Skull in art tattoo: where does this timeless cult come from?
Anatomy in art tattoo has a long tradition, especially the skull. A well-known skull is the classic one of the Jolly Roger, a skull with two crossed bones. This symbol was used by pirates ships in the 17th century. This is a modification of the red quarantine flag, which stated: “Attention death is on board, don´t get any closer!”. The flag was flown to frighten pirates’ victims into surrendering without a fight.
The cult was created by the sailors, for whom the seas were mostly wet graves. So they tattooed a skull on their skin to show they were not afraid of death and that they were ready to face the many dangers of the sea. By tattooing death on their own skin, they would be able to overcome their fear of death. Sailors brought the skull tattoo to Europe.
Anatomy in art tattoo: how do I draw a human skull?
Drawing a skull is practically nothing more than an anatomy study. Our teacher Ricky Larsson is going to show you how to do it in our video tutorial. Have fun!
How do you draw a skull?
- Step 1: First of all you transfer proportions, by outlining the contours of the skull and the essential details.
- Step 2: Add features to the skull through light and shadow. You start with the darkest parts of the drawing. First, you draw them in lighter tonalities and then you darken them. You can find out more about what tonalities are and how they are drawn in our post “Drawing for Beginners: How to draw a 3D Sphere“.
- Step 3: Work on the final details. By refining light and shadow, that is the tonalities, the final details are drawn and the drawing is finalized.
Art on the skin – the earliest form of art!
Prehistoric findings show that both body painting and rock painting are one of the first human artistic expressions. This body cult was used to worship Gods, to differentiate leaders from the rest of the people, or to show the bravery of the warriors or the tribal affiliation of the people. Ötzi, the Iceman who died 5,200 years ago, is the oldest human being with tattooed art on his skin found so far.