Body ink is about self-expression, and the symbolism of the phoenix tattoo reflects that person's belief in new beginnings. It's about intentional destruction not to force an end, but to give rise to a new beginning.
As as the mythical fire bird can never have too many feathers or flames from which it rises, phoenix tattoos lend themselves particularly well to building, gradually adding more detail as time goes on; it's also the reason phoenix tattoo sleeves are so popular.
Phoenix tattoo designs often feature a scaley body, like that of a dragon, with elegantly long, exotic wings, sometimes with a few stray feathers resembling a peacock's. Phoenix tattoos usually feature a sharp beak and talons, like a bird of prey, yet they have the physique of a bird of paradise. While some phoenix tattoo colors are heavy on red and orange, to represent fire, others are rich in royal blues and purples, while some are vibrant mixtures; others are just black outlines.
While they're all focused on the same dragon-like bird rising from the flames, these pictures of phoenix tattoo designs differ greatly in their appearance, location and, no doubt, meaning to the person whose body the phoenix tattoo is inked on.
This gallery of phoenix tattoo pictures focuses mainly on oversized fire bird tattoos, proving just how strongly this symbol speaks to some people.