70 Immortal Skull Tattoo Designs – Get Them Inked into Your Skin

Tattoos are cropping up everywhere nowadays and skull tattoos being among them. They are common as a piece of art you might see displayed on a wall and common in the way that you see them on celebrities and regular folks, bikers and military soldiers even doctors. Tattoos today are about expression, get your ideas out on paper and then getting them inked into your skin.


There are a variety of colors, techniques, and pallets used in tattoos that each one can be unique. It’s very rare that you come across two tattoos that look the same and weren’t supposed to, though often people go together for matching tattoos to commemorate a friendship or relationship. One common recurring image that a lot of tattoo artists see are skulls, among other trends.



Tattoos usually have their own individual meaning for the person wearing it, the idea being unique to each person dreaming up the piece of art they want to be placed on their skin. The same can be said for skulls and there are a plethora of different styles that they are depicted in, each being unique as the artist creating the image.

Usually, the meaning behind a skull is death. A lot of times, people that wanted to project a menacing persona would go for a dark skull tattoo as a means to strike fear into others. Sometimes, often with soldiers or someone mourning a loss, they can be used as a way to mark the death of a friend or the acceptance that they, too, will one day meet death.

Something less menacing and more sobering. Religions use skulls as well, in Christianity, it can symbolize eternity and Kabbalah they represent rebirth. For some ,a skull is used as a means for protection, strength, and power even the opposite of death by representing immortality. People often translate the meanings they find for their tattoo from religion or life experiences.

back to menu ↑


In history, the skull has long since held the meaning of death or caution, a way to ward people off. The Spanish as they were exploring the world, used skulls to as a means to mark their cemeteries, perhaps wanting to protect those that have passed on.

Pirates used them as a way to promote fear and rebellion in the seventeenth century when they added crossbones to the skull, putting it on a flag that we know as the Jolly Roger. Pirates were prevalent throughout the eighteenth century as well though we see the Jolly Roger popping up in media from popular movie franchises.

The skull and crossbones were also adopted by armies around the world to promote fear on the battlefield, Germany during World War II adapted it onto their uniforms. The Nazi army went on to wreak havoc throughout Europe for twelve years until they were defeated in 1945.

Soon it also began to promote caution, using it as a symbol to note poison and it’s still used in that fashion today in some countries. Some gangs, now, use skulls now as a part of their symbol, in prison, it can be a way to identify whether one inmate is apart of one gang over another. Though prison tattoos do often lack the depth and artistry that a tattoo from a shop artist may offer.

back to menu ↑

Common Designs

There are a different type of skulls and ways they are depicted. Skull and crossbones, for example, and it’s meaning of rebellion or triumph. Or like how the skull and crossbones were used with the Jolly Roger. It’s also an association with poison, or being deadly, is also another thing we noted before it’s something to be feared. People looking to display their rebellious nature or try to create fear in others may opt to have this tattooed on them.

Sugar skulls are elaborately and brightly decorated with beading and flowers. They are associated with the Mexican Day of the Dead, a celebration of life and of those who have passed. These can often be used to mark the passage of a friend or loved one, or even just purely for the celebration of death. Sugar skulls are often adapted to also cover the face of an attractive woman or gypsy, still implying the celebration of the passing of a loved one.

There is, also, the realistic skull which with the right shading and the skill of the artist can look real. Realistic skulls are versatile in the way that they can be adapted into whatever style that the artist and person getting the tattoo may dream up and can mean whatever the wearer may want it to mean. Often times the skull is paired with flowers, animals, or even other skulls or designs like tribal tattoos.

Skulls aren’t limited to be human, either. A lot of times people, also, experiment with the use of animal skulls in creating their art. A cow, or steer, skull is often used as a nod to a country lifestyle that a person may lead. Other animal skulls may be used as a way to remember a pet.

back to menu ↑

Common Techniques

Styles used in creating tattoos are also very different from artist to artist and then also the person receiving the tattoo. We pointed at realism as a way to depict a skull for a tattoo with the use of shading, but colors can also be used. If someone is going for a dark or foreboding look they might lean towards the black and gray tones in shading, with white offering highlighting and giving the tattoo dept so that it looks real. Black by itself can also be used, or you can trade out black with another solid color.

The single color can create a statement while still emphasizing the details of the skull and making it stand out. Colors can be used in shading, also, to create a realistic feel and give a tattoo its own individual style. It doesn’t all have to be black and white. Color can be used to give a tattoo depth and realism, whether it’s enveloping the entire skull in a solid color and using the lines of the skull itself for the realistic expression or using colors to accentuate shading. Perhaps using browns or reds in place of blacks and greys to bring in depth.

But, not all skulls have to be realistic. Caricatures are also be used, giving a fresh spin or cartoony look that the person receiving the tattoo may be going for. The cartoonish feel may lighten up the feel or meaning of the skull making it less serious so it looses the foreboding nature.

So, if you want a skull you can still get one without having to worry about someone looking at it and getting the wrong perception of you. Sugar skulls, for example, can have that realistic look to them, if the person receiving them desires. But, often times they look less realistic and give the old anatomical skeletal picture a nod. Staying with the caricatured style skull, a simple skull can be colored in any fashion.

There’s also the classic traditional style of tattoos that offer thick lining and bold, but limited colors and some exaggerations. Traditional tattoos or “new school” are a nod towards the old style of tattoo and originated in the 1970s. It’s mimicking the old style that used to be seen on sailors and riff raff before tattoos became mainstream. You won’t get the realistic look or style from this. It may see more cartoony and fit with something like a sugar skull with the bold lines. But it’s something that can easily be adapted to the style or design you’re looking into getting.

Watercolor tattoos have come into recent fashion. Watercolor tattoos are similar to the painting style. It’s a mix or blending of colors that don’t necessarily remain in the lines. The colors and inking can be subtle. The outline can be static and dark with splashes of color to create a very unique and beautiful tattoo. There are some that even use the watercolor technique when developing the outline of the tattoo.

Techniques aside, taking a skull tattoo and creating your own spin on it is fairly easy. With how you depict the skull, whether you use realism or a caricature, and what you may pair it with. Having it paired with thick bold lines of a tribal tattoo can cause the skull itself to stand out with a little color.

You can also pair it with other items, giving it a bit of romance with a rose or develop deep meaning with it by adding a pocket watch or hands of a clock. The skull is versatile with what it can be paired with and can be adapted to mean what you want which makes it a great focal point to any tattoo you may be considering. You can make it have a masculine, dangerous feel if that’s the look you are going for. Or you can make it simple and let the skull on its own do the talking. The beauty of it is you are only limited by your own imagination.


Login/Register access is temporary disabled