Cowboy Skull Tattoo

20+ Cowboy Skull Tattoo Ideas

Cowboy Skull Tattoos

The cowboy lifestyle is an alluring culture that dates back to the 1800’s and depicts bravery, courageousness and wit.

There are, however, two different sides to cowboy culture that should
be noted.

On the one hand, you have the cowboys that fought the wicked and protected the weak and vulnerable, and on the other hand, you had those who were rebellious troublemakers who found amusement in looting, fighting, and causing havoc.

Regardless of which side of the saddle you look though, being a cowboy has always signified bravery, walking one’s own path, and not being afraid to die.

The same can be said for the type people that would opt for cowboy skull tattoos.

While some may get them to depict a hardworking, honest lifestyle, the other reason could be to represent the troubles of their lives and the hardships that they have had to overcome.

That is where the popular skull tattoo design comes in.

A combination of culture and chaos.

Cowboy Skull Tattoo Meanings


For years skulls have been some of the most popular choices in tattoo designs and have been depicted in a multitude of different styles, symbolizing major challenges that someone has had to overcome in their life.

It may have been a difficult life decision that had to be made, an
addiction that they have overcome, or it could represent the passing of a loved one or the death of the person that they use to be.

Each tattoo design holds a personal meaning to the person bearing it and the cowboy skull tattoo symbolizes the overall importance of life and the way that we choose to live it.

With honour and bravery, or a streak of trouble and rebelliousness.

Being a Warrior

It’s no surprise that many bikers, gang members and rebels adorn skulls in any way possible.

To them it symbolizes bravery, walking a difficult path, fighting for freedom, and not being afraid to die.

Celebrating Life and Death


In Mexican culture, skulls represent the celebration of life.

On Día de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, they honor their loved ones and their heritage through colorful displays of skulls and flowers.


Acceptance is the final stage of grieving, and with that, you find ways to celebrate the life that they lived and all the fond memories that go along with it.

It Serves as a Warning


Whether it’s placed on product packaging or displayed on danger signs, skulls warn us of imminent danger.

As a tattoo, it serves as a reminder of how fragile life can be and reminds us
that this life that we’ve been given isn’t promised forever.

It reminds us to be present in each day and to stay away from toxic people and habits that could ruin our lives.

Cowboy Skull Tattoo Designs & Common Themes

  • Old School Tattoos

Characterized by bold outlines and bright colors of similar tones, Old School tattoo style is traditional to western culture and perfectly suited to cowboy skull tattoos.

The designs are inspired by the Wild West and often feature additional elements such as lassos, roses, cigars, and revolvers.

  • Cowboys and Indians


It’s common to associate Indians with cowboys and the pair make for a brilliant tattoo design.

The designs see the cowboy and the Indian in a face-off, either on a large scale such as the back, or facing one another from opposite arms, hands, or legs.

It could also be representing both Mexican and Western heritage.

Cowboy Skull and Indian Skull Tattoo


  • Neon Style


Combining classic grey and black with a pop of bright neon colors will make sure that your skull tattoo is as unique as you are.

It could also represent allowing in the light from the darkness, a silver lining in an otherwise negative situation.

Neon Cowboy Skull Tattoo
  • Mexican Skulls


In true “Day of the Dead” style, the Mexican skull tattoo has grown in popularity over the years.

It’s more commonly known as the “Sugar Skull” and consists of bright colors, often incorporating plenty of florals.

These cowboy skull tattoos represent both Mexican and Western cultures in
one beautiful design.

  • Full Back Tattoos


Nothing shows off greater detail than a classic grey and black tattoo, and with a larger canvas, there’s more room to get creative.

Here you can incorporate more into the design and set the scene with more elements of the Wild West.

Both grey and black tattoos, and full back pieces are timeless classics and make the perfect combination.

Cowboy Skull Tattoo on the Back
  • New School Tattoos


The style may be called, “New School”, but it originally made it’s way onto the tattoo scene as early as the 70’s and has developed through time.

New School tattoos are characterized by thick, bold outlines and bright colors, it makes the tattoo design seem almost cartoon-like.

Cowboy Skull Tattoo Ideas

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Cowboy Skull Tattoo
Cowboy Skull Tattoo