Looking for some Alice in Wonderland tattoo inspiration? Don’t miss our collection of some of the most amazing body art inspired by the famous book!
Among literature-inspired tattoo designs, none are as popular as Alice in Wonderland tattoos.
Even with their popularity, Alice in Wonderland inspired tattoos are still quirky, fun, and highly original.
Written in 1865 by Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a novel that has captured the hearts and minds of entire generations all over the world.
In this article, we’re going to explore the main types of Alice in Wonderland designs. Don’t forget to check out the gallery below for even more inspiration!
Alice in Wonderland tattoo ideas
If you have a favorite character in Alice’s story, getting a tattoo that depicts them could be the perfect way to express it.
The major characters – and therefore most popular tattoo subjects – are:
- Alice – as the protagonist, Alice understandably makes the most amount of appearances in tattoo designs. To create your Alice design, you could draw on illustrations, depictions from adaptations, or your own imagination and understanding of the character. In the book, she is described as having shoulder-length blonde hair and blue eyes, and – in a fashion appropriate to the period – wearing a Victorian-style dress.
- Cheshire Cat – a Cheshire Cat tattoo design implies a mischievous nature. He’s distinguished by his large eyes, impish attitude, and large grin. As we’ll touch on later, the most popular reference for Cheshire Cat tattoo designs is the CGI version of the character from the 2010 film adaptation. Check out this post for more cat tattoos.
- The Hatter – another immediately recognizable character from Carroll’s novel, the Hatter was famously portrayed by Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s adaptation of the book. Although he’s never actually referred to in this way in the book, most people know him as the ‘Mad Hatter’. Mad hatter tattoo designs most often include a crazy-looking man wearing a top hat with a hatband reading ‘In this style 10/6’, as he is described in the book. The inscription on the hat is a reference to the price of the hat – ten shillings and sixpence.
- The White Rabbit – in the story, Alice arrives in Wonderland after following the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole. Both of these elements have become something of a trope in literature and film – consider, for instance, the reference to the White Rabbit in the Matrix. White Rabbit tattoos will depict – as you might expect – a white rabbit, dressed in a Victorian-style vest and holding a pocket watch.
- The March Hare – Alice in Wonderland rabbit tattoos sometimes feature the March Hare instead – the Mad Hatter’s companion, equally disturbed and strange. The March Hare is distinguished from the White Rabbit by his darker fur and disheveled appearance.
Instead of directly depicting characters from the novel, many Alice in Wonderland tattoo designs focus on indirect meaning.
Using symbols and less-known references from the book can be a great way to convey the significance of the book.
Bottles with ‘Drink me’ labels are a common choice of symbolic designs, as are rabbit holes, playing cards, hats, and the eyes and grin of the Cheshire cat.
One of the main reasons why Carroll’s novel is so popular is the depth of meaning behind seemingly simple statements.
The light-hearted, sometimes slightly absurd dialogue is understood by many to hold a deeper truth.
Consider these famous sentences from the novel:
- ‘It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’
- ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle.’
- ‘Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’
Many Alice in Wonderland tattoos feature quotes from the book. The words can be included as elements of a larger design, or make a great writing tattoo on their own.
When including text in a tattoo, as a main or accompanying element, it’s important to pick the right font.
Choosing the appropriate look to the text will ensure it fits in well with the rest of the design and compliments it well.
Cursive and handwritten fonts are among the most popular choices for tattoos. They are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to work into most designs.
Illustrations and visual adaptations
The first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published with 42 wood-engraved illustrations by John Tenniel.
These images, reprinted countless times in future editions, have done much to shape the way in which we imagine the characters and world of the novel.
Some Alice-themed tattoos take these illustrations as a starting point or reference, too, often adding color and other elements such as text or a more modern style.
Over the years, there have been several adaptations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and of the novel’s sequel, Through the Looking Glass.
Many Alice in Wonderland tattoo designs are inspired by the visuals in these adaptations, including:
- Disney’s Alice in Wonderland – the animated 1951 classic has been the source for a large proportion of adaptation-inspired Alice tattoos. Created in a style typical for Disney in this period, the movie features classic drawings and animations. When used as tattoos, these images become what’s known as the traditional style of tattooing: bright, solid colors, a cartoon-like look, little to no shading, and a gentle dark outline.
- Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010) – the hugely successful film features the unmistakable style of the director, with crazy visuals and exaggerated characters.
The CGI rendition of the Cheshire Cat, in particular, is a popular theme for Alice in Wonderland themed designs and makes for impressive 3D tattoos.
- American McGee’s Alice – the video game released in the year 2000 and its 2011 sequel Alice: Madness Returns presents a darker view of the story, taking plenty of liberties in its interpretation of the novel. Falling into the psychological horror genre, the games’ visuals are on the more disturbing side, making them the perfect inspiration for more sinister-looking Alice-themed tattoos.
Interpretations of the novel vary in perspective and outlook. Some view the book as simply a celebration of a child’s wild imagination.
Others believe there is a darker symbolism in the text, often with psychological undertones, suggesting the story is a re-telling of reality through the mind of a mentally disturbed person.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for Alice in Wonderland tattoos, you likely have a personal connection with the story.
It’s what it means to you that matters most, and that’s what should guide you when picking an Alice in Wonderland themed tattoo design.