The Art of Motion: Moving Tattoos That Breathe Life Into Ink

By Israel O

You are probably familiar with the classic, 3d, white, red, and discreet tattoo styles that are common. But have you ever heard of the concept of moving tattoos? They are different from typical tattoos and are considered a unique art form. The truth is, these tattoos aren’t exactly moving. They’re simply displaying different angles of the same tattoo when the body is in motion.

The trick is tattoo artists ink people’s bodies in areas like their biceps, thighs, knees, and wrists to make the drawing appear to be changing in size or shape depending on any slight body movement around the area. This seems hard to conceptualize, right? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Down below are fantastic images of people with the most impressive moving tattoos we’ve ever seen. 

The Angler Fish

The Angler fish is a bony fish named for its nature of predation and attack. Although they appear to be very hostile, this fish breed is harmless to humans as they are too small to cause any major damage.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@menacetattoo 

This moving tattoo is incredibly creative. In the first picture, the fish with its dangling appendage looks slightly calm, and in the second image, where the lady is standing, we see the full extent of those hard and sharp teeth. Awesome right? 

Catch Me When I Fall

This is another creative moving tattoo where both genders appear to be in a falling position. In the first image, it looks like the guy is falling while the lady is right behind him to catch him. It’s like a tattoo representation of a promise between lovers. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@leorprice 

The second image looks almost the same, except this time, she has finally caught up with him. We can tell this tattoo holds a lot of meaning to the owner. The random circle is distracting, but we’re sure it’s part of the story. 

Original Pac-Man Is Better

If you are a Japanese video game franchise fan, then you must be familiar with Pac-Man, and we clearly understand the obsession with the game. This moving tattoo is awesome with its mouth opening and closing depending on the owner’s hand movements. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@inked.aura

However, for the fans who would go crazy over the tattoo representation of their favorite game, we must admit that this is a little subpar compared to the original Pac-man. But then again, it’s a tattoo, which means you can do whatever you want.


This is a badass tattoo of an open-mouthed shark on the back of the arm, encircling the elbow perfectly. The tattoo is slightly simple, but it sports quite a few details like the teeth and the jaw to compliment its simplicity. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@knoteyetattoo

The tattoo doesn’t change much because it is not in a bendy area like the thighs and the arm. We wonder how much pain this person had to suffer through just to have a shark bite on the elbow. It must have hurt like hell.

The Story Of The Bolt Cutter 

Well, everybody has the right to get a permanent piece of art on their body as long as they are cool with it. But, we’d like to hear the story of why this man decided to get a bolt cutter on his leg.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@auto_k

An aesthetically cool tattoo of a bolt cutter that opens wide as he spreads his legs. This person had to shave his leg hair to get the tattoo because it looks super fresh. We bet it wouldn’t be visible with all that hair. Please don’t cut your knee.

The City Of Warsaw

Semper Invicta is Latin, and it stands for “always undefeated.” It is the motto of the city of Warsaw. Warsaw is found in Poland, and this tattoo depicts the coat of arms of the city of Warsaw. The artist did a beautiful job.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@roselinebucher

The mermaid is a guardian of the storm for fishermen, and although the tattoo does not change much from its original position, we can see the movement of its tails. Just like how a fish flaps its tails, the mermaid appears to be doing the same.

Black Beetle Wings

This is a very creative design of a beetle on the human body. We have to commend the artist for the tiny details in those wings and also the legs. It’s a very clever and exquisite work of body art. Biology major will love this one!

Image courtesy of Instagram/@evils

The way the wings open up when she straightens her arm is topnotch, and we just have to applaud the artist for his level of precision. We highly recommend this design but make sure to get it from a professional.

The Bowing Kimono Lady

This tattoo is of a Japanese lady with her full traditional attire, a kimono, and the obi around her waist. This tattoo is very neat, clear, and shows a respectful lady displaying her culture. It symbolizes longevity and good fortune.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@spottommy 

Although the kimono lady is an incredible art and most people have this tattoo, the only slight problem is that the Japanese don’t hold their hands like that when they bow. But still, respect is all we see when she bends her leg.

