Doc Holliday Tattoo

I think we all know by now that Val Kilmer portrayed Doc Holliday in the 1993 movie Tombstone. The movie helped revamp his image as a cool, quick-witted gunslinger who stood up to the feared outlaw Johnny Ringo. Doc Holliday is now remembered as one of the most famous Wild West gunfighters, apart from Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid.

As the character evolved in popular culture, he is now remembered as a loyal friend to the Earp family and as one who stood up to injustice. Getting a Doc Holliday tattoo may be your way of connecting personally with this quick-tempered gunslinger. 

The Doc Holliday tattoos have become popular among men and women, but the design is usually very different between the sexes. Let's take a look at 10 cool Doc Holliday tattoo designs.

Doc Holliday Tattoos 1-4

1. Here's a nice example of a silhouette of Doc Holliday, most likely taken from the movie Tombstone and actor Val Kilmer.

ryan of @tattoofartbox22

2. Colorful example of a Doc Holliday tattoo by Dave Paulo. Also depicting Kilmer.

Doc Holliday tattoo by Dave Paulo

3. Portrait tattoo of the actual historic Doc Holliday - or is it? In monocolor, the name of John Holliday and birth/death years added.

Mideon | Tattoo: Doc Holliday portrait

4. Portrait in color of Doc Holliday. Included is the quote:

"I'm Your Huckleberry".

I'm Your Huckleberry by Tim Pangburn

Reasons for getting a Doc Holliday Tattoo

Out of the many characters with a connection to Tombstone, Arizona, Doc Holliday may be the most iconic of them all. Because of his legendary appeal, and very possibly because of the devil-may-care acting prowess of Val Kilmer portraying the Doc in the movie from 1993, he’s been a popular tattoo subject over the years.

The tattoos that people choose mainly fall into two specific categories - either depicting actor Val Kilmer portraying Doc Holliday in the movie, or a photo of the actual Holliday taken from historic records.

Then there will often be an accompanying quote, and this is almost always from the film.


Doc Holliday Tattoos 5-6

5. Pretty cool likeness of Val Kilmer as the Doc on the hand of a girl his son met.

Val Kilmer's Facebook Page

6. Another colorful tattoo, with graffiti added to the face of Holliday. Note the quote "I'm Your Huckleberry".

Modern Hip Hop Style, by Mashkow Tattoo

Popular Doc Holliday Quotes from the movie Tombstone

You’re a daisy if ya do.

I’m your Huckleberry.

My hypocrisy goes only so far.

There’s no normal life, there’s just life. Now get on with it.

In vino veritas.

I have two guns, one for each of you.

I’m dying, how are you?

Doc Holliday Tattoos 7-10

7. This more realistic portrait is of the actual historic person Doc Holliday.

Realistic real Doc Holliday, by Jerod Ray

8. Another portrait of Val Kilmer as the Doc, here with one of his signature latin quotes:

In Pace Requiescat

Which translates into "rest in peace" or "may he rest in peace". This is said to Johnny Ringo as they meet over a Faro table in Tombstone, according to the movie.

Doc Holliday portrait by @scott_updike

9. You can always go for just a quote, a gun and some playing cards as well. You can't really go wrong with "I'm Your Huckleberry" after all!

I'm Your Huckleberry | Gun and Aces

10. Very clean silhouette of Val Kilmer portraying Holliday in the 1993 movie, brandishing two guns and daring a cowboy to shoot him.

You're a daisy if ya do.


Historical accuracy

An interesting little factoid: those who go for historical accuracy in their tattoo may be in for a surprise. A photo long attributed as being of Doc Holliday doesn’t actually depict him at all! The guy commonly used in this tattoo is John Escapule, an early settler of Tombstone from France and the ancestor of current (as of 2021) Tombstone mayor Dusty Escapule.

Lots of people mistake John Escapule for Doc Holliday.American Stock/Getty Images. Lots of people mistake John Escapule for Doc Holliday.

It's no wonder they get mistaken since they lived in the same town at the same time, and do kind of resemble each other.

What Might Motivate Someone to Get a Doc Holliday Tattoo

There are a lot of reasons someone would want to get a Doc Holliday tattoo. He was a man who lived life his way, and that alone is something people can look up to. The following list describes seven things that motivate people to get a Doc Holliday tattoo.

1. History

Doc Holliday's history has fascinated people for years. His life was an inspiration to many other characters in Westerns and among the ranks of gangsters, even today. The way Doc lived his life, whether people agree with it or not, is something that motivates them to get a tattoo of this historical man who has inspired so many.

