raven Flash

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#62 This Cool Moth

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#63 Moving Bee

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#64 Steel-Jaw Trap

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#65 One Of Our Faves From 2018

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#66 Abyssal Anglerfish In Realism

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#67 Beetle In The Knee Ditch

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#68 First Stick And Poke On Another Human

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#69 Shark Tattoo

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#70 Full Sleeve Freehand

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#71 Had The Most Fun Today Tatting This

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#72 Freehand Done At Home

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#73 Octopus Eye

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#74 Fox Tattoo

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#75 Here’s A Poem – Baby Carrot. Small. Ugly. Lives In The Shadow Of The Carrot. Baby Carrot

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#76 Cool Skull On The Knee

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#77 Thumb Jammers

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#78 Beautiful Moving Seahorse

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#79 Inner Elbow Tattoo

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#80 I Designed And Tattooed This Awesome Maquech Beetle

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#81 Shark Tattoo

Image credits: joel_en_boucle

#82 Freehand

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#83 Freehand

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#84 Animated Beetle For My Dad

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#85 Remember Drawing Faces On Your Hand As A Kid? Now It’s Permanent. Modeled After Cartman’s JLo From South Park, Had A Blast Doing This One

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#86 One Of My Flash Beetles

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#87 Fun Idea

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#88 Run! Cheetah Run

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#89 Moth Piece I Got The Chance To Do

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#90 Cute Moth

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#91 Of All The Beetle Tattoos I’ve Ever Seen This Is The Coolest One

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#92 Flying Scarabaeus

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#93 We Had Fun! So The Idea Was We Take Adam Down

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#94 Death Moth

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#95 Bear Trap

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#96 Chomper

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#97 Sticks And Stones

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#98 Nook Beetle

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#99 Moth

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#100 I Love Tattooing With This Orange Ink! I Would Love To Do More Colorful Tats In Fun Positions Like This

Image credits: m.a.i.a.tattoo

#101 Deer Antler Completely Tattooed In Hand-Poke

Image credits: andgy_sloan

#102 Here’s A Random Tattoo From Last Year That I Forgot To Post But Still Find Super Cool

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#103 These Moving Tattoos Are Always So Fun

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#104 This Giant Moth Landed On My Client While I Was Tattooing

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#105 Moth Man

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#106 Tree Ring

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#107 Coverup

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#108 Leave

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