Africa is an enormous continent with the second largest population in the world. Divided into 54 countries, there are numerous diverse cultures that exist that cannot be aggregated into one concise concept. There are several designs that derive from Africa such as animals, flags, patterns, and more generally the outline of the continent itself.
Traditional African tattoos are exclusive to each culture that practices tattooing as an art, though tattooing is not historically a widely practiced art. In most cultures, scarification is used to create a pattern of dashes and lines on the skin. This can be mimicked with tattooing to create the same type of pattern, although the African cultural practices should be done in a respectable way.
Images of the Sahara desert, found stretching across Northern Africa, are a clear symbol of the continent and its ancient roots. The desert palms as part of an oasis amongst the sand dunes is a representation of the arid land and instantly brings to mind the vast African Sahara. This can be encased in the outline of the continent, symbolizing a love of or affiliation with the culture and peoples who live there. African wild dogs, serpents, and lizards are typical to the area and can be included in designs as well.
The African savanna plains and the Serengeti in Tanzania and Kenya provide more recognizable terrain that symbolizes the continent. The grasslands and woodlands of this plain is symbolic of Africa, especially when paired with animals native to the area. Lions, elephants, wildebeests, zebras, buffalo, and birds are included to highlight the incredible animal migration that occurs in the Serengeti every year. A vivid sunrise or sunset with the silhouette of any or all of these animals in the foreground is a representation of the natural beauty of Africa.
African women from various cultures are also used as a symbol of natural beauty, often pictured wearing traditional clothing including headdresses and jewelry. Traditional fabric patterns are included as well such as the vibrant blues and yellows of Ghana’s Ashanti Kente weave, the varied and bright patterns of the kanga dresses and wraps worn by cultures around the African Great Lakes, or the West African dashikis.