Has an owl tattoo caught your eye? Do you want to get a tattoo but have no idea how to get one or how to even look for an artist? Well, you’re in the right place because here, you get to explore the different symbolisms and meanings attached to an owl tattoo.
What Is A Tattoo?
Before anything else, you should know that a tattoo can either be temporary or permanent, but most people who use the term “tattoo” refer to the permanent ones. The temporary tattoos are called henna because they make use of the dye that comes from the henna plant. A henna tattoo lasts for at least two weeks but if it’s well taken care of, it can last for a month.
On the other hand, a permanent tattoo stays on your skin forever. Yes, this is a big commitment because once you get a tattoo, the only way to get rid of it is to go through expensive and painful sessions with the doctor. There are even people who claim that their tattoos were not removed 100%. Although this is not to discourage you when getting tattoos, it is important that you are aware of what you are getting yourself into.
Owl Symbolism And Meanings
The owl symbolizes three main things: death, wisdom, and protection.
Death is a common symbol associated with owls. This comes from the Roman belief that owls are protectors of the dead. In some European and Celtic cultures, an owl that makes a sound is a sign that someone will die. However, even if the owl is associated with a dark reality such as death, the animal itself is not seen in a negative light. In fact, in Roman cultures, it is considered as the “angel of the dead” who brings the souls of the departed to heaven.
An African proverb once said that “the owl is the wisest of all birds because the more it sees, the less it talks.” The owl is known to be awake at night and this behavior is unusual among birds. This is why the owl started to symbolize wisdom because it is more knowledgeable than the rest of the birds.
In Greek mythology, the owl is the symbol of Athena, the goddess of wisdom.
The wisdom symbolism attached to owls does not only come from folklore and stories. It is said that the night holds so many secrets and during this time, things are purer. This is why owls, who are awake at night, are termed as wise.
If you would notice, the owls in Roman cultures symbolize protection aside from death. This is because owls are said to be guardians of the soul because they accompany the soul to heaven. Moreover, owls are able to see more clearly even when there is no light so they are better protectors of other creatures. The protective symbolism of owls can also be due to the fact that they are skillful birds which allow them to survive even darkness.
How Much Is A Tattoo?
On average, a tattoo costs at least $50. Of course, knowing the price is not as easy as that. There are a number of factors that affect its price and a lot of it depends on your tattoo design. Since owl tattoos are often very detailed, it would be beneficial for you to know how you can lower its price. Here are the factors affecting your hourly rate.
Design And Detail
The first factor that affects how much your tattoo will cost is the design. Most of the time, the main factor that determines the price is how much detail is in your tattoo. For owl tattoos, unless you just want an outline of a tattoo, it will always be detailed. Just the feathers themselves already call for a lot of artistic skill and precision in terms of drawing it out on your skin.
To add to that, the more elements there are in your tattoo, the more expensive it will be. There are tattoo designs that not only have a tattoo in it, but it also has a matching background.
Part of the design is the color. If you plan on giving your owl some color, this might cost you more than if you stick to one color. This is because most tattoo designs with colors tend to be more detailed since your artist has to pay attention to the parts that have changing or gradient color. There is also an effect on how long your tattoo will take if it makes use of several colors. If your tattoo artist charges at an hourly rate, then more time will be spent changing colors, too.
Naturally, the bigger the size of your tattoo, the more expensive it will be. However, there are cases when this doesn’t apply to all tattoos. Take, for example, your tattoo is large but there are barely any details or you will just have a huge outline of an owl. The lack of detail in the tattoo can compensate for its size so it doesn’t always automatically mean that the bigger the tattoo, the more expensive it is.
Where your tattoo is placed also affects the price. If you plan to place your tattoo on a sensitive area, then it will cost more because there will be nerves in that area which increases the risk of getting a tattoo. As a rule of thumb, the higher the risk, the more expensive the tattoo will be.
Sensitive areas include the back of your wrist, your private parts, your sternum, and even your feet. If you want to cut down on the cost, you can choose to place your tattoo on more muscular areas like the thighs, arms, and shoulders.
