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Poppies have long held significance around the world, from the connections to its sedative powers to remember a fallen loved one. Depending on where you live and your cultural ties, this delicate blossom can hold a different meaning. However, that does not change that the image of a poppy carries something deeply personal.
Perhaps that is why poppies are such a popular tattoo choice. In Western societies poppies are the perfect accent to a tribute tattoo when remembering a lost loved one. Particularly if that person was a soldier, as people used poppies after World War II to remember the fallen. In the East, poppies represent love and success, another beautiful meaning. Additionally, the bright red of the flower stands out within a design, grabbing the eye and providing a pop of color.
Poppies also are the flower for the month of August, much like a birthstone. You could also use a poppy within your tattoo design for someone born in that month, or perhaps covering multiple meanings in one tattoo.
No matter what the significance, there’s no denying that a poppy tattoo design is going to be beautiful!
Best Poppy Tattoos Ideas & Inspiration
Embroidery tattoos are a rising trend, and go perfectly with this poppy. As flowers are often the subject of an embroidered piece, using this style for a tattoo makes perfect sense. An embroidered tattoo also doesn’t need dark or clear outlines, as other designs do, which allows the flower to stand out on its own. No outlines keeps the colors pure, and all attention on the poppy itself.
Poppies and Blackberries
While you might not think of blackberries with any particular thought to their meaning, in art and folklore almost all plants have some sort of significance. The blackberry, among several other meanings, is associate with sorrow. That makes it the perfect partner for the poppy, with the intention of remembering a lost loved one. Additionally, the deep red tones of the poppy work nicely with the dark blackberries, which also provide a textural contrast. The tattoo cascades beautifully down the shoulder, both elegant and mournful.
Although poppies are known for their color, there are plenty of poppy tattoo designs that choose to go in a simpler directly. Especially if you aren’t a fan of color tattoos, this minimalist sketched look is perfect. The light, frilly nature of the petals is more evident without the color, as is the delicate line of the stem. This poppy tattoo is perfect for the inner arm, all elegance and no flash.
Oriental Poppy Tattoo
A much more stylized look, this poppy tattoo takes its inspiration from the Papaver orientale, or Oriental poppy. The colors, lines, and symmetry of the tattoo design fit with traditional Chinese and Japanese art, further making the historical connection to the flower. While packed with color, the simple nature of the artwork makes it perfect for a wrist tattoo.
Poppies Through the Looking Glass
This cool design plays with both design and color, creating a cool optical illusion piece. Almost like a pane of glass, the diamond shape is the distinct line between the color of the poppies and their black and white counterparts. Such an amazing creation brings together more traditional tattoo art (the black outlined poppies) and the more painted look of the ruby-red blooms.
Freshly Picked Poppy
If it weren’t for the two-dimensional nature of this poppy tattoo, you would like that a flower was laying right there on the arm! Choosing to go without outlines really makes the poppy come to life, its natural red and orange tones providing a warmth to the piece. The other tiny details, like the stamen on the inside of the flower or the bristles along the stem, really make the plant come to life
Noir Poppy Tattoo
The noir art style takes its inspiration from the rise of film noir in the late 1940s, featuring dark black and white scenes and mysterious plot lines. In the same way, the art look plays on the difference between light and dark, and the grayscale in between. This painted poppy tattoo has some of that mysterious innocence about it that fits with this art style, along with the dark shades of the petals.
Gone but Never Forgotten
Along with the poppy, butterflies have a connection to life. The butterfly can symbolize rebirth, transformation, and even a sense of spirituality. When paired with the poppy, this amazing leg piece can take on two meanings. The first could be a tribute to a lost loved one, the butterfly representing their spiritual journey onward while the poppy commemorates their loss. On the other hand, if the poppy represents love, the butterfly could show how the deep love of another has transformed the person. Either way, the meaning is beautiful.
An interesting mix of symbols, the clover, poppy, and gargoyle all have distinct meanings. The clover flower represents luck and good fortune, as well as that others are thinking of you. Meanwhile, the gargoyle wards off evil spirits and serves as a protector, which is why they are often in graveyards or on churches. Finally the poppy, which in this case would definitely be a remembrance. Perhaps, combined, the tattoo owner is hoping to protect the one they lost and show that they are still thought of, and missed.
Where the Poppies Grow
This cool poppy tattoo brings together different art styles to form one awesome piece. The lines of the poppy flower are delicate and perfect, fitting with a clean tattoo look. However, the airbrushed nature of the red and the shading contrasts with that style, while also bringing in an element of color. Finally, the little x shapes through the background are reminiscent of traditional tattoo designs, blending the old with the new.
Poppy Tattoo Back Piece
A full back piece is no joke, so when you’re choosing to go that directly you had better love your design! It makes sense that, when selecting a back design, that you might go with a tribute tattoo or a personal symbol. The poppy could easily be both, either showing your love for someone or even representing your own birth month. Sticking with just colors in this design helps to soften the edges of the tattoo, something that can help make a back tattoo more sophisticated.