2. Acting, Movies, and Novels

The character Doc Holliday has been portrayed by some actors in Western films and TV shows. A few notable ones are Val Kilmer from the 1993 film Tombstone, Dennis Quaid from 1994's Wyatt Earp, and Kevin Costner from 1994's Wyatt Earp. These films and shows have helped influence fans of Doc Holliday to get tattoos of the historical man they idolize.

3. Respect

For those who admire his moxie and 'go against the grain' attitude, it's easy to see why someone would want a tattoo as a testament to this historical figure and his impact on their lives. Not many men are as respected as Doc Holliday was in his time. Having a tattoo helps someone remember the impact this man left on people who admired him.

4. Fandom

Doc Holliday tattoos are not just for those who admire the historical figure. They're also for fans of Westerns and Western films. Tombstone is one of the most popular Western films, and Doc Holliday is one of the main reasons it's so popular. Fans of this film want to show their love for Doc and how he inspired them.

5. Love

Like any good Western figure, Doc was an attractive man with a rough exterior but a heart of gold. He was married briefly to a woman named Kate, who he loved very much. Even though they were not together long, their love story motivates many people to get tattoos of him as a tribute to her.

6. The beauty of the West

The Old West is seen by many as beautiful and fascinating. Doc Holliday himself was an icon of the Old West. For those who admire the beauty of this period, having a tattoo of someone as influential as Doc Holliday is a way to show that pride.

7. The Way Someone Lives Their Life

Doc Holliday lived his life as he wanted to live it. He was not afraid of anything and did what made him happy. A lot of people admire this about him and are inspired by it. For these people, Doc Holliday's tattoos symbolize the impact he had on their lives.

Whether someone admires Doc Holliday for his historical background, acting in Western films, or because of his moxie in living life his way, there are many reasons to get a tattoo in honor of the man.

How to Select a Doc Holliday Image or a Quote That Matches Your Personality

People who want Doc Holliday tattoos can choose from a wide variety of images of the man. Some are based on real pictures taken during his lifetime, while others are more recent depictions intended to capture the public's imagination.

While there may be many different stylistic ways to approach creating tattoos of this historical figure, it is important that any tattoo chosen by someone holds special significance for them—or at least reflects their personality somehow. Here are seven different ways people might find a Doc Holliday tattoo design that is meaningful to them.

Finding a Suitable Image from Doc's Life

People might go about finding a tattoo of Doc Holliday to find an accurate picture of him and use that as the basis for their design. A person could either search online or ask around at local tattoo parlors to see if anyone has a print or poster depicting one of Holliday's actual photos from his lifetime. They can even try asking other collectors who might have a copy hanging in their homes.

People looking for a real-life image should know that not all images of the man were taken while he was alive—so they need to choose carefully! After all, there are many published photographs of Holliday, but some show him much older than he was when he died. Others depict him as a clean-shaven man, and some show him wearing modern clothing (such as suits) rather than the signature fringed cowgirl attire of his day.

If people want to make sure they choose a historically accurate image, they should consider looking for one taken before 1887; after all, Doc lived for another ten years after this date, and any such photos would likely be inaccurate depictions of how he normally looked back then.

Getting Inspiration from Doc's Own Words

Another way people might approach getting a tattoo of Doc Holliday is by using either words or sayings of his as inspiration for their design. This can involve choosing a quote from one of his letters or a historical account of something he said. Of course, it does help if the quote or saying has a special significance to them as individuals—or at least relates to something they want to commemorate through their designs.

Matching a Quote or Saying With a Quotation

People who choose to use quotes and sayings as the basis for their tattoos might want to consider matching them up with corresponding quotations from Doc Holliday's own words. This choice makes sense because, after all, it represents the best way of capturing his true essence in literary form—which should be one of the primary goals of anyone looking for a tattoo relating to this man!

Getting a Quote That Best Represents Doc

Another way people might want to go about getting a tattoo of Doc Holliday is by finding a quote that best represents him in their eyes. This choice reflects the idea that, even though he may have been known for his fierce temper and skill with a gun, there was more to this man than just being an American Old West legend. After all, he had his vices, but he also made significant contributions to society through his medical work.

Matching Expressions or Quotes With Their Own Lives

Perhaps one of the most interesting ways people could choose a Doc Holliday tattoo design would be to go with something they believe truly matches up with their lives. For instance, someone might find a design that portrays Doc in his element or one that best reflects the hardships he faced in life—and they might choose to have it tattooed on their arms, shoulders, chest, back, or hips not because of any special significance but simply because they believe it suits them.

Matching Quotes With Doc's Most Notable Life Events

Another way people might look for quotations by Doc Holliday is by matching them with important moments or aspects of his life. For instance, there are many quotes about death and dying that could represent how this man was relatively calm about the concept compared with most people. These include words spoken during conversations between him and Wyatt Earp.


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