Reviewed & updated: December 6, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Looking for a tattoo that represents your wanderlust or your adventure spirit? Then these compass tattoos are what you have been looking for till now.
The compass tattoo remains one of the most favourite tattoo designs for those who love adventures.
The compass is an instrument used since ancient times for navigation. The Chinese first invented the compass somewhere in between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD during the rule of the Han dynasty.
Initially, the instrument was used for fortune-telling, in Feng Shui, or to find precious gems and for divination purposes. Slowly, they learnt that the compass can be used for determining orientation and navigational purposes. As maritime transportation increased, the compass became an infallible instrument for the sailors, along with the North Star. Gradually, the compass became a must apparatus for travellers worldwide as they set out to explore the world.
So what does a compass tattoo mean? Why is the compass tattoo design such a staple choice among tattoo connoisseurs? Modern tattoo lovers think of the compass tattoo as means of expressing their adventurous spirits and as a way of paying tribute to their Viking roots. But what does a compass tattoo represent? The compass tattoo symbolises motivation, wanderlust, luck, and love for adventure, among others. Here is a specially curated list of the best compass tattoo ideas to bring out the traveller in you.
The Simple Compass Tattoo For First-Timers
A realistic compass tattoo might be one of the coolest tattoos out there but sure is quite a painful experience. Especially if you are someone who is going to get inked for the first time, the intricate designs of a realistic compass tattoo might not be feasible at all as it takes a lot of time and commitment (and a whole lot of pain!). A minimalistic forearm compass tattoo will be your best bet which is not only quite a fashion symbol but also a soothing experience for the first-timers. The small compass tattoo with a star compass in the middle is easy to draw and do need very experienced and costly tattoo artists. So if you are looking for trendy compass tattoo designs but is also on a tight budget, then this simple compass tattoo is perfect for you.
Viking Compass Tattoo For The History Buffs
The modern Viking Compass that we know of today is also known as vegvísir. This Icelandic word can be translated as ‘signpost’ or ‘way finder’. The origin of the Viking Compass can be traced to a couple of historic sources – a collection of ancient Icelandic material on Vikings known as the Huld manuscript and an antique Icelandic book of magic known as The Galdrabok dated as early as the 17th century. The compass tattoo design boasts of an astonishingly intricate design that consists of 8 staves branching out from a central point and ending with a unique protective rune. These runes are letters of the Runic alphabet, a Germanic language much similar to the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Viking tattoos are vibrant and colourful and the Viking compass tattoos are no different. They symbolise and act as a guide in one’s path, embodying Viking traditions and cultural rituals. These compass tattoo designs have become a recent hot trend and get this compass tattoo to pay homage to your ancient roots or if you are a fan of History or Viking culture in general.
Compass And Rose Tattoo Of Spirituality
A compass rose is a type of symbol on maps, compasses, and nautical charts used for viewing the four cardinal directions (North, South, East, and west) and their intermediate points. The directions signify unlimited opportunity, the present, the past, and the future. The compass rose is also known as a rose of the winds or wind rose. For those opting for a compass rose tattoo, it normally implies that they desire it to symbolise the guidance to their true north and to navigate their journey through life by pointing them in the right direction. The compass rose symbolises discovery, awakening, and spiritual direction. A nautical compass tattoo coupled with a compass rose is the perfect tattoo that embodies the spirituality and sense of adventure within you. The compass and rose tattoo can also be a tribute to your romantic partner. This particular nautical compass tattoo design also has the popular lines of J.R.R. Tolkien classic ‘The Fellowship of The Ring’ etched on it – “Not all who wander are lost.”
The Classic Anchor Compass Tattoo
One of the most classic compass tattoo designs is the combination of a compass and an anchor. In accordance with maritime traditions, anchors were tattooed on sailors who successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The anchor signifies safety, home, and hope, while compass tattoos signify guidance and luck. An anchor tattoo coupled with a compass tattoo represents the grounding and guiding forces in our life. Due to this, many people prefer to add the initials of their closed ones with this anchor compass tattoo design.
Water Colour Compass Tattoo For Artists
Tired of the same black and grey and white tattoos? Granted that the compass tattoos look great in these classic colours, but then almost any tattoo enthusiast has tattoo ideas or designs inked in these colours. So how to stand apart from the crowd? To catch everyone’s attention, get a compass tattoo that incorporates the watercolour technique. The watercolour compass tattoo imbibes a unique blended out and fluid effect that lends it the finishing akin to splashes of paints. It is also less painful compared to nautical compass tattoo designs made out of traditional blocks of paints. But to successfully implement these types of compass tattoo ideas, search for an experienced and professional tattoo artist.
