Skull Tattoos - Tattoo Design Series Part 1

This is the first post in what I call my “Tattoo Design” Series. I will talk about different motives for tattoos, like flowers, skulls, portrait etc. What inspires people to get them and what they stand for. I will be starting this series out with Skulls. They are such a popular and diverse motive to tattoo, so I will be looking at different meanings of skull tattoos and display a few of my favourite ones that I have done.

Besides skulls simply being a cool design, they foremost are connected to death or the idea of death and everything that comes with it.

Often a skull can be seen as a statement of not being afraid of death, honouring death or a reminder that we all will die. These reminders can be very positive and powerful for the wearer, as they remind us that we only have this life and death is inevitable so don’t let fear ruin your life. By being aware of death we can turn this into a celebration of life.

Skulls are often chosen by people who look for a bold design and who wish to make a statement. The skull is a powerful symbol as it stands for mortality and the inevitability of an end.

Skull design ideas and concepts

  1. The first we will look at is the concept and idea of “memento mori”. You might have heard of it, as it has made a comeback over the last view years. It is a Latin term that translates to “remember that you must die.” The idea of this philosophy it to remember your inescapable death, which will ideally lead to more sober lives and taking advantage of opportunities rather than postponing them until tomorrow.

    Interestingly it is being said that we can all create a “memento mori”, and you do this by bringing an object or piece of art into your life with intention. That intention is of course, to be reminded of your mortality. As a tattoo, it is especially meaningful as the design dies with you. Nothing symbolises this better than a skull, don’t you think?

  2. Besides being direct symbols of death, people often like to commemorate the end of a stage of their life and the beginning of a new one. This can be beautifully done with a combination of skull and flower tattoo designs, whereas the skull is a symbol of the end and flowers the symbol for life and a new start. Different flowers mean different things and its a good idea to research their meaning to see which one will suit your situation the best.

  3. An animal skull often times are chosen because they simply make awesome tattoo designs. A good example are raven or deer skulls. Animal tattoos often speak to a persons primal side or the quality they would like to embody. With animal skull tattoos, this might change a little bit. In the animal kingdom, creatures are more driven by primal impulses and survival instincts, therefore for them it is as much about death as it is about life. An animal skull tattoo may represent someone who is in touch with, and accepting of, life’s natural cycles.

From my point of view as an artist, skulls are a great design opportunity. They look both great on their own but also amazing when combined with other imagery, such as animals, flames, flowers, wings or anything else that you can come up with. The possibilities are endless.

What does a skull represent to you? Do you have any questions about them or wish to discuss your ideas?
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