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Tattoos are a wonderful thing. They are a way to express yourself, to accessorize on a more permanent basis, to showcase your loves and interests for all to see, and beyond all that, they look cool beyond all measures. They may have been taboo back in the day, but the current generation of twenty-somethings love tattoos, and as of this moment, 30% of the US population above college graduation age have all got at least one tattoo. So some would say it’s pretty common now, and I, for one, am glad to see that. After all, I have over fifteen tattoos, so it’s fair to say that I am an advocate for this change.
Of these fifteen plus tattoos, I have a handful of gaming tattoos, as you would expect, being a professional in the gaming industry and all. I have a Pokemon tattoo, a Journey tattoo, and a Kingdom Hearts tattoo. So when it comes to tattoo-related gaming articles, I know my stuff. However, despite my love for the Dark Souls series and Soulsborne games in general, I haven’t quite gotten around to getting inked up with a Souls-related piece. However, I’ve had my eye on one for quite some time, so I hope this longing for a Souls tattoo and my other gaming tats suffices as expertise enough.
In this article, I’m going to be covering some key info that all tattoo newbies should consider before going under the needle, and of course, I’ll be giving you my top ideas, which may just give you the inspiration you need to get that Dark Souls tattoo you have been dreaming of since waking up in the Undead Asylum all those years ago. So enough chat, let’s get into this thing.
Considerations Before Selecting a Souls Tattoo
Okay, so before we bombard you with killer designs from some of the most talented artists around, we should go over some considerations that you need to make before you decide on getting a tattoo. These decisions will ultimately affect the style and logistics of this tattoo, and in some cases, the tattoo idea you have in mind just might not work for you for a number of reasons. This is a permanent decision, so better safe than sorry. So here are some things to take into account:
Firstly, let’s talk about style, as there are quite a few different tattoo types out there. You could go for something more traditional, opt for a more modern look, choose something hyper-realistic, or you might even go for a stick and poke tattoo, although god knows why you would. Sorry, just my opinion, and this plays into the idea that styles are so subjective, and while one person might love a certain school of tattooing, another person might loathe it. So it’s best to decide on a style that works for you, especially if you intend to get more tattoos. It’s best to get this right straight away as you want all of your tattoos to look cohesive. Here are some tattoo styles to consider:
- Stick and Poke
- New School
Obviously, it depends on what you go for, but with Dark Souls-related tattoos. Of all the options above, I would personally say that Blackwork and Dotwork tattoos will lend themselves best to these types of pieces. After all, Dark Souls isn’t best known for its vibrant colors and zany designs. It’s very much a gritty experience, which is why these are good options.
Size and Placement
Next, we have two considerations that go hand in hand, placement, and size. When choosing a tattoo, you have to look at the design and decide where that tattoo will look best on your body and how much real estate you are willing to sanction for this new work of art. We would suggest starting small at first or a medium-sized piece if you want to really push it. However, you never know how your body will react to tattoos and how you will handle the pain, so don’t go crazy.
Then one must also consider the placement, as some designs will lend themselves to certain places on the body. For example, a large piece is much better suited to a large open area like your back as opposed to, say, your arm. With your arm, the artist will have to wrap the design, and this can add complexity and lead to poorer results. However, smaller pieces usually look better in tighter, more compact spaces. For example, this kind of piece would get lost on a large area like your back, but on say, your wrist, it’s much more eye-catching. Some food for thought.
Color vs. Blackwork
You should then consider if you want to add color to your tattoo. We touched on the fact that blackwork might be more suited to a Souls-related tattoo, but that isn’t a hard and fast rule. Let’s say you want a tattoo of the Firelink Bonfire. Well, you can definitely do a blackwork piece for this, but you could add some color to the ember to make that piece pop. Or you might want to go the whole hog and do a colorful piece in one of the other styles listed above. It’s a matter of preference, and it’s important to establish yours.
Then lastly, we have the artist that you choose to go to. This is easily the most important of all the things we mention in this section, as these individuals have to be able to take an abstract concept and bring your idea to life. These people need to be talented, skilled in the style of tattoo that you intend to get, perhaps well versed in the subject matter if you want something super-specific, and you want to make sure that you go to an artist that puts you at ease and creates the perfect environment for tattooing. After all, getting repeatedly stabbed with a needle can be a tad stressful. In case you were wondering, my go-to tattooists are Bad Tooth and Giraffe Stairs Tattoos, so they get my personal recommendation.
