Since the begging of his conception in J.M. Barrie’s wonderful play, Peter and Wendy, Peter Pan has been a heavily symbolic and popular character. Even before the Walt Disney Company featured the character in their theme parks and films, Pan was one of the most well-known creations in the Western world!
Nowadays, Peter Pan and his friends like Tinker Bell, Wendy, and Tiger Lily all make great tattoos. They symbolize youth, fun, and adventure.
Let’s take a closer look at Peter Pan tattoos: history, meanings ; designs!
What is the History of Peter Pan Tattoos?
Peter Pan tattoos wouldn’t be possible without the boy himself. In order to understand the popularity of this character, or indeed, the franchise he is associated with, as the subject of tattoos, it’s a good idea to understand Peter Pan’s history.
Peter Pan was the name of the title character in a Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie’s risky play, though he actually thought up the character for a novel called The Little White Bird in 1902.
When the play debuted in 1904, is was a smash success, and the characters and story have been flying into hearts of viewers ever since. It was about a boy who refused to grow up, and instead chose to live in Never Land, where he could fly and battle the nefarious Captain Hook without anyone telling him what to do.
The play had deeper themes dealing with selfishness, the sacrifice that comes with maturing and thinking more of others than yourself, and the wistful longing for eternal youth and nostalgic adventures during childhood.
The romance between Peter and Wendy, and the sad fact that his refusal to age means they can never get married, is another beloved theme. It is also compared to the way that Tinker Bell, Peter’s fairy sidekick, is in love with him despite his obliviousness, and Tiger Lily, a girl Peter rescues, also can’t manage to win his affections!
In 1953, the Walt Disney Animation Studio created a film based on Peter Pan that took the flying boy’s popularity to new heights and established an iconic look for the title character, including an all-green outfit and feathered cap.
It was the Disney adaptation of the story that reminded viewers of another prominent element in the tale: to fly, the children must have faith, trust, and magical pixie dust!
All of these elements inspire some fantastic tattoos, featuring not only the iconic Disney imagery, but sometimes the poignant words of J.M. Barrie’s original play.
What Do Peter Pan Tattoos Symbolize?
The tattoos of Barrie’s iconic characters are chock full of symbolism! Check out the list below to see what kinds of tattoos the story of Peter and friends lend themselves to, symbolically:
- Forever Young
Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements to see how a Peter Pan Tattoo might symbolize them.
One of the iconic lines from Barrie’s original script which was made even more popular by the Walt Disney movie of the same name is: “All you need is faith, trust, and a little pixie dust!”
The idea that comes along with the high-flying characters featured in tattoos is that faith will give you wings. Faith gives not only Peter, but the human children Wendy, John, and Michael the ability to fly. In the story, if they stop thinking happy thoughts, they become stuck on the ground.
Therefore, tattoos with Peter, Wendy, or even Tinker Bell are hard to find unless they carry at least some symbolic references to the importance of faith!
Perhaps one of the easiest symbols to understand when it comes to seeing any tattoo of Peter Pan is the idea of staying forever young! Peter is known for refusing to grow up. Aging can be hard, and there are plenty of unpleasant things about getting older.
However, the story of Peter reminds anyone who reads it, and anyone who wears a tattoo that features him, that staying forever young is more about being young at heart!
Even if your Pan tattoo doesn’t carry weightier symbols like faith and mortality, it can certainly carry symbols of mischief! Whether he’s playing a prank on pirates or getting pranked by his own shadow, Peter is a magnet for mischief. Tattoos that have something to do with Peter will undoubtedly symbolize the impish desire to misbehave and have some fun at the same time!
One of the most prominent things that Peter and his friends can symbolize is the idea of romance; especially unrequited love! Peter has three characters who are desperately in love with him: Wendy, Tinker Bell, and Tiger Lily.
Even though it’s clear that Peter loves Wendy back, rushing to save her from danger, he can’t grow up, and she must return home to her family at the end of the story.
What Do Peter Pan Tattoos Mean?
Peter Pan tattoos typically mean a variety of things. Check out the list below for popular tattoo meanings when it comes to Disney and J.M. Barrie’s iconic story!
- Peter Pan Fans – If you love this tale of swashbuckling pirates and flying kids and fairies, a tattoo is a great way to show it. Sometimes, a tattoo with Pan involved doesn’t mean anything more than the wearer’s love for the story!
- Escapism – Escapism is a term which means to get away from the hardships of the world. Sometimes this can look like a vacation, and sometimes it can look like getting a tattoo of a boy who would rather live in Never Land than grow up and pay taxes.
- Faith – Faith is a prominent theme in the story, and tattoos often symbolize having faith. In the case of Pan-related tattoos, it doesn’t matter if you’ve inked yourself with a picture of Peter himself or simply the words “faith, trust, and pixie dust.” Peter Pan tattoos are known for meaning faith is important!
Characteristics and Styles of Peter Pan Tattoos
Peter Pan tattoos come in so many different styles because the story is old enough to have many different adaptations. For example, some tattoos are simply lineart of Peter’s iconic pointed hat and feather. Even without color, this tattoo is easily recognizable and simple.
On the other hand, more complex, fully-colored and large tattoos are just as common when it comes to Peter and friends. Thanks to several movie versions of the story featuring prominent actors like Robin Williams, sometimes more detail and color in a tattoo are needed if you want to prove which Pan film is your favorite.
It is also very common to find tattoos of iconic lines from the story, like, “think happy thoughts,” or “fly with me,” or even “come away to Never Land!”
All of the above examples can come in varying styles. Because of the fantastic setting of the story, sometimes tattoos can be very flamboyant and include pirate ships and clock towers and alligators. Yet, because of the heavy symbolism, Pan tattoos are just as prone to simple shapes and silhouettes.
Characters like sassy Tinker Bell, daydreaming Wendy, scheming Hook, and of course, Peter himself, are the most common type of Pan tattoo.
Where Do Peter Pan Tattoos Usually Go?
Thanks to their huge range of style and characteristics, Peter Pan tattoos can go just about anywhere on the body. However, according to online examples, the most common tattoo is found on the wrist or ankle. A popular choice is an anklet of simple flying children shapes, or a wrist tattoo of the title character.
Peter Pan tattoos can be found anywhere on the human body but are most common around the ankles and wrists. They come in a variety of styles and characteristics, from simple black lineart, to text quotes from the story, to fully colored, detailed illustrations. These tattoos symbolize eternal youth, mischief, and romance!