My name is Sarah Calavera...and I'm a skullaholic. The name calavera means skull in Spanish so it seemed fitting that I of all writers at Tattoodo needed to do a post about skull tattoos.
Being one of the most common icons that has been inked since the beginning of the art, the skull has many representations. Symbolizing life and death, our mortality , spirituality and even just plain old badassery to show how hardcore you are, it seems there is no end to the possibilities you can get with a skull tattoo.
Being addicted to skulls of course, I had to have my own skull inspired tattoo. I went for colorful Dia De Los Muertos inspired skulls and a zombie Catrina. My artist used several styles in the sleeve including realism, black and grey, traditional and even a touch of Japanese. Check it out...
I decided to let my artist run riot freehand armed with only a Sharpie and the result was very unique with a mix of styles and I couldn't be happier.
Today there are so many styles available some old favorites like the traditional American style and others that border on contemporary art pieces like the highly stylized graphic art of trash polka. But you might be wondering what all these names mean. What defines these popular styles you keep hearing about? So this post is to give you an idea about what just a few of these styles look like using skulls. If you are a skull fan or not I'm sure it will get your creative juices flowing for your next tattoo adventure.
Traditional American: Characterized by bold black outlines bold colors using a minimal palette (mostly blue, red, yellow and green) with minimal if any shading.
Dotwork: A popular style of today these tattoos use fine needles to build up designs using a combination of strong black lines and dots much like the art technique of pointilism.
New School: This design is fun and surreal often brightly colored and very unusual looking with distorted proportions and cartoonish imagery.
Trash Polka: Realistic trash polka is a painterly tattoo style created by Simone Plaff and Volko Merschky at Buena Vista Tattoo Club in Germany. Volko describes it as a combination of “realism and trash; the nature and the abstract; technology and humanity; past, present, and future."
Micro Tattoos: Tattoos don't always have to be huge and some of the nicest designs can come in small form. Micro tattoos are discreet and can be placed on subtle parts of the body and still look badass.
No-Line Color Realism: These tattoos use very minimal black outline if any at all and use more bold colors and highly detailed shading instead. Some artists are concerned about the longevity of these types of tattoos the same as the popular watercolor design, but they do make striking looking designs when fresh.
Neo-Traditional: Based on traditional style tattoos neo-traditional pushes the style into contemporary contexts. Think of it as traditional with a new twist and hints of realism.
Realism: One of the most popular styles still out there is realism or even hyper photo realism. It is insane what some artists can achieve now to get a lifelike looking tattoo.