Tattoo Studio Location
Aside from the design and placement of the tattoo, the location of the tattoo studio also affects the price or hourly rate of the tattoo artist. When the tattoo studio is in a prime location (which is usually a city), the cost per hour is more expensive as compared to a tattoo studio in the outskirts of the city. This is due to the higher rent and overhead. Tattoo studios in tourist spots also demand a higher price to cater to the peak season.
Tattoo Artist’s Expertise
Lastly, the tattoo artist’s expertise plays a huge role in the price of the tattoo. More experienced and popular tattoo artists often charge more. However, this does not mean that those who charge less lack skill. In fact, there are tattoo artists who are just starting out yet their artistic skill and lightness of hand can be comparable to that of a veteran’s.
Common Placements For Owl Tattoos
Having an owl tattoo means that you can size it whatever you want. However, if you want a small owl tattoo, it’s better to have a simple and less detailed one because it’s hard to see the details when the size of the tattoo itself is small. Nonetheless, here are areas where you can put your owl tattoo.
For Small-Sized Tattoos
The inner wrist is starting to become a popular place to put tattoos. Not only does it add a feminine touch to tattoos, but the placement is also strategic especially when you either want to make your tattoo an additional accessory or you want it to be hidden easily.
However, you should be aware that the wrist has a lot of veins and the skin in this area is thinner as compared to the skin on your limbs. So, expect that getting a tattoo here will be more painful and unsettling since the skin is also very close to the bones.
Back Of The Ear
Like the wrist, the back of the ear is very close to the skull. This might make you feel uneasy when the tattoo artist starts to pierce your skin with the ink. However, having a small tattoo here, regardless of design is easy to hide and sometimes, if you don’t want other people to see you have a tattoo, then this is a great hiding place. If you’re planning on putting an owl tattoo here, it would be best to stick to a basic outline of an owl as the actual design of your tattoo. Too many details might be over the top for the small area at the back of your ear.
Back Of The Elbow
Although the back of the elbow has a wider area than the back of the ear and the inner wrist, it is still an ideal place to have small tattoos. This place is a good hiding spot for subtle tattoos because not a lot of people will notice that you have a tattoo here unless they stay behind you. Moreover, you can choose more detailed designs of an owl tattoo if you plan on putting a tattoo here.
For Medium-Sized and Large Tattoos
Ever since tattoos were invented, arm tattoos never went out of style. This can be attributed to the gender neutrality of having a tattoo in this area. Notice how having a tattoo in certain areas like the ankle, inner wrist, and hip bone look feminine. When you put a tattoo on your arm, whether it’s on the biceps or the forearm, you will neither look too feminine nor too masculine.
The shoulder blades are another popular area where people put their tattoos. This is mainly because the shoulder blade is wide enough for you to fit any design. In fact, this area is a great place to have a flock of birds because the wide space acts as a sky for bird tattoos. Although owls in flight are rare tattoos, you can always design your tattoo as such to maximize the wide space of your shoulder blade. The arm is even the most common place for men to put their tattoos.
Another gender-neutral placement for your owl tattoo is the rib cage. The rib cage is starting to be a popular choice for tattoo placements because it can easily be hidden and when it’s shown, it adds a lot of sex appeal to those who have it.
Tips For The First-Timer
If you’ve gotten a tattoo before, then you can skip this part and proceed to some reminders on how to better take care of your new owl tattoo. But if you haven’t gotten a tattoo yet, then here are a few things and tips you might want to know before going to your scheduled appointment.
Ask for recommendations from family and friends.
When you’re looking for a tattoo artist, it would be best to go to a studio or an artist that was recommended by a friend or a family member. If you ask around, you’ll notice that most people go to the studios that were referred to them by the people they know. This will help you get more information on the customer experience of your friend so that you can determine if the studio will be a good fit for your preferences. At the same time, there is a sense of comfort you will get if you know that someone you know has tried and tested a tattoo studio/artist before you.
Consult your design with a tattoo artist first.
Once you’ve chosen a tattoo studio, try to talk to the tattoo artist on your first visit. If you have a design, show it to them first and ask if they are able to do it. If you’re hesitant with their answer, look at the catalog of their designs or their portfolio so you get an idea of their artworks.
Consulting with the tattoo artist will help you know a lot of things. Aside from whether or not they can make your design, you can also know early on if the artist is someone you are comfortable with. If there is no “connection” between you two, then you can keep on looking for artists that you will personally like.