Jumping Stickman

This is our favorite so far. Here’s the cutest little tattoo ever! A stickman is having the time of his life on the trampoline. If he opens and closes his hands a little, it seems like the stickman is jumping on the trampoline.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@shezeepeezee 

If you ever decide to get this, we will highly recommend it. Here is an easy way to relieve stress by opening and closing your hands to play with your buddy all day. It’s very simple yet perfect, don’t you agree?

Walking Dinosaur Skeleton

Here is the skeleton of a brachiosaurus dinosaur. These creatures were said to be alive millions of years ago in some parts of the world. Birds are sometimes often referred to as the only direct descendant of these creatures.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@wildpoppytattoo 

A closer look at this tattoo looks like two humans cosplaying a dinosaur. Kudos to the tattoo artist for the details. It almost looks like it’s walking and stretching its neck with those arm movements. At night, this would look scary.

Jaw-Dropping Skull

We are unsure what animal jaw this is, probably a Modern American Alligator or a crocodile, or what exactly this artist was trying to achieve. But either way, this tattoo is very clever and sits pretty on the wrist.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@lili.wonderful 

Here is a skull opening its jaw. This is the literal definition of jaw-dropping. The owner of the tattoo probably might have some sentimental reason for this particular tattoo and on that part of the body too. We’ll never know. 

Get An Easy Coffee

Need a coffee jug and a coffee pot? There is no need to think too far. You can just tattoo a coffee or both of them on your leg. The precision of the pot is excellent, and this moving tattoo looks even better when standing.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@jasmyneengland

This man must love coffee so much he decided to get a tattoo of it. The detailing is incredible, too. When he’s sitting, the pot appears to be pouring the coffee slowly, but when he stands, it’s pouring it all full force. Incredible!

Iconic But-artfly 

Here’s a truly iconic piece of art, and it looks amazing. When you flex your biceps, it looks like an ordinary butterfly flapping its wings, but with straightened hands, the butterfly seems to be getting eaten by a red Dragon. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@gw30kam

The additional dragon drawing is proof there’s more to this drawing than meets the eye. Why else would a dragon go after a butterfly? Regardless, it’s a beautiful tattoo with a very curious meaning. Maybe one day we’ll find out. 

Jurassic World Dinosaur 

This is a brachiosaurus, which is a type of dinosaur that lived during the last Jurassic period, about 154 million years ago. If you’ve seen at least one of the Jurassic World films, then surely you must have seen this particular dinosaur. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@toughlovetattoostudio

This is an awesome moving tattoo on this guy’s bicep. It looks like the dinosaur is leaning forward in the first picture to eat or grab something on the floor. In the second image, it’s raising its head up. Amazing!

The Sun And The Moon

This is a very artistic description of a moon and a shiny sun. However, one could also call it an eye, depending on how one’s perspective. The first image where the man is squatting looks like a shiny sun with a hole.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@veksvanhilliktattoo

In the second image where he’s standing, we can see a smiling crescent moon. The details are fascinating, and the facial representation is fantastic. It even has creases on the forehead and jaw. But we wonder where those dark stairs lead to. Creepy, right? 

Open And Close Slip Joint Knife

This is a tattoo of a slip joint knife. We get why people still love these classic knives even though they’ve been around for decades. It’s probably because they are good starter knives and can serve as a sense of security in places where they’re legal.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@eldersigntattoo 

There’s a huge chance this person might belong to a cult, but we can’t be quick to downplay the skills of the artist. When you raise your arms, it seems like the knife is closing. When you stretch it out, it opens up completely.

Never Have We Ever

We’ve seen pretty great tattoos, but we can’t always recognize every single one of them. We’re not sure what animal this is, but it does have the face of a dog, the body of a dragon, and is holding what appears to be a key. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@randatattoo

Is this a sea horse or some sort of Norse symbol that symbolizes the Viking compass, which means way-finder? Or a divine Norse symbol for protection and victory? Whatever this is, we most definitely have never seen anything like it. 

The Chainsaw Man 

If you’re a fan of Japanese anime and manga series, then you most likely have heard of the Chainsaw Man – a manga about different types of devils. This image vaguely reminds us of the Fox Devil, the head of which is summoned to bite things.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@veksvanhilliktattoo 

It could also be the six-eyed wolf. Regardless of what this is, the details and aesthetics are 100% breathtaking. How the mouth opens up when she stands and closes when she squats is something we would be in a hurry to forget.

