Reviewed & updated: January 11, 2023 by Jamie Wilson BA
Looking for an offbeat way to honour the Day of the Dead? Take a look at these sugar skull girl tattoo ideas for rad body art centring the Mexican culture.
Sugar skull tattoos or Calaveras are a favourite amongst tattoo enthusiasts.
Sugar skulls are a recurring symbol in Día De Los Muertos, aka the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico, a day specifically attributed to the dead members of their community. Primarily made as edible candies, sugar skulls or candy skulls are celebratory tokens that have been prominent in the Mexican culture from their ancestral tribes.
The sugar skull girl tattoo meaning is however a little different than the general positivity associated with the festival. The ancient Mexican people referred to the Aztec goddess and preserver of death, entrusting her with the responsibilities of their departed friends and loved ones. This deity was first constructed into a figurine by the artist José Guadalupe Posada, a thorough political cartoonist who expressed controversial views regarding Mexican society through the drawing of Calaveras or skeletons. Posada’s original sketch named ‘La Calavera Garbancera’ was a mockery of the Mexican women who aspired to adopt European means of living by renouncing their Mexican heritage. The later renaming to ‘La Calavera Catrina’ has satiric connotations indicating Christening and the slang ‘Catrin’ for a well-dressed woman.
Why is then La Catrina included in the Day of the Dead celebration? A deeper message behind Posada’s satire was to encourage people to stay rooted in their origin. He believed culture is an integral part of one’s being and replacing one’s true self with something else is futile. He believed ‘Death is Democratic’. To this day, the beautifully decorated Catrina is a powerful symbol of acceptance, mortality, and fearlessness- an irrefutable part of Día De Los Muertos. Keep scrolling to find amazing ideas for your sugar skull girl tattoo!
Realistic Sugar Skull Girl Tattoo
The artist here takes a modern stance on the portrayal of Catrina. This goddess of death is adorned with a cross on her forehead, charm bracelets, and a sugar skull tattoo on her hand. Though an uber-modern image, the eyes and lips follow the perennial pattern of marigolds found in celebrating the Day of the Dead.
The traditional vibrant colours are negated for the sketchy appearance of the sugar skull girl. Monochromatism makes this sugar skull girl tattoo drawing aesthetically intense and scary to a certain extent.
The only distinctive feature of Dia De Los Muertos on this doll face is that of the transparent skeletal jaw. The face of this sugar skull girl is airbrushed with spotless make-up and glitters. At the same time, the tattoo artist here couples the realism of the face with the roses inked in black.
Blackwork and realism are two different techniques that are seldom brought together. This novel approach produces a new design that highlights and compliments the differences between the two methods. Colourful flowers would also draw attention away from the intricate detailing of the face. Experiment with these life-like sugar skull tattoos and craft a design that catches your fancy!
Sugar Skull Flower Tattoos
Here the artist paints a contrasting picture with black and red ink. The interplay of black and grey defines the facial details of Catrina and the skull beneath. Hints of red on her temple and the rose helps to highlight the design on the skin and hits a balance between an overly bland or colourful idea.
Tattoo artists often use skulls alongside life-like Catrinas to further accentuate the theme of Mexican tattoos. The skull design biting into the flower has symbolic meanings. It could be interpreted as death taking away beauty, fertility, and romantic relationships leaving behind the truth of life.
This sugar skull tattoo design is a remnant of the folk icon that we witness in the Dia De Los Muertos celebrations. Dressed in a fashionable gown and a tiara made of red roses, the goddess watches over the cemetery in all her elegance. The artist uses a vibrant colour gradient and equal shading measures for this sugar skull tattoo to come alive.
This full sleeve tattoo attempts to portray an ensemble of Mexican symbols in a composite picture. Catrina maintains a posture typical to deities and the shady cemetery is the symbol of death. The red roses generate the same effect, a reminder of mortality, as is shown in the design before.
Small Sugar Skull Tattoo Girl
Do not wish to devote your entire sleeve to Day of the Dead tattoos? Don’t sweat it. These compact sugar skull tattoo designs are equally impactful in conveying the essence of Mexico. This badass sugar skull girl wears a red chrysanthemum on her head and holds a gun. The tattoo artist here uses Trash Polka style with its quintessential red and black colours, heavy brush strokes, and blotches of ink.