Don’t schedule any beach trips before and after your tattoo session.
When you’re planning to get a tattoo and you already have a schedule in mind, as much as possible, don’t schedule beach trips a week before and after your tattoo appointment. This is because going to the beach before your appointment might turn your skin dry and susceptible to wounds.
On the other hand, if you schedule a beach trip right after your new tattoo, chances are that your new tattoo could be infected because of the sea water. The tattoo’s quality will also be affected if it’s exposed to too much sunlight.
Don’t rush getting a tattoo.
All this talk might be getting you too excited to get a tattoo but you shouldn’t forget that you have to do this in your own time. Tattoos are permanent and if you decide to get it on a whim and with the wrong design, then you just might regret it. As a first-timer, you shouldn’t rush getting a tattoo especially when you aren’t sure if you really want one.
Tattoos are very, very permanent.
Finally, you should not forget that tattoos are very permanent. Because ink is pierced through your skin, getting the color off it will be a tedious and painful process. Yes, there are surgeries for tattoo removals, but to be able to get rid of your tattoo, you have to go through painful and expensive surgeries. These surgeries will also often need you to come back and get the tattoo checked.
Even if you don’t have your tattoo yet, it’s better to know the aftercare tips beforehand so that you have a better idea on what you are getting yourself into. Here are the things you have to do in order to maintain the quality of the tattoo and to avoid getting infected.
Ask for your tattoo artist’s advice.
Each tattoo artist will give you a different advice when it comes to taking care of your fresh tattoo and maintaining it afterward. This does not mean that the more guidelines the tattoo artist will give, the more effective it will be. When seeking advice from your tattoo artist, make sure to notice if it’s for the purpose of keeping the quality of the tattoo and for avoiding infection. Even before your tattoo appointment (ideally, during the first time you consult with them), make sure that they will tell you what you need to know.
Apply a moisturizing lotion or petroleum jelly.
Regardless of the tattoo artist, it’s always a must to apply a moisturizing lotion or petroleum jelly the moment your tattoo is made. If you will notice, there will be cases when your skin will bleed and turn reddish. Don’t worry, this is just a reaction to the invasive procedure, but this is not something to be concerned about. To relieve you of the pain and to avoid any infection, apply petroleum jelly (this works better if you’re experiencing pain on your skin) or a moisturizing lotion. Oftentimes, your tattoo artist will be the one doing this step.
Cover your tattoo with a bandage.
This step is optional especially when the area where the tattoo is will not be touching any piece of clothing. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry during these things so it would be best to request from your tattoo artist if they can apply a bandage over your tattoo.
A bandage will help prevent your tattoo from getting infected or getting touched by you or your clothes. This is due to the fact that when your clothes touch your new tattoo, it can create fiction and ruin the quality of your inked owl.
Keep it from too much friction.
The purpose of the bandage above is to keep your tattoo from scratching against anything. If your tattoo artist puts a bandage over your tattoo, then you can consider being safe for the first six hours with your tattoo because a bandage is an effective way of protecting it.
But if your tattoo artist tells you that a bandage is not necessary for your tattoo and that air drying it will be best, then what you should do is to avoid anything that can get in the way of your tattoo.
Don’t touch or scratch it.
Just like the friction created by your clothes, touching and actually scratching your tattoo is a no-no. For one thing, you don’t know how much bacteria is on your fingertips and fingernails that this is too high to risk. To add to that, touching your tattoo could ruin its quality because the ink has not yet bonded with your skin’s molecules that much so touching it might ruin the ink.
Wash it properly.
After waiting for six hours after getting your tattoo, what you should do next is to wash it. Washing the tattoo will help remove excess dirt and it will make sure that no bacteria stays on the area.
To wash your tattoo, use lukewarm water and a fragrance-free soap to avoid any other skin reactions. Make sure that before you apply soap, the soap itself already has a rich lather so you don’t have to scrub the soap on your scrub. Remember, do not scrub the soap on the tattoo because it will damage it. Once you’re done applying soap, wash it off using cool water.
Knowing the basics, the preparation, and the aftercare of having a tattoo is going to be helpful so that you are already more informed about the process of getting inked. This will help you decide if it’s something you really want. If it’s your first time, starting out with an owl tattoo is going to be a great choice.