Map And Compass Tattoo For Explorers
Maps and compasses serve as lifelines for all those who dare to venture out into the unknown for centuries. They have served as navigation tools for all those who explored the high seas and the lands, setting foot where no man has ever dared to. Thus, a map compass tattoo is apt for all those budding explorers looking to go for adventurous treks on foot or a vehicle of their own. A map and a compass is an ideal combination and one of the best compass tattoo ideas. Get these map compass tattoo designs inked in the classic black and white colour combination and set out to explore the world. These types of compass tattoo ideas symbolise optimism, discovery, and bravery – all the traits that need to be present in an ideal wanderer.
Arrow Compass Tattoo On Forearm
One of the most common forearm compass tattoo designs is the arrow compass tattoo. The compass normally represents your perseverance and love for adventure while you explore and navigate different terrains. It is a symbolism of guidance and finding the right direction. On the other hand, arrow tattoos represent strength and the ability to give direction to your life. Getting a compass tattoo that has an arrow drawn through it heralds the beginning of a new chapter, adventure or journey in life. The compass acts as a sort of guide in this new phase while the arrow lends you strength and propels you forward towards your goal. Get this arrow compass tattoo in the classic black and grey combination to commence a new successful chapter in your life.
Geometric Compass Tattoo For The Maths Lover
Well, maths and tattoos usually do not go hand in hand and it is a common misconception to perceive maths enthusiasts as some sort of geeks who do not get inked. Maths and geometric are great combinations. Most of the compass tattoo designs, or any type of tattoo designs, have a geometrical structure behind them. It is impossible to draw or design a perfect compass tattoo without getting the mathematical measurements correct. Hence, it is only common that some artists will come up with geometric compass tattoo designs to pay tribute to the mathematicians. Geometric tattoos make use of shapes, dots, and lines to create eye-catching tattoo designs that boast intricate patterns. A geometric compass tattoo is a magnificent choice for guys who fancy a minimalist black ink tattoo that exudes an exciting but unusual vibe.
Awesome Compass And Ink Pen Tattoo For Budding Writers
Suffering from writer’s block and looking for new inspirations to overcome it? Well, all of us writers have suffered from this nightmare as we stare at blank pages, struggling to come up with new ideas that seem adequate to us. And what better to overcome a block than getting a tattoo that is designed solely for writers and scholars? This sleeve compass tattoo is an outstanding creation that will need a lot of patience and commitment on your side ( and quite a bit of tolerance of pain too!) But, trust us, the end result will be more than worth it! The small nautical compass in the middle, placed on a world map, with a bottle of ink, a feather pen, and a pile of books placed below is the perfect tattoo design for all the writers out there – amateur or professional. It has mind-boggling intricate patterns and a wonderful eye for detailing that is sure to draw everyone’s attention whenever you walk into a room. Find an experienced professional tattoo artist capable of getting this difficult tattoo design right. Throw in some new ideas too while you are at it and customise the compass tattoo according to your personality if you want.
The Unique 3D Compass Tattoo
The wonderful aspect of 3D tattoos is that they have an additional dimension, thus lending your preferred tattoo choice a unique look as if it bulging out of your skin. This style has become exponentially popular in the last couple of years or so for its freakish detailing making the tattoos look hyper-realistic. A 3D compass tattoo not only has an appealing appearance but deep symbolism attached to it too. Traditionally, a compass tattoo has been a common theme linked with sailors as the associated talisman aided them in finding their way home on the high seas and also protecting them from getting lost. Compass tattoos are versatile tattoo ideas and can be coupled with a world map too to lend it a more striking look. Thus, a 3D compass tattoo is a perfect way to make a style statement. That being said, implementing these tattoo ideas is a daunting task for the artist. It requires years of practice to master these sorts of challenging works and hence is a costly and time-consuming affair. Keep this in mind when you go to get this complicated piece of body art.
Nautical compass tattoos have been around for quite a few years and, judging by the ever-increasing popularity, they are here to stay. Nautical compass tattoos represent the inherent quest for adventure and knowledge in man and getting a compass tattoo is the ideal way to express the wanderlust within you. While most compass tattoos boast intricate detailing and realistic looks, we need to keep in mind that the best compass tattoos can be ones that are simple and minimalistic. There is no need to get a nautical compass tattoo that is inexplicably detailed and requires large skin areas just because most realistic compass tattoos you see on Instagram or other sites have so. As always, tattoos are mostly for personal experiences so choose a design that you are comfortable with and matches your fashion sense and personality.
Some of the other trendy compass tattoo designs are –
- A ship, small compass, and anchor tattoo
- Star compass, world map, and hourglass tattoo
- Star compass and clock tattoo
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