Trash Polka is a pertinent style that brings two contrasting pictures to form an organic image. Here, the idea is to bind together the binaries of a flower and a gun against the female figure. The gun makes the sugar skull girl appear dangerous, while the chrysanthemum in Mexican belief stands as a symbol of peace, sympathy, and beauty.
A monochromatic alternative to mini sugar skulls, this tattoo is inked with dot work, fine lining and immaculate shading methods. The cobweb on her forehead, the ghastly shaded lips and eyes present a gothic portrayal of the goddess of death. Though the flowers and headdresses are decorations, they help in adding gravity to this sugar skull tattoo.
Smaller tattoos are versatile in terms of placing and provide a lot more agency to experiment with. These sugar skull tattoos are ideal as a new tattoo and should be inked at the sites with a better chance of exposure.
Frida Kahlo Inspired Black And White Sugar Skull Girl Tattoo
Frida cannot be missed when we are talking about a Mexican tattoo theme! A mixture of beauty and macabre, this Frida sugar skull design achieves sublimity through the intricate details and shading in black and grey. The Christian symbols like the Cross and a heart dripping blood carry powerful aesthetic and symbolic purposes in this sugar skull tattoo.
The Mexican artist stands as an icon of indigenous art and a popular trope in the Day of the Dead theme of tattooing. Having a fair share of both the Mexican and European temperaments in her being, Frida can be seen as the archetype of the women Posada was talking about. Place this sugar skull tattoo on your forearm or upper arm to showcase the grim beauty of sugar skull tattoos.
Sugar Skull Hand Tattoo
Sugar skull tattoos on the back of the palm are known to make a menacing appearance! The idea is kept simple with fine lining and blackwork. The stern gaze and gothic make-up further increase the intensity of this sugar skull girl tattoo. Black and white highlight and accentuate her expressions.
Though a sugar skull tattoo on hand is a terrific idea, it is a painful ordeal. The skin down your wrist is one of the most painful places to get inked due to the lack of fat and barrier tissues between the skin and the bones. Know your pain tolerance way before selecting a design for your sugar skull tattoos.
Sugar Skull Tattoo Ideas From Pop Culture
The tattoo artist here brings about a compassionate picture of the sugar skull tattoo tradition. A direct reference to the Pixar movie ‘Coco’, the sugar skulls are minutely focused on with special attention to their expressions. Microrealism with controlled use of colour helps the design pop up in all its elements.
Coco is widely appreciated for its accurate portrayal of the Day of the Dead. Filled with the traditions of the festival, Coco showcases a deeper meaning behind the rituals, the acceptance of death as a new life and the ability to revisit loved ones and ancestors with a joyous spirit. This sugar skull tattoo pictures the dead the way Mexicans view their departed loved ones and are unafraid of the dead.
Traditional Sugar Skull Girl Tattoo Designs
Sugar skull tattoos in the style of traditional tattoo designs are barely seen but they do make immaculate sugar skulls. Bursting with bold colours, this traditional sugar skull tattoo exhibits a lady head embellished with roses and cobwebs. The black and red interplay is a striking combination in this sugar skull tattoo that help highlight the old line patterns of the genre.
You can site this traditional sugar skull tattoo anywhere on your body and it will pop up no matter its placement! You can also experiment with pin-up girl sugar skull tattoo designs in the traditional fashion for a complete retro picture!
Abstract Sugar Skull Tattoo Design
This sugar skull tattoo portrait is a truly experimental and new-age design that carries all the cultural meanings to its portrayal. Though resonating more with the vibe of Halloween, the motto is to paint a rather dangerous Catrina who looks after the departed. The Blue and red combo along with the inflamed skull design fairly suit the unconventional picture.
If you are more into contemporary tattoo designs, take the abstract route and experiment to your heart’s content. With sugar skull tattoos, There is no right or wrong with sugar skull tattoos!