Now, before we jump into the best Dark Souls tattoo ideas on this side of the web, we need to establish what makes these tattoos worthy of appearing on this list. So here are the criteria that we are working with here:
- These tattoos must be related to Dark Souls or a Souls-like title
- The tattoos in question need to be appropriately sized and well-placed
- The tattoos selected must be aesthetically pleasing and of the highest quality
Our Top Dark Souls Tattoo Ideas
General Souls Tattoos
First up, we have all the designs that refer to the series as a whole as opposed to certain titles in the trilogy. Check these out:
We begin with a fan favorite and a recurring character in the series, the pathetic and plump knight, Sir Seigmeyer of Catarina. He’s a lovable oaf who the player seems to embarrass at every turn by solving all of his problems for him and, in turn, making him look like a feeble knight. So, in turn, he often offers the player gifts to make up for his shortcomings. He also wears a bulky and rounded armor set that makes them look kind of cute rather than the fearsome knight that he wishes he was. Overall, he is a beloved character in the series and one that is instantly recognizable, and as you can see from this design, he makes great subject matter for a cool tattoo.
I’m a big fan of pixel tattoos. After all, my Pokemon tattoo is a rendering of Ash and Pikachu in Pokemon Yellow in their full blocky form, so when compiling this list, I needed a Dark Souls equivalent. This rendering of Solaire of Astora in an 8-bit style is genuinely fantastic, offers a lot of detail, a burst of color if that is your kind of thing, and best of all, it allows you to be in on the meme culture surrounding the Souls series. Praise the Sun!
As you would imagine, when curating this list, I was inundated with Bonfire tattoos as this is a huge mechanic within the series. We all remember that burst of serotonin that would come when you finally reached the next bonfire on your Journey. Well, we decided on this one, partly because of the cool texture that makes the design look like flaking ash, but also because it combines the Bonfire with the iconic ‘, You Died’ message. Dark Souls taught gamers that dying was a part of the process, and we bet that you saw this message quite a lot in your first-ever playthrough of a Dark Souls title. So mixing the elation of a bonfire and the brutality of this game’s difficulty is a cool touch.
I love a traditional tattoo, and I realize that the pixel Praise the Sun tattoo won’t be for everyone. So for all you guys, you might enjoy this incredible traditional Solaire of Astora design. Again, you get that splash of color, a detailed and intricate design, and the script on a scroll is a really nice feature as well. It all gels together really nicely and could be a great way to honor this incredible franchise.
We couldn’t leave out the Chest Mimic enemies. These were the bane of all Dark Souls players back in the day, especially when players weren’t wise to the punishing nature of the series and the trickery the developers have made a common feature in later iterations of the series. These enemies would hide as reward chests and then burst to life and gobble up unsuspecting players. It was such a shock to the system and, for some, one of the most memorable gaming moments ever for the sheer surprise factor alone. So inking one of these bad boys onto your skins seems pretty fitting, if to serve as a reminder when playing, if nothing else.
Sweet Relief Estus Flask Tattoo
Then lastly for the general pieces, we have the Estus Flask, your lifeline when the going gets tough. The Estus Flask is the container that allows players to heal in this game, and truthfully, they are in such short supply that every single jar of Estus is precious. This tattoo does that sentiment justice with a traditional design with a script reading ‘Sweet Relief’. I couldn’t have put it better myself, and the pop of color is always welcome too.
Dark Souls I
Now we move on to the original title in the series, Dark Souls I. This is perhaps the game that you remember most fondly, and for that reason, you need to check out these amazing designs below:
We begin with what is perhaps the most beloved boss duo in the entire series. After all, we all hated Ornstein and Smough. Sir Astorias and Sif were long-time companions until Astorias was lost to the Abyss, and since then, Sif has guarded the grave of his fallen master ever since. Well, until the player comes along and chops this doggy to bits. This battle starts out intense but by the end, you will be forced to hack away at a deflated and defenseless, limping animal. Pretty bleak, but poetic in equal measure. Well, the story is one of the most beloved throughout all the lore in Dark Souls and as a result, cool and colorful tattoos like the one shown above litter the internet in abundance, and rightfully so.
Next, we have the Mushroom people, a common enemy in the Original Dark Souls title. Now, they have not have as much lore or backstory as the litany of bosses on offer in this series, but they sure are cute and aesthetically pleasing, and what better reason to get a mushroom tat. We would put them in the same category of iconic enemies as the Ambulant Urn enemies from Elden Ring or the Mimic Chests of Dark souls.
