Reviewed & updated: April 26, 2023 by Jamie Wilson BA
If you’re looking to get your first skull and cross tattoo, that will add a spooky charm to your style, then this list would be perfect for you.
Skull tattoos, despite having death associated with them, are some of the most popular tattoos people go for, ranging from sugar skull tattoo designs to colourful skull tattoos.
As far as skull tattoos are concerned, the human skull is the centre around which the skull tattoo ideas revolve, ranging from a pirate skull tattoo to sugar skulls or maybe a crossbones tattoo. Skull tattoos stand extremely meaningful because they preach a lot of things- a skull tattoo means that they symbolize death, they symbolize life, and they are sometimes represented with a rose tattoo to pay respect to someone who has passed away.
Skull and crossbones have been the symbol on pirate flags but they’re not associated with negativity; rather they are used as warnings to alert people of death or incoming danger. Before getting a tattoo for the first time, there are a lot of things one should think about-like getting coloured tattoos can be harmful and trigger allergies so it is always safe to go for a blackwork tattoo for the first time, and your tattoo artist can be of immense guidance in this.
A Blackwork Sugar Skull Tattoo
This is a very detailed skull tattoo and sugar skull tattoo designs look the best as a sleeve tattoo. The sugar skull tattoo designs are also related to the celebrations of the Day of the Dead, where skulls are painted with mandala-like designs and the Day of the Dead festival is celebrated all over the world in different ways to honour the dead. In this blackwork, there is extremely intricate line art on the mandala designs that adorn the skull, with scattered flowers, leaves, and sunflowers in the background, the floral eyes, and deep shading in the eye sockets and nose. This skull tattoo is perfect for anyone looking to get a skull sleeve tattoo in blackwork. But if you’re going for a skull tattoo design as your first tattoo, a small skull tattoo would be perfect.
A Skull Tattoo With An Impaled Cross
This tattoo depicts a realistic skull tattoo design with a cross through it. This cool skull tattoo works great on the back but will also look good as a chest tattoo. From the sharp, bordered edges on the cross to the carvings of the skull, this skull tattoo design is a stunner. From the layered shading of the eye and nose sockets to the crack in the skull at the top and the shading of the irregular bottom structure, this makes for a fantastic choice if you’re looking to get a realistic skull tattoo design done and if you’re going for a skull tattoo, it is sure to be a meaningful tattoo in one way or another.
A Skull Tattoo Inside A Roman Cross
The inside of the human head is actually quite fascinating when the skull tattoo designs are drawn so artistically. The skull inside the Roman cross may pay tribute to the ones who lost their lives, but it also represents life and the power of God. The beautiful shading on the borders of the cross and the skull, the extremely elaborate details on the teeth, the deep black shading of the eye and the background, the gradient shading on the nose, and the two sideways skulls on each side make this a brilliant choice. You can also add your own touch and combine this with a crossbones tattoo.
A Colorful Cross And Skull Tattoo
Colourful skull tattoos are a great idea to go for, but pigmented tattoos aren’t recommended for first-timers. But if it is approved by your tattoo artist, then go for it! In this cool skull tattoo design, the splash of red on the skull, the flower and the dark green pigmented leaves, the ‘slow death’ banner, and the yellow eyes add a different charm to usual skull tattoo designs. You can also replace the flower and go for a skull and rose tattoo. The deep-lined black border, as well as the black gradient shading on the edges of the cross as well as the skeletal hands, nose, and teeth of the skull, add the necessary detail to make this one of the best colourful skull tattoos you can opt for.
A Black And White Skull Tattoo With A Cross
Any cool skull tattoo design is combined with a Roman cross most often. If you’re looking for chest tattoo designs or an arm skull tattoo, this realistic blackwork will be perfect. The graphic work on the scars and cracks on the skull here is done with black and grey gradients, combined with black gradient shading for the mouth, with deep outlines for the cross. The dark black of the body of the cross with the caricatures adds a beautiful contrast to the realistic depiction of the skull, with the blank skin used to highlight the features of the skull and makes for a great tattoo.
A Simple Blackwork Skull And Cross Tattoo
This simple skull tattoo design can be recommended to a first-timer if they want to go for other things than a small skull tattoo. This tattoo stands as an ode to lost lives and is a simple blackwork skull tattoo design that will look good anywhere on your body, like, on your left arm as well as your right arm. This skull tattoo design is done in simplistic line art with thick borders, with a skull at the bottom, a cross above it, and a ‘defeated’ banner below, with three Asterisk stars in the background. The gradient shading along the thick lines of the crack along the cross as well as the skull add life to this tattoo. You can also put your own rules and make your own skull tattoo designs by adding more skulls or even make this a skull and crossbones tattoo.
