The 1st and 2nd of November are connected with All Saints Day Catholic holidays and All Hallows Day. Dia de Los Muertos, or The Day of The Dead, starts on the 31st of October at midnight. Sugar skulls are used to decorate gravestones. The skulls are made of clay, molded sugar, feathers, beads, foil, and icing. Deceased family members' names would be put on the forehead of the sugar skull along with a marigold, the flower of death. Usually, graves will be adorned with the family member's favorite food and drink, to lead them back to Earth.
On All Saints Day, The 1st of November, smaller skulls represent lost children. On the 2nd of November, All Hallows Day, more giant skulls are placed in remembrance of adults, in celebration of death instead of mourning a loss. Sugar skulls are used for positivity, and originated from Aztec culture dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl.
This cultural celebration has helped develop and inspire many traditional and some not-so-traditional Sugar Skull tattoos. Some Sugar Skull tattoos use bright colors and a very white skull others use a darker sinister look. Many Sugar Skulls still keep similar features such as face paint whether it is flowers around the eyes or an outline around the jawline. Furthermore, some Sugar Skull tattoos are done more in the style of realism and use portraits of people's faces, primarily women, to create this unique style on the skin.
Most Sugar Skulls are done in a more traditional style, use a two-dimensional design approach, and use flowers or paisley to define certain areas such as cheeks and eyes.
Sugar Skull tattoos that use a darker approach utilize a lot more pinstripe and filigree.
Even though these types of Sugar Skull tattoos are broken into two subcategories, they are still very similar in many ways, such as all using a decorated skull to commemorate loved ones that are no longer here. Not all Sugar Skulls that are tattooed directly represent a loved one, though. Some people just thoroughly enjoy the spirit and culture that comes with the look of the Sugar Skulls and the tradition of Dia de Los Muertos.
Sugar Skulls can be designed in many ways, so it is important to talk with Pistol Pete and tell him exactly what is appealing to you. Sugar Skulls can be just a skull or a person's face. Women's portraits are most common for this use. Their face is used as a base, and paint is added around the eyes and mouth to make the face have skull-like features. Even more, these faces are then decorated with filigree and floral designs. It is very important when constructing a tattoo design that you tell Pistol Pete about yourself, so he can judge what angles to take on your tattoo. This includes things such as color or black and grey or creating a more masculine skull as opposed to one with more feminine features.