Gravelord Nito Tattoo
If you want a tattoo that pays homage to a Dark Souls boss, it’s very hard to look past Gravelord Nito, one of the Lord Soul owners of the original game. He is the Lord of Death and the Lord of the Catacombs, ruling over his undead servants. Aesthetically his body is made up of bones and skulls of the dead, wrapped in a ragged black cloak. So if you wanted a tattoo that is dark and spooky, this is right up there. We love this one due to the fine line art, the attention to detail, the stance, and the perfect placement. Honestly, this one might be my personal pick of the bunch.
Anor Londo X Bonfire Tattoo
When we begin our journey in the Original Dark Souls, we don’t really know where our adventure will take us. We know we have to go ring some bells, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface. You see, there are so many incredible locales to explore in DS1, places like Blighttown, Sen’s Fortress, and The Catacombs, but all these destinations will eventually lead you to the lofty heights of Anor Londo. This tattoo offers a face-on design of Anor Londo, and just down below, you have a Bonfire for good measure. I told you that Dark Souls tattoo fans love their Bonfires!
Great Wolf Sif Tattoo
Then lastly, just to hammer home that Grey Wolf Sif is a fan favorite, we have this stellar design that showcases Sif on his own, protecting the tomb of his fallen comrade. We love the blackwork, the rough shading, the subtle splash of watercolor, and the circular design.
Dark Souls II
We move on to the problem child of the series, Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin. It’s a divisive game that not all fans of the series accept with open arms, but those that love it, really adore it. So here are some designs for those that fall into that bracket:
Heide Knight Tattoo
In the spirit of including some common enemies from each game alongside the bosses, we have the Heide Knight, an enemy within DS2 that may not be a boss, but is pretty formidable, especially if the cavalcade of arrows in this one’s back is anything to go by. The linework and the dot shading on this piece is subline, making this one a standout piece for sure.
The Pursuer Tattoo
One of the criticisms thrown at DS2 was that a lot of the bosses in this game were unmemorable. Well, that much certainly cannot be said of The Pursuer, who is a boss that appears early in the game, but in terms of stature and the fact that they are as intimidating as all hell, you won’t go forgetting The Pursuer quickly. This sketch showcases this bulky baron in all of his glory, with his fun bag of killing tools and his huge shield. We also love the detail on the chest plate.
Sir Alonne Samurai Tattoo
Then lastly for DS2, we have this incredible Samurai design of Sir Alonne, by the same artist that provided the Grey Wolf Sif piece. Again, we adore the circular design here, the muted color palette, the rough shading, and the stance of Sir Alonne here is badass. We admit that DS2 didn’t get the same billing as the rest of the categories on this list, but we hope this incredible design makes up for that somewhat.
Dark Souls III
We have to include a common enemy for every game in the trilogy, right? Well, the Ravenous Crystal Lizard is our pick of the bunch here. This beast is a rather imposing figure, I mean imagine trying to navigate all those sharp edges in a fight, what a nightmare. However, we also love the mesh of blue and purple here in this piece, the overall design is striking, and the placement on the arm is really the best place for it. A contender for sure.
Next up we have Aldric, Devourer of Souls, a lord of cinder, and one of the coolest bosses that the series has to offer. In terms of design, Aldric is quite similar to Nito in the sense that both are largely made up of the bones and flesh of the dead. However, Aldric’s design and weapon choice also hark back to Gwyndolin from the original Dark Souls title. This design is heavy blackwork, but the artist does a great job of ensuring that the detail isn’t lost due to the thick areas of black. This tattoo showcases the dark and terrifying nature of Aldric in all its glory and overall, we think it’s a stellar piece of art.
I’m sure you have seen the memes that exist involving Yhorm the Giant where he stands tall, looking down on the warrior below, wielding a sword ten times the size of the knight in question. Well, Dark Souls fans will know that this is more than a meme, this is a truly incredible and memorable boss. He is a Lord of Cinder, wields a unique cleaver and the sheer magnitude of this boss’s attacks can rattle even the most weathered Ashen warriors. There were a lot of Blackwork heavy pieces out there depicting Yhorm but we liked this linework piece due to its simplicity and the fact that this could be a large piece or a smaller piece. Design flexibility is a key factor to consider.
The Nameless King Tattoo
This is one of my favorites on the list, mostly because of the creative design with the pose almost mimicking a bat coiled up and hanging from a cave ceiling, but also because even if you aren’t a Souls fan you can immediately appreciate the beauty of this piece. This one showcases the Nameless King, a dragon-slaying knight, turned dragon tamer and of all the bosses within the Dark Souls series, there are few humanoid bosses that have been quite as imposing as the fella right here. The design is staggeringly good, and the ethereal blue flame, adding a pop of color is just the cherry on top.
