Raven & Crow Tattoos

Posted by in Artists, Arts, Culture, Portfolio

For many ancient peoples, the raven is a powerful animal totem, a protector,spirit guide, or god.  He’s a shape-shifting messenger and a symbol of transformation.  Black plumage invokes an air of mistique, secrecy, and elegance. The Raven is also a powerful sun symbol. From the earliest times, raven myths tell of its intelligence and concern for humans.  As we wrote about in Mythological Ravens, and Crows in Celtic Mythology, there are plenty of reasons other than sheer love to get a Crow or Raven tattoo.

The most important thing to consider prior to running down to the tattoo shop is what the bird will look like, and who the best artist is for your budget and ability to travel. Tattoos are absolutely forever, so you want to be sure yours is amazing!  Below are a few pointers:


  • Research your bird choice thoroughly. There is nothing worse than seeing Ravens that are really Choughs (Choughs have orange feet, Ravens don’t)
  • If using a photograph as reference for your artist, it is best to email the photographer for their blessing.
  • If using artwork as reference, you absolutely must get permission from the original artist. This goes double if your tattooer is going to change it at all.
  • Strive for originality. While wonderful galleries exist online such as this one, it is better to think up your own design than get one ‘out of the book’.
  • Decide on a location that will allow your Crow or Raven to breathe. The back, sides, chest, and shoulder are the best.


To help further inspire you, we have put together a huge Crow and Raven Tattoo Gallery here. (I’ve even snuck a shot of Clara’s raven in there on page 4!)

Crow Tattoo on our reader Christina

Do you have a tattoo you would like to share with our readers? Send it to our wonderful mailbird cawcaw at avesnoir.com!

Here are our ten favorites from the gallery. Choosing was tough!



  1. Hello from Sydney Australia. I’m “Creature”; my nickname for quite a while. I stumbled across your page somehow, and if it takes your fancy – like to share some quotes from a series I am still writing which is kind of biographical but heavily mystified. I hope to challenge the perceptions of some who cast judgement over darkness that they cannot understand. That judgement has taken more than sometimes it felt bearable, if not for the crafty courage mixed with a little bit of badness inherent in my spirit to rise – “Through the eye of a needle”, “The Hill Creature” and “People of Substance” hope to embrace “The Origin of Light” themes following a modern day exhile of an unexpected, morally challenging, voice of the outcast silent “Creature deMercy”
    I am of the Raven in every sense that is described in lore but further adapted into my day to day virtues and (often getting me into trouble) unique approach to certain situations. Unfortunately, I can’t share what I do or where I’ve been to have reached this iteration of this “An Imaginary Life” (sic David Malouf as Ovid ergo “Metamorphoses”) however it is a Raven spirit that guides me and shapes the ethics and virtues that the “Hill Creature” preaches in the books. Having lost custody of my children following the loss of my wife and both brothers; I wrote these words for my sons who are every bit born of the Raven, and they are the opening lines which I’d be honoured if you posted.
    “Never above you. Never below you. Always beside you. You are born of the Raven; remember that if you have temporarily lost your way. Fear those who fear nothing. Go slowly. Be deliberate, but don’t forget to face north when you dream, Creature. You are a child of the universe and the infinite light to shine on from yesterday” – (David deMercy – “Through the Eye of a Needle”)

  2. Good submit. Great.

  3. Love it completely! How is the best way to get permission to use a tat design, for example the ones from this gallery? I have some sites that have their designs outright as for sale but when I see areally nice design on a person or in an article then what. I am very interested in the 2nd one listed with several blending into bird and the larger on one with the tree and birds

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