An Artistic Skull And Cross Bones Tattoo
This cool skull tattoo style is a great colourful skull and crossbones tattoo design and one of the simplest yet best skull tattoo ideas you can go for. In this tattoo design, we have a green cross, with light yellow shading in the middle that fades into the centre to reveal the skin while the skull is done in a single line stroke adding one eye socket and the detailed teeth. The skull and crossbones mainly have yellow gradient shading with splashes of black as well as the black cracks on the top of the skull. The red in the background as well as on the edge of the cross adds a great contrast to the warm tones. You can also add multiple skulls and go for even spookier skull designs and other tattoo ideas.
A Skull Tattoo With Banner And Cross
One of the most prominent skull tattoo designs or tattoo ideas is that of skulls and crosses. Skull and cross tattoo designs are empowering because of the skull and cross tattoo meaning- it represents eternal life as well as the difference between immortality and humanity, much like how sugar skull tattoo designs depict the Day of the Dead. This skull tattoo design is exemplary because of its neat finish and a dedication to ‘True Love Never Dies’. The black and grey shading on the skull, banner and cross and the contrast between the light and dark work of the black ink is stellar. The craft on the cross itself makes this skull hand tattoo one of the most intricate skull tattoo designs.
A Beautiful Skull Half Sleeve Tattoo
This skull sleeve tattoo is quite charming and will surely add a different style to your look. With the entire skull tattoo design sort of mixed with strokes of smoke, the realism in this tattoo is still vivid. From the white highlights on the teeth, nose, and the architecture of the cross to the deep gradient shading of the sockets and the light gradient shading of the features of the skull and the body of the cross, and the realistic smoke makes this an alluring skull sleeve piece that will look good even as a half sleeve tattoo on your upper arm or lower.
A Skull Rose And Cross Tattoo
A skull and rose tattoo is usually depicted to honour and pay respect to a loved one and thus rose tattoos are often drawn together with skull tattoos. In this realistic tattoo, the roses tattoo design feels almost real and the red colour with white highlights adds a great contrast to the blackwork of the skull and cross. The gradient shading to bring out the features of the skull, and the elaborate work on the details of the cross attached to a rosary thread makes for a beautiful tattoo that represents love for a passed one. Thus a skull and rose tattoo will be perfect if you’re looking for a tattoo with a deep meaning.
Best skull tattoos are those that have skull tattoo designs that are unique, like a skull and roses tattoo that is like an ode or a Day of the Dead sugar skull tattoo. If you’re looking for spots to get your first cool skull tattoo, you can go for a skull hand tattoo or maybe cool skull tattoo designs on your left foot. And finally, if you don’t want mainstream skull tattoo designs, and are looking for some of the best skull tattoos, then you can go for an animal skull tattoo like a deer skull tattoo, or a rose tattoo to go with the skull, a flaming skull tattoo design, and if you’re looking for something womanly, then a feminine skull tattoo.
A skull tattoo should neve necessarily mean a scary tattoo. Certain unique ideas associated with skull tattoos are a snake tattoo, and sometimes even a clock tattoo since time indicates the approach of death, along with the skull. A skeleton tattoo or a skull wearing something, like glasses or a hat also make for adorable ideas. These skull tattoo ideas will also look great:
- Skull and Cross Bone Tattoo.
- Skull and Cross Wrenches Tattoo.
- Skull and Cross Rifles Tattoo.
- Cross and Skull Shoulder Tattoo.
- Skull With Crown and Cross Bones Tattoo.
Still looking for inspiration, then checkout this blog post about skeleton hand tattoos
Feature Image from Pinterest – Love this design? Try a Temporary Tattoo
What does a skull and cross tattoo mean?
A skull and cross tattoo can have different interpretations, depending on the individual. Generally, this type of tattoo symbolizes death and mortality. It is a reminder that life is short and to make sure to make the most of it and live life to the fullest. Additionally, some people view a skull and cross tattoo as a way to honor loved ones who have passed away or to pay homage to a beloved pet. For some, the skull and cross tattoo may represent overcoming an obstacle, like a life-threatening illness or other challenging event. Ultimately, this type of tattoo is open for individual interpretation and can illustrate many different meanings for its wearer.
How do I choose a skull and cross tattoo design?
When choosing a skull and cross tattoo design, it is important to think about the symbolism behind it. Consider what message or meaning you want to portray with your tattoo. Additionally, look for designs that stand out and are unique to you. You may want to research different artists in your area who specialize in this type of tattoo artistry and select one to create a design that speaks to you. Choosing the right artist is also an important part of the process and can help ensure your tattoo has excellent quality workmanship. Finally, make sure you are comfortable with the placement of your tattoo and if necessary, talk to your artist about what options you have for size and location on your body.
How much does a skull and cross tattoo cost?
The cost of a skull and cross tattoo can vary depending on the size, complexity, artist’s experience level, and location. Generally speaking, tattoos this size can range from $50 – $500 USD. Additionally, if you are getting the tattoo in a more sensitive area such as the face or hands it may be more expensive due to increased difficulty in tattooing that area. Ultimately, the cost of a skull and cross tattoo will depend on your personal preferences and individual needs. It is best to talk to your artist in advance to get an accurate estimate for the cost of your particular design.