To declare a striking affinity for Mexican culture, fashionably clever men are turning to Day of the Dead tattoos en masse. These dramatic Spanish-themed creations are a huge hit all over the world.
For a dose of Latin machismo, guys of all backgrounds are becoming captivated with Day of the Dead skin art.
These stylish ink arrangements bring new life to some of mankind’s most ancient traditions. Additionally, the festive skull tats slyly offer a socially appropriate outlet for demonstrating a fascination with necromancy.
Some skin art aficionados have turned Day of the Dead tattoos into an annual spring tradition. This technique offers an excellent path towards complete body coverage at a steady pace that ensures ample planning time.
While this blatant fascination with the afterlife may seem morbid to cultural outsiders, this yearly holiday is actually intended to mark a jubilant celebration of existence. In a sense, the Day of the Dead designs collected below are truthfully an expression of carpe diem!
These iconic skulls and related imagery can keep the fiesta going all year round. They also enshrine a classy way to enshrine a personally meaningful heritage.
As a final bonus, the designs showcased below are bound to elicit illicit attention from the Latina population.
Day of the Dead Tattoo Ideas
A big part of La Catrina Day of the Dead tattooing is calavera make up. This is done to put an internal emphasis on life and death and create a visible celebratory atmosphere for remembering those who have passed. This piece does an excellent job in creating memorable makeup. The Ace of Spades is often used to color over the nose and signifies luck. Effects around the eyes are also central to the tattoo and in this piece they’re simple yet clever bubble additions. The images surrounding the tattoo are also well etched – the roses in particular are brilliantly worked. There’s a great depth to color and the dewy element is also perfect.
This Day of the Dead girl is inked in a more traditional black and gray fashion, allowing the calavera make up to be focused on clean, fresh black line. An important aspect of many calavera tattoos is sewing the mouth of the La Catrina shut, which is done cleanly in this tattoo.
This Day of the Dead Tattoo is a more subtle, portrait style piece. The artist had developed great realism in the almost photo quality of La Catrina, with only a few line effects and the sewn shut mouth. It’s a beautifully etched forearm sleeve well supported by classic sketch style roses at either end to provide depth and image fill.
A brilliant Chicano style chest tattoo representing the Day of the Dead. The three portraits are exceptionally etched in black and gray, simply contrasting between clean outline and shading variations. In images where the mouth is not sewn shut it’s customary to show exposed teeth through the cheek. This is demonstrated in the difference between the center La Catrina image and the one on the left side of the chest. The artist’s choice to center the piece with a red rose is nicely worked and provides additional balance to the overall ink and a bright counterpoint.
A wicked calavera Day of the Dead Tattoo. The vivid red highlights in etching and background fill give the La Catrina a well constructed ghostly glow and works with the alternating black and white elements. Using a large amount of white ink can be detrimental to some tattoos however adds realism to the makeup. It looks just as it would in a parade or celebration. Traditionally, the color white in calavera make up depicts purity, while other colors also have meaning.
An exceptional small hand tattoo. This stylized La Catrina opts to go bright and brilliant. The electric blue face makeup creates a vivid platform for the colorful shapes and shades of the other paint. The use of black shade for hair and lower fill helps finish off the ink and provide a better fill for the available space.
This is an interesting portrait sketch tattoo of La Catrina. The lower hair shading features an innovative technique which looks excellent against skin and traditional gray shadow. The face etching looks great – there’s a sharpness to the black line that helps it seem realistic. Centering the eye shadow (there’s more above the eye than below) is the only technical step you could revise in this piece as it looks a little unbalanced.
An interesting mask that would benefit from more subtly shaded make-up – there’s not quite enough gradient shadow around the eyes and on the nose to delineate the line work. The other odd part of this tattoo is the head angle. While unique, the art work’s detail would benefit from a more front on La Catrina facial image.
This Day of the Dead tattoo is in the process of an upgrade. The artist is adding fuzzy black shade in places to add a darker element and help the feature stand out from the subject’s other tattoos. This change is visible when comparing the shading towards La Cantrina’s face with the more faded hair at the bottom. An additional application that could make this ink pop further is adding fine black single needle to accentuate her make-up.
The clarity in eye ink is the key to this traditional black and gray Day of the Dead tattoo. La Catrina’s eyes are accentuated by small white ink highlights making her gaze more intense. The shadow contrast is also very well done in combining against negative space and crisp, clean, single needle black outline. The decision to not tattoo more than a scrap of hair works well because the artist has created a well defined border for her face to be framed with.