Birth of the Poppy
Crescent moons, while they have several meanings, are largely associated with birth and fertility. Paired with a poppy, this tattoo represents a sense of passionate love and the hope for new life to come from that love, especially when sticking with Eastern views. The design is also sweet, with the white highlights along the petals and the gorgeous shading within the moon.
With its sorrowful meaning, poppies make for the perfect tribute tattoo. Here, the name of the person remembered finds its way into the stem of the poppy, nicely integrated but still clearly read. The Japanese look of the poppy gives the tattoo a fun and artistic look, even if it has a somber significance.
Tiny Poppy Tattoo
Tiny tattoos are all the rage, particularly among first time tattoo owners. It’s nice to have just that little something for yourself; not always on display, or easily covered, but you know that it’s there. This adorable tiny poppy tattoo is just such a design, brightly colored and fun, but small enough only to draw attention when desired. The movement of the stem follows the anklebone nicely, working with the natural curves of the owner.
You’ll be in My Heart
No matter if you’re remembering someone or declaring your love, placing a poppy tattoo over your heart is packed with meaning. Even though this type of tattoo isn’t always visible, you know what is tucked away right above your heart. Choosing to only color the poppy makes it the focal point, while the vines stretch to add some length and dimension to the overall design.
Tucked into this amazing Polynesian tattoo design, the bright reds and yellows of this poppy pop out in a fantastic way. A true sunburst of color, the delicate flower contrasts nicely with the sharp lines and bold black of the Samoan design. While it isn’t a combination you would expect to see, anything goes in the world of tattoos!
Hidden Poppy Tattoo
With such intimate placement, this poppy tattoo takes on a more personal meaning. Whether it’s love or loss, this brings that special person close to you. Going with brighter colors is a smart choice here, giving the poppy a painted quality that adds to its beauty.
Bold, blocky colors are the foundation of this poppy tattoo design, providing an artistic interpretation of the look. Clearly, this tattoo design is to remember someone, but the defining facial features are deliberately absent. It is for the tattoo owner to remember, and for you to imagine. The layers of green bring depth to the tattoo, while the red of the poppies help with a bit of color contrast.
Cascade of Poppies
While the poppies in this tattoo design are bold and beautiful, they aren’t the only flower featured. Dahlias bloom along the top of the shoulder and down the back, coming with their own meaning. These flowers represent elegance, inner strength, change, creativity, and dignity, which works nicely with the meaning of the poppy. Inner strength and change could fit with the loss aspect, while the other components represent the one the person loves. Either way, the large blossoms work together to make a stunning design!
Take a Peek
Another sort of window effect, the bold line of the triangle gives the illusion of looking down into a plant nursery through some sort of skylight. The bright red poppies peer back up, innocent and lovely, warming our hearts. Simple outlines of the rest of the flowers show their separation from the viewer, completing the magic of the visual.
Tigers Among Poppies
Tigers are revered among Japanese and Chinese culture, holding deep symbolism and meaning within their artwork. In many ancient myths, tigers were the protectors of spirits crossing from this life to the next, preventing evil spirits from causing them harm. That fits nicely with the Western view of the poppy, providing the tiger to watch over a lost loved one. Within the tattoo, the red of the poppy stands out nicely, as does the green of the tiger eyes. These little pops of color lift the design.
Beautiful, and almost sad, this lone poppy rests in the middle of the back as a flower settles on water. Simple and stunning watercolor effects provide the color, a slightly lighter shade than the conventional poppy. The stroke of genius to this tattoo is the stem, which travels the length of the back all the way to the tailbone. This lengthens the look and continues the water theme, like a stream moving downwards.
A Hidden Treasure
Another gorgeous tiny tattoo, this poppy definitely evokes feelings of love and loss. Particularly given the placement, one of the more intimate tattoo locations, as well as the simple black and white nature of the design. It could be that both meanings of the poppy meet in this tattoo, a story of great passion followed by sorrowful loss.
Again, we see the pairing of a butterfly and poppy, although with the touches of gold the tone of the tattoo feels lighter. It is easy to see how this poppy tattoo design is celebrating love rather than loss, with the butterfly showing the change and transformation that comes with knowing such a love. The bright nature of the colors also supports the warm and optimistic feeling.
Garden of my Loves
A sweet way to do a family tattoo is by incorporating flowers. Each of these flowers represents a birth month – violet for February, daisy for April, and poppy for August. Beautifully illustrated and colored, the flowers themselves are tiny works of art within the design. The names of each child get worked into the stems, gorgeous hand lettering supporting the artistic nature of the flowers.
A Single Poppy
If you want a simple tattoo design, a single flower is the way to go. Here, this delicate, lonely poppy is elegant and lovely. Sticking with a minimal line design works to achieve the goal of simplicity.
Across My Heart
In many historic paintings and photos, women would hold flowers across their hearts to add that extra touch of grace and femininity. With this poppy tattoo design, the same effect comes into play, although in a more permanent way. The curves and tones of the tattoo bring up the same qualities of feminine charm, as does the watercolor style.