Abyss Watchers Tattoo
Dark Souls as a series often has a habit of pairing the player in boss battles against more than one terrifyingly powerful enemy at once. We mentioned Ornstein and Smough above, and the Shadow and Yharnam in Bloodborne would be another great example. Well, DS3’s version of this battle type is in the form of the Abyss Watchers. The trio of warring bodies, exchanging one soul and battling endlessly for eternity until you show up of course, and they find a common enemy. This is a classy blackwork design with hints of red to replicate embers and ash, then there is a nice black slash that frames the piece, making for a cohesive and very attractive overall design.
Soul of Cinder Tattoo
Then lastly, we have perhaps the most detailed and impressive of all designs offered on this list, and it’s only fitting that the subject of this piece is the final boss of DS3, the Lord of Cinder. There are so many things going for this design, the blackwork with the white highlights, the little references like an Estus Flask amongst the flowers, and the classy pop of gold that helps this piece burst off the page. It’s a piece that would only be fitting as a large tattoo, but if you are going to go big, then you might as well aim for something as aesthetically wonderful as this.
Other Souls Games
Then to wrap things up, we want to shine a spotlight on the Souls-like games in the From Software catalog. So here are some standout pieces from games like Bloodborne, Sekiro, and the recent masterpiece, Elden Ring.
Not every Bloodborne player will have encountered this boss, as this is the true final boss that players will only fight if they have acquired three of the four Umbilical Cords present in the game. However, for those that know, the Moon Presence is an epic battle, not because it is particularly difficult, but because the game forces you to go all-out attack and slay this beast while spending a lot of the fight on 1HP. This piece showcases the stature of this behemoth as it shines under the pale moonlight and we also love the mix of dotwork and shading here.
This is the one that I have been eyeing up for some time, as a Playstation fanboy, of all the Souls games, Bloodborne and I have a special connection, and this design captures the creepy, gothic nature of the game in a neat, minimalist design. I love the rendering here of the Lamp checkpoint with the undead souls rising up to meet the light, the little details on the lantern are great, and it just captures the essence of the source material.
Sekiro deserves a bit of love here and we thought that of all the designs out there, none are quite as aesthetically striking and unnerving as the designs which feature the Hannya mask, also seen within the recent AAA title, Ghostwire Tokyo. This one is a little less spooky than the others out there, thanks to the flowers dotted around the piece that offers levity in the form of color, but there is no getting around the scare factor of this design.
If you too are a fellow tarnished who has made their way across the Lands Between and become an Elden Lord in the process, then you too will have a lot of love for FromSoft’s most recent outing. This game is staggeringly good, and if reviews are to be believed, one of the best games of all time. So even just months after release, it’s pretty safe to get a lifelong reminder of this game on your body, and this game logo is as good an option as any.
Then lastly, we have this incredible rendering of Malenia, Blade of Miquella. There are so many bosses of note in Elden Ring, with my personal favorite being the battle with Starscourge Radahn. However, Malenia is a lot of player’s pick of the bunch, and for good reason as she is a relentlessly powerful adversary. This tattoo isn’t perfect as it does get Malenia’s Prosthetic arm mixed up but if you can let this small detail go, you can see the incredible detail, and the dotwork here is about as good as it gets.
Body and (Dark) Soul
As you can see from the ideas we have showcased above, there are so many unique tattoo ideas when it comes to the world of Dark Souls. Whether you are sticking rigidly to the flagship trilogy or branching out into the other titles like Elden Ring, Bloodborne, or Sekiro, there are tonnes of cool pieces of artwork to choose from. It’s a series that has truly changed the landscape of gaming in the last decade, so why wouldn’t you want to honor it with a permanent piece of real estate on your body! We hope that this guide serves as a nudge in the right direction, and as always, thank you for reading RPG Informer.
Question: How Many Dark Souls Games Are There?
Answer: This depends on what you consider a Dark Souls game. If we are talking just those games with Dark Souls in the title, then there are only Dark Souls I, Dark Souls II, and Dark Souls III. However, if we are talking about games that use the Dark Souls formula, you could include games like Bloodborne, Elden Ring, Sekiro, Demons Souls, and Nioh to name a few.
Question: Can You Still Play Dark Souls I?
Answer: Yes, you absolutely can. You can still play on the 7th-gen consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360, or if you want to do things on more modern platforms, you can opt to play Dark Souls Remastered which is the original title with enhanced graphics and quality of life improvements.
Question: What is the Most Accessible Souls Game?
Answer: Of the lot, we would probably say that Elden Ring is the most accessible souls-like game, purely due to the open-world format. However, Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 are also great options too.