Creepy Moth

This is one creepy-looking tattoo of a moth that opens up its wings in an erect position and closes up when bending. The whole point was to make it creepy and beautiful simultaneously. If you run out of ideas, we suggest this. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@veksvanhilliktattoo

When you look hard at this image, you get the feeling the moth is looking directly at you and watching you. A very magnificent tattoo, but we wonder why they didn’t add the white dot to both sides to make it symmetrical.

Colorful Ladybug

Cheers to another detailed tattoo. This one is a ladybug drawn around the elbow area.  The bug closes its colorful red wings when the man contracts his muscles and spreads its wings when the muscle is relaxed. Nice work! 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@winniethejroo

We love the helping hands and how they both compliment each other, but a closer look at the second image looks as if the arm had been slightly cut off to accommodate this design. Don’t think too much of this. It’s a joke.

Gin And Lime

Tattoos can hold sentimental meanings, but sometimes, people get them for funny and unthinkable reasons, and maybe this is one of them. A tattoo of a cut lime? We wonder how many glasses of tequila were consumed to consider this green lime tattoo.

Image courtesy of Reddit/TastyMalort

The only difference in this moving tattoo is when the muscles are contracted, it looks like a half-cut lime, and it appears bigger. Whatever the reason for this tat, we can’t find the juice. We all know that gin and lime are inseparable.

Blood Sucking – Lips Biting

A tattoo of a vampire’s lips and teeth with blood dripping from the lips. Heck, why not?! The first image of the tattoo on the antecubital fossa shows a very detailed mouth, but when it closes, it looks like they are biting their lips.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@diddy_be_inked

It’s an incredibly moving tattoo, but the only problem is that there’s too much going around, and it’s kind of difficult to focus on this piece of art without getting distracted by the fiery dice and the skull that sits directly beside it.

Once Again- Awesome!

Here is another wonderful representation of a moving tattoo of a bug. We sometimes wonder how these artists find inspiration and execute it with such precision when it comes to body art. We’ll never know.  But once again – awesome!

Image courtesy of Instagram/@menacetattoo

The beetle spreads its wings when the arm is stretched, and its beautiful wings and lower body parts come into display. If you ever care to get an amazing moving tattoo, then you should be thinking about something like this.

Bee Or Housefly

Yet another beautiful tattoo of an insect we can’t quite identify, but that might be the whole point. Some artists create their own animals by combining features of different animals together. This could very well be the case here. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@manu_vdtr

Regardless of the identity of this insect, there is no doubt it is well drawn. When she closes her arms, the wings appear to be folded. When she stretches her arms, the insects’ wings are opened up and ready for takeoff.

Lady Bug Learns To Fly

The three steps to learning how to fly. Get your ladybug wings perfectly in place, spread them a bit, then spread those wings very wide and take flight while allowing the wind to direct you. It must be super easy, right?

Image courtesy of Instagram/@aybeshim

This tattoo artist has shown us exactly how a bug spreads its wings and flies. When you contract your hands, the wings are closed, hands akimbo, and it spreads slightly, stretching your hands out fully opens up the wings.

Fish Tattoo With A Staircase 

Another tattoo of a fish on the leg. We’ve seen quite a few, but this one has far more details and looks more perfect. The level of creativity on this fish tattoo is top notch and the open and close technique is impeccable. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@veksvanhilliktattoo

The medieval staircase in the belly of the fish that leads to nowhere is a little puzzling. But, who knows? It definitely holds a personal meaning to the recipient. Aside from that, this is a totally cool tattoo. Awesome skill!

The Vampire’s Bite

Ever wondered what a vampire’s bite feels like? Well, you are not alone. A lot of us have, but there’s no need to think long and hard about it anymore. All you need to do is get a tattoo of a vampire’s jaw on your arm. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@jemmaleetattoo

Gently close your arm, and there –  the tattoo would make you feel as if vampire teeth are indeed closing in on your skin. It’s an awesome idea for an amazing tattoo. The tongue is missing, but it’s still an extremely incredible tattoo.

Life And Death 

Here’s another tattoo of a bug on the inner part of the elbow. An additional symmetrical colorful wing was added to this tattoo. Aside from the fact that these wings open and close with the movement of your hands, there’s a woman’s face on them. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@anthonyelectric

The woman’s face represents youthfulness and beauty. But beneath that beauty is a skull face that serves as the insect’s abdomen. If this is not a highly intelligent portrayal of life and death, then we don’t know what is.