A Poppy Portrait
In this design, the poppy is more of a supporting role rather than a key player. However, as it serves as the only real color in the look, its importance cannot be denied. The sketched nature of the artwork is stunning, pulling you and making you want to know the young lady more. Why does she hold a poppy? What is her story? That is for the tattoo owner to know…
The artwork within this poppy tattoo is truly stunning, using a cut out effect to create the flying doves. Going for such dark, bold shades helps the doves to stand out even more, while also bringing a beauty to the poppy. Doves and poppies work well together, as the dove represents peace. It could be peace for yourself after a loss, or the peace of your loved one, either way the sweet nature of the meaning is clear.
Side Piece Poppy Tattoo
When choosing a side tattoo, it’s important to think about the natural lines of your body. In this instance, the poppy perfectly follows the curves of its owner. Tucked right behind the breast, the blossom of the poppy mimics the natural shape of the model. The shape of the poppy is interesting as well, as though it is actively in bloom at the time it was sketched.
Just the Outline
Just because you have a minimalist tattoo, doesn’t mean it has to be just black and white. This sweet poppy is perfect with the red outlines following the petals. If you wanted just a little more detail, you could always add in some shading on the flowers, but sometimes simple is the best.
A beautifully shaded black and white design, this poppy tattoo is a cute way to show your love for an August baby (even if that person is yourself!). Using white highlights helps to balance the shading of the grayscale, really making the elements of the tattoo pop. The Leo zodiac sign works perfectly in this design as well, as August falls in the latter part of the sign.
Stained Glass Poppy Tattoo
With such bright colors, poppies are ideal for a stained glass style tattoo. Outlining every aspect of the flower gives that stained glass appearance, along with the jewel tone of the colors. Working in some grayscale and white accents provides a nice contrast in the design.
Chinese Poppy Tattoo
Chinese watercolor is truly breathtaking, from the sweeping flow of the colors to the meticulous details. Bringing those elements into a tattoo takes skill and precision, but is well worth the effort. With this design, it is easy to see how the poppy could represent success and prosperity, as the colors are joyful and the lines are elegant. Supporting the red of the poppy with yellow, green, and even blue, really makes the tattoo sing.
At the Eleventh Hour
Commonly spoken in remembering fallen soldiers, Lest We Forget holds a beautiful sentiment along with the poppy. Particularly in England, where a field of poppies decorates the Tower of London annually to commemorate World War I, the idea of the poppy and those lost in battle are intertwined. The number of the hour on the clock is also significant, as the Treaty of Versailles was signed on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour. Altogether, this design makes for the perfect remembrance piece.
Ring of Poppies Tattoo
Rings are meant to show eternality, as they have no end and no beginning. By forming the ring with the poppy, it shows the everlasting nature of love. Gorgeous colors and smooth lines give the tattoo life and motion, fitting for such a meaning. It almost seems as though the ring were a wheel, showing the cycle of love without ever ending.
One Heart, One Life
Even though the poppy is only one aspect of this tattoo, it is easy to see that the meaning here is one of love and passion. Other flowers attached to romance appear in this garden, along with the sentiment of One Heart. The butterfly too joins the scene, adding to the sweetness and innocence of the overall meaning.
Tiniest of Poppy Tattoos
There’s tiny tattoos, and then there’s tiny tattoos. Truly adorable, this sweet little poppy is the perfect addition to your tiny tattoos collection. The most delicate of lines form the design, barely detectable. If you want a little poppy friend that is easily hidden, this is just the right design for you.
Reaching to the Sky
One of the best parts of floral tattoos is the element of movement they convey. Flowers aren’t static, they sway and go with the breeze or with a brush from an animal. In this case, the brightly colored poppies reach up towards the sun, drinking in its rays. Curving the tattoo up the arm further emphasizes this idea.
Make a Wish
Perfectly positioned against the galaxy, the lovely red poppy seems to sigh as it stares up to the evening star. As lovers wish one stars, so does this poppy, thinking of the love it represents. The red is the perfect color contrast to the deep blues, purples, and greens of the galaxy. Further bringing wonder to the design is the shape itself, almost as if we were seeing into another dimension.
A Blossom for You
Ankle tattoos are a great place for beginners, as are simple designs like this single poppy. While the layering of the color will definitely take time (and possibly multiple sessions), this is a good place to start building your tattoo collection. A simple palette of red and black work together to form the design, with just the right elements of shading on the petals.
I’ll Always Love You
Even if the poppy represents a personal loss, there’s no denying the love that goes with the bloom. Simple grayscale is perfect and not too overstated with this design, the lines soft and elegant. Show your love of past, present, and future, even if you have to be apart.
From their bold red color to their deeply personal meaning, poppies are an ideal tattoo subject. Create a loving tribute tattoo, for someone long gone or to heal a fresh wound. Show your passion for someone in your life now, letting the bright red of the poppy sing your love song. You could also work the poppy into a larger design, a subtle and secret symbol among a larger picture.
No matter what you want it to represent, the poppy will enhance your tattoo collection.