Ideas for designing a bear claw tattoo include incorporating tribal design elements, including initials, names or words as part of the tattoo, optimizing the design for placement on a specific body part and incorporating additional symbolic imagery into the design. Some Native American and New Age belief systems attribute important symbolic meanings to bears, and the tattoo designer may wish to work with those concepts when designing a bear claw tattoo.
The tattoo artist can include popular tribal elements, such as bold lines, spikes and swirls, into the bear claw tattoo design. Tribal tattoo designs, which date back to the Bronze Age, are typically monochromatic. However, the tattoo artist may choose to include colorful outlines and other accents in the design.
If the recipient gets the tattoo as a symbol of a loved one or life event, the artist may wish to incorporate names, initials or other text. She can do this by working the text directly into the design outline or placing the text in a ring surrounding the bear claw.
In some belief systems, bears symbolize traits such as strength, courage and leadership, as well as concepts such as healing and solitude. The tattoo artist may want to keep these ideas in mind and incorporate additional symbolism into the bear claw design. The artist should also design the image with body placement in mind. For example, a large, detailed claw design is ideal for an upper arm or chest, while a smaller, simpler claw may better suit the recipient's wrist or neck.