5 Original Skull Tattoo Designs

Updated on March 13, 2020
Isabella King profile image

I attend Wellesley College, where I am earning my degree in Studio Art and English with a concentration in Creative Writing.

The Skull Tattoo: Popularity and Meaning

Skull tattoo designs are some of the most popular in the world. There is something about skulls that people are inexplicably drawn to; it’s a kind of morbid fascination. Skulls can be funny, eerie, or even beautiful. Their meanings can vary widely from person to person and from tattoo to tattoo, so it is difficult to pinpoint the exact meaning of any one tattoo as it may mean many things to many people. Of course, the skull is associated with death, but contrarily it can also be associated with rebirth, especially when paired with flowers.

Some people choose to get skull tattoos as a token of remembrance for a lost loved one. Some use it to represent a battle with a serious illness or their own near-death experience. Others see it as a homage to cultural traditions such as that of the sugar skulls made during the day of the dead celebration in Mexico. Some see skulls as a symbol of power and strength in the face of fear. And still, others simply like the way they look. As you can see the meanings behind skull tattoos are often as varied and complex as the people who wear them, so it is difficult, if not impossible, to impose one meaning onto all skull tattoos.

The following designs, all hand-drawn by myself, utilize the image of the skull to portray a variety of meanings and themes. Before getting you ink, make sure to check these out for ideas and inspiration! If you feel particularly inspired and actually get a tattoo that is related or inspired by any one of these be sure to let me know so that I can see the finished product!

#1 Skull With Flowers and Vines

This design utilizes the traditional association between flowers and skulls, but also incorporates dynamic and twisting vines that seem to have grown into the skull itself. The Vines and full open flower could signify rebirth in the face of trauma or hardship.

#2 The Monstrous Fish

This design has a bit of a sinister or creepy aspect to it. It uses both the skeleton of a fish and the skull of a human to create a somewhat monstrous creature.

#3 Skull Wearing a Sunday Hat

While this design does not use the traditional designs associated with sugar skulls, it does incorporate the elements of a living person with that of a skull. This creates a somewhat creepy, but also comical contrast.

#4 Cactus Skull Wearing Sunglasses

This design comically mixes a budding cactus with the lower half of a skull wearing sunglasses. Not all tattoos need to be serious after all.

#5 Rose Eyed Skull

As with the first design, this tattoo takes advantage of the traditional association between flowers and skulls. This one in particular places roses in the eye sockets, something which is often done in the sugar skull designs mentioned above.

Vote for Your Favorite!

Which of the designs above is your favorite? Vote below!

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© 2016 Isabella King

Did any of these designs inspire you? Comment below! I'd love to hear your feedback!

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