This La Catrina is etched with such clean line tattooing and smart white ink flourishes that the dark nature of the shading doesn’t compromise the overall image. The use of a candle at wrist helps balance the lower arm sleeve and provides beautiful, flowing white ink highlights into bubbling, fuzzy black shade. At the other end, the Day of the Dead girl’s snatches of hair make fantastic contrast to the elegant darkness at the heart of the art work.
This is a cool lower arm sleeve Day of the Dead tattoo. The central La Catrina image is well supported by epic shade work incorporating heavy black and wicked negative space. The smoke effect pouring from the eyes of the well etched skull is a good use of space and scale. The girl herself is unique in sporting a modified Marge Simpson hairdo which serves the same space and balance creating role that the skull performs.
There aren’t many Day of the Dead girl tattoos tagged on people’s neck. This example is crisp, if lacking the more flamboyant shade effects. The art is delivered with sound black line technique and smart shading fundamentals. The light gray shaded lace edging of La Catrina’s cowl is a cool component of the work providing a natural border for the full image.
Wow! This is a fantastic color La Catrina tattoo. The degree of realism and clean artistic skill makes this a sensational piece of art. The use of playing cards etched with DOBs is a beautiful memorial touch, while the subtly colorful fingers and face of the Day of the Dead girl are flawless. You won’t find a better color example of this style of tattoo.
A wicked upper arm La Catrina piece. The girl is a beautiful focal point however the technical aspects put this piece over the top. The blinged out gun is brilliant – sexy chrome filigreed with intricately detailed white ink – ably supported by the smoke effects threading through the fuzzy black fill. The artist’s choice to replicate the gun’s shade effect in scoring the girl’s face is effective technical execution, as is creating the tricky illusion of three closed eyes.
A simple calavera tattoo etched cleverly with black fine line needle work and fuzzy black shading. It’s a solid if unspectacular piece delivered with clarity and skill. Again, small pockets of white ink highlights are drawn in to strengthen the overall makeup effect – it’s especially effective on the skull’s teeth enamel.
This is a polished Day of the Dead girl tattoo. The artist has shown off precision in technical execution to display a work of quality. Love the different shading gradients in this piece. Surprisingly, there’s no negative space in the piece, it’s instead strengthened by a flat gray scale fill befitting the overall dark effect. This shading allows the tremendous make up effects to look crisp and subtle by the addition of fine line white needle complementing the black.
Is that Paris Hilton? I swear that looks like Paris Hilton… Anyway, this La Catrina is a killer bicep tattoo combining negative space and fine needle work. The white ink highlights this time are designed to support the gray parts of the ink to add clarity. The rose, and Paris’ hair are given a jolt by using this effect, which contrasts well with the alternating neg space and black birds above the woman.
This tattoo is cool. The epic hair effect and supporting shade are done with a fat, thick line shading gun to give it that rougher, darker edge. This application works exceptionally well in direct comparison to the fine black line of the Day of the Dead girl’s tattoo makeup, which is a lot more subtle and detailed.
A wicked Day of the Dead tattoo. This full sleeve balances traditional motifs – La Catrina, skulls, roses, sombrero, Mariachi guitarist – with elements of portraiture realism to depict a wonderful memorial tattoo. Love the photograph quality of the little girl at top left, while the black/neg combination of the sombrero helps in transition the many tattoo elements.
The artist in this piece has done a fantastic job to create that sewn illusion to the make up. It’s been precisely drawn to create that uncomfortable, skin pinching effect with clean style, especially in the areas around eyes and mouth. Also love the shawl’s etched pattern on negative space technique – it creates a cool and unusual counterpoint to the spooky facial makeup.
Day of the Dead Tattoo FAQs
What does the Day of the Dead Girl tattoo symbolize?
La Catrina (Day of the Dead girl) is traditionally a beautiful woman in make up resembling a combination of calavera (skull) and calacas (skeleton). She symbolizes the Goddess of Death and the Mexican willingness to show humor while celebrating and honoring death during the Day of the Dead.
The Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a popular Mexican festival where families gather to honor and remember loved ones that have passed away. It is believed souls of the dead return to visit the living in homes, businesses and cemeteries.
There are numerous motifs associated with joyful Day of the Dead festival which involving marches, parades, brightly colored altars and special meals dedicated to the deceased. La Catrina is a popular totem in Chicano and Aztec style tattooing due to its beauty and link to the traditional Latin American themes of family, faith, and honor.
The Día de Muertos celebration – usually held at the start of November – began in Mexico but now stretches to much of the Latin speaking world and parts of the USA.