Moving Beetle

Now is the time for the beetles to shine. Although there aren’t distinctive changes in the beetle, the legs look different. In the first image, the legs are straight, while in the second, the legs are bent, making the beetle come alive.

Image courtesy of Instagram/@shawtattooer

Even though we don’t know what species this is, we can simply talk about three things here – Art, the structure of the beetle, and artistic prowess. This person must have a valid enough reason for tattooing a whole colorful beetle on their legs.

Artistic Toad Tattoo

Is this your first time seeing someone tattoo a toad on their body? Well, happy new year. When he folds his arms, it looks like the toad’s mouth is closed. However, when he opens it, you can see it eating something. This is why they’re called moving tattoos. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@veksvanhilliktattoo 

Toads are high-flying creatures with excellent jumping abilities. Every tattoo has its meaning, and only the bearer is aware of that meaning. This toad drawing could be a mark of a group, organization, or simply just a beautiful drawing.

Groot Octopus 

Octopus is a soft-bodied eight-limb Mollusca sea animal with three hearts and blue blood. This is an intellectual moving tattoo on this man’s body. With him standing still and straight, it looks like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. Do you see it?

Image courtesy of veksvanhilliktattoo / Instagram

However, when he folds his legs, the image of the octopus comes to life. Octopuses are highly intelligent sea animals, and this is why they can be very difficult to catch. They’re persistent and will not go down without a fight.

Spread The Butterfly Wings

We wonder why everyone loves butterflies. Apart from the fact that they’re beautiful creatures, butterflies represent new beginnings and give hope to what the future hold. They sometimes describe a passionate and romantic love among lovers. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@veksvanhilliktattoo 

This is a butterfly that comes alive when the man’s arms are folded. When his arms are straight and stretched out, it looks like one of those scary creatures from scooby doo. But, it is still a beautiful piece of work.

Magnifique Art

This is one very scary butterfly. With his legs straightened out, it looks like a butterfly with four huge bulgy human eyes on its wings staring into your soul. A little bit scary, if we’re being honest. You need to be bold to sport something like this!

Image courtesy of Instagram/@veksvanhilliktattoo 

However, when his legs are folded, it looks like a butterfly that has just folded its wings. But when he stands straight, it looks like the butterfly has spread its wings and is ready to take flight. Kudos to the tattoo artist, Magnifique! 

Running Reptile

This is an image of a reptile that lived millions of years ago. We might be overthinking it, but we’re sure this young man is a hardcore fan of Jurassic World. His love for reptiles is beautifully drawn on his back. 

Image courtesy of Reddit/@hopkinz 

With his arms resting on his body, the reptile’s mouth seems closed, but when he stretches his arms, it seems like he’s hungry, moving ferociously, and about to attack. It might only be imagined, but it’s almost as if we can hear the beast’s roar.

Deer Horns

From the horn, it’s clear that this is the skull of a deer. With the way its mouth is closed in the first image and opened when he straightens his hand, we can conclude that this is a moving tattoo. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@veksvanhilliktattoo

The reason for tattooing this deer skull tattoo is known only by its recipient. However, it is a dark representation of the animal, so if you’re into dark and scary stuff, this might just be the one for you. Dark yet beautiful! 

Fish Food

This is a beautiful tattoo that captures the exact moment a small bony fish gets eaten. This happens all the time in the sea—the strong and large fish prey on the small and weakest ones. Do not mess with this person. He might eat you alive. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@snowlin_ink

As you can see, when he opens his hand, the shark’s jaw is wide open and ready to pounce on the small bony fish with its very sharp teeth. When he closes it, it looks like the shark just swallowed the small bony fish in its belly.

Some Art Indeed!

Since we don’t know the identity of this animal, we’re simply going to focus on the details of the art. We’ve never seen an insect with very sharp long teeth, so maybe help us out a little. Nonetheless, it’s a creative tattoo. 

Image courtesy of Instagram/@veksvanhilliktattoo

The first image shows the animal looking meek and rather timid, but when the man straightens his hand it’s almost as if a small monster has been unleashed when those sharp teeth are revealed with a completely hostile expression.