31 Horrific Grim Reaper Tattoo Designs

Think that grim reaper tattoos are just for gothic lovers and Halloween fanatics – think again! While death and it’s infamous messenger are essentially a seasonal part of our world, they are also a pretty common element incorporated into tattoo designs as well. Surprisingly, this tattoo is often worn by women, despite the dark and deep meaning. Most of the tattoo designs featuring the grim reaper tend to be in somber colors and considering the grim theme tends to be big in size due to the details.

  1. This is great placement for this image because it fits his shoulder well and doesn’t seem to large or overbearing. It’s a pretty substantial image yet it seems to go well there. The shading on this is really great and the detail is out of this world good.

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2. This has a little darker shading to it. They used a little bit of red to offset it but otherwise it’s rather dark and ominous. They did a great job shading in order to establish contrast. Notice the three dimensional look of the hooded cloak. the wings have nice details in them as well as do the hands and face. It’s a pretty large tattoo. Would you convert it into a full blown sleeve?

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3. Sides tattoos are pretty gnarly spots because they hit fatty tissue and in her case, ribs as well. This is a pretty classic example but it’s still well done with great imagery and details.

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4. This is a fascinating if not creepy whole back tattoo. There’s quite a bit going on but notice that they don’t vary too much in the color scheme. This helps promote the eery look and feel to the whole piece.

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The majority of people acknowledge the grim reaper as the iconic symbol of death. However, in many cultures and folklore, it is nothing more than the chaperone into the afterlife. The long hair, the grim expression and the sharp scythe makes for a grim appearance and could strike a chord of fear in anyone. Though, in many religions, this is not the original appearance of the reaper. In fact, the only similarity is the long, black hooded robe.

5. The artist totally nailed the face. It seems so deep and those peering eyes are beyond creepy. They did a great job with the contrast and the shading. There is so much detail in his robe.

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6. It’s a little bit bleak as far a the quote goes but otherwise it has nice coloring and details.

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7. The pop of red really brings into focus the entirety of the piece.

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Though dark and lifeless, grim reaper tattoos can be quite the fascinating design element. Many of which, capture details and emotions that only this type of design element could. There are many stories and legends that talk about the appearance of the grim reaper right before death occurs. More religious people have claimed to have witnessed a reaper just before someone close to them passed away in their presence. As such, you may notice a grim reaper present in a tattoo memorial.

8. We thought this was pretty interesting given that the hair isn’t necessarily red. It has sort of a reddish and pink tint to it. It’s still very intense and pretty creepy but if they had stuck with the reds on that are on the bones, it would have been a lot scarier. Do you think he’s coming out of this guy? That’s what it appears like to us.

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9. He’s just playing a simple game of cards. They did a really nice job with showing a lot of contrast in the robe.

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10. This has some good three dimensional qualities to it. They utilized their color scheme really well to show a lot of depth within the picture.

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There are many ways that you can feature the grim reaper when it comes to a tattoo design. Some show him with a hood and the ever present scythe in various positions. Some feature the reaper in a faceless manner, with hollow eyes. While a skeleton or skull can be used to represent the grim reaper, they are most often accompanied into the design with the reaper. Since grim reaper tattoos are associated with death, artists tend to be creative in their designs – though many do restrict the colors to gray and black. However, you will see shades of red and deep oranges blended in around the reaper – giving the final piece a 3D feel that really pops.

11. They did a great job with showing depth here. Often in these images, the face is deep set within the cloak and this is an excellent example.

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12. Excellent back piece even if it is a little dark. We can’t tell if there are colors in this art because of the photo’s black and white nature but it does make for an interesting piece to discuss. What are your thoughts on this imagery?

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13. You can tell by the raised nature of the piece that the artist penetrated pretty deep to get the ink in. It’s fairly red so this is probably new. There are some good lines going on to really embody the character.

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14. This is a pretty wild scene. They did an excellent job with contrast and the shading in the clouds is on point.

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The legend behind the grim reaper has been linked to stories from the Bible, mainly the of Four Horsemen during the Apocalypse – the fourth horsemen being none other than Death himself. With that being said, you will see many reaper tattoos that showcase the grim reaper on a horse that is either a completely black or a ghostly. While most cultures view the reaper as negative symbol, surprisingly Romans considered it a good omen.

15. Check out the extensive detail in this image.

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16. They used some excellent forms of shading to really offset the skull.

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17. This is almost so dark it’s hard to see all of the details but check out how he shaded the background behind the guy. It’s pretty good even if it is a bit hard to see.

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Other symbolisms attached to grim reaper tattoos may include bravery, new life, luck, reality, fragility. While these types of tattoos mostly represent the bad side of things, many use it to symbolize being cold and emotionless towards pain and suffering. On the flip side, reaper tattoos could also mean the completion of the circle of life since many believe that after death there is also another kind of beginning. Being that death or anything associated with it, inadvertently means that a person has a sense of courage, grim reaper tattoos represents fearlessness to many people. Many times soldiers or professional fighters will opt to get this tattoo just to remind them to fight with all of their will and soul.

18. Check out the facial details. This took a while to construct because every inch of the image has so much detail in it.

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19. This is another really well done piece with excellent contrast and shading. The artist did a good job of creating the moon to look really far off.

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20. Here is another classic example with really good line detail.

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Grim reaper tattoos could be done in several ways from gothic to a very artistic perspective. Sometimes the motif could be done symbolically with vague designs depicting a more abstract reaper. If you are thinking of getting a grim reaper tattoo, then you are well advised to do your homework before getting one.

Here are some more images of Horrifying Grim Reaper Tattoo Designs:

21. The blue hues really make this piece an eye catching work of art. The artist did a great job with the cloak over the skull in making it seem like its hanging over his head and could be easily swayed in the wind.

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22. This is an interesting attempt at making it seem as though the image is inside of him. What are your thoughts on it?

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23. This piece has some really great shading aspects to it.


24. Check out these vibrant colors. it really makes the piece pop. There is so much variation in the detail. It’s a very interesting piece of art. The artist did a great job making the cloak appear like it is moving.

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25. This is an interesting choice in wording but the color of the cloak is very eye catching.

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26. The artist did a really good job with the eyes. They showed a lot of depth within them. The entire thing has great line detail and shading. They really did a good job with the coloring as well.

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27. The vivid detail in every part of this is on point.

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28. This makes for a pretty ominous scene.

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29. Here is another excellent job in shading in order to show contrast and depth.

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30. The bold colors really makes the image pop. Check out the excellent shading to show the teeth within the skull. They chose purple for the chains which is cool because it’s not the typical grey look. Notice the dots around the sun. It’s a neat added detail.

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31. The purple flower really ties it all together. There’s also some purple in the name and the number. The detail in the entire thing is stellar.

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32. The detail in every part of this is pretty rad. They used white to show contrast in order to show the holes in the cloak which was a really cool idea. There are also hints of red, black and grey. Does anyone think there might be some purple in the cloak? If so, that’s a genius move on the artist’s part. The detail in this is so well done and was done so skillfully.

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