Sugar Skull Girl Half Sleeve Tattoo Designs
Sugar skull tattoos make amazing half sleeve designs that showcase the essence of Dia De La Muertos to its fullest. Here, the image portrays a woman with a snuffed out candle. The technique, though seems simple, involves rigorous shading.
The snuffed candle contain multiple meanings. It could either be an anticipation of departure, or something ominous that is popularly associated with death. Half sleeve sugar skulls are particularly beneficial if you are looking to add more elements to your arm.
Sugar Skull Tattoo Designs For Upper Back
Utilise your back for a killer sugar skull tattoo girl in all black. The artist here follows the popular black and grey shading to get an intense sugar skull girl tattoo outline.
Sugar skulls of this dimensions would also make attractive chest tattoos. Play with celebrity women figures like that of Marilyn Monroe and others.
Sugar skull tattoo designs are a versatile tattoo genre that offer room for experimentation and creativity. Decorated with roses, marigolds, and sweet sugar skull candies, Dia De La Muertos is a happy festival far removed from the grim connotations of Halloween. But if you are still clueless where to start, here are some more sugar skull tattoo ideas:
- Sugar skull pin up girl tattoo
- Gypsy girl sugar skull tattoo
- Multiple sugar skulls tatto
- Glow in the dark dead sugar skull tattoos
- Sugar skulls and owl tattoo
Sugar Skull Temporary Face Tattoo
Mexican Sugar Skull Tattoo
Woman Sugar Skull Tattoo
Sugar Skull Face Temporary Tattoo
Sugar Skull Woman Tattoo
Day Of The Dead Sugar Skull Tattoo
Colorful Sugar Skull Tattoo
Simple Sugar Skull Tattoo
Girly Sugar Skull Tattoo
Sugar Skull Foot Tattoo
Black And White Sugar Skull Tattoo
Meaning Of Sugar Skull Tattoo
Realistic Sugar Skull Tattoo
Sugar Skull Temporary Tattoo
Sugar Skull And Rose Tattoo
Sugar Skull Portrait Tattoo
Female Sugar Skull Tattoo
Pretty Sugar Skull Tattoo
feature image from Pinterest
What is the meaning behind sugar skull tattoos?
Sugar skull tattoos are a popular choice for those looking to get a tattoo with meaning. Often associated with the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), sugar skulls are a way to honor and remember loved ones who have passed away.
These tattoos can be designed in a variety of ways, but most often they feature colorful designs and sugar skull-like faces. They can be small and simple or large and detailed – it all depends on the wearer’s preference.
Whether you’re looking to honor a loved one or simply want a tattoo with meaning, sugar skull tattoos are a great option.
What are some of the most popular sugar skull tattoo designs?
There are a variety of sugar skull tattoo designs to choose from, but some of the most popular include:
1. Traditional sugar skulls: These tattoos feature the traditional sugar skull design, which is often associated with the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos. Traditional sugar skulls are often brightly colored and feature intricate details.
2. Sugar skull faces: These tattoos feature sugar skull-like faces, often with colorful designs.
3. Sugar skull animals: These tattoos feature sugar skulls with animal features, such as a cat or a skull with antlers.
4. Day of the Dead sugar skulls: These tattoos are often associated with the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos. They can feature traditional sugar skull designs or sugar skull faces.
How much does a sugar skull tattoo cost?
The cost of a sugar skull tattoo will vary depending on the size, complexity, and location of the tattoo. Generally speaking, smaller and simpler tattoos will cost less than larger and more detailed ones. Tattoos located on visible body parts (such as the arms or chest) will also typically cost more than those located on less visible areas (such as the back or legs).
What are some of the most popular sugar skull tattoo festivals?
There are a number of sugar skull tattoo festivals held around the world, but some of the most popular include:
1. Dia de los Muertos Tattoo Festival (Mexico): This festival is held annually in Mexico City and features a number of sugar skull tattoo artists from around the world.
2. LA Day of the Dead Tattoo Convention (Los Angeles, CA): This convention is held annually in October and features sugar skull tattoo artists from across the US.
3. New Orleans Tattoo Arts Convention (New Orleans, LA): This convention is held annually in March and features sugar skull tattoo artists from across the US.