Though Death has existed since the beginning of time, the usual image of Grim Reaper appeared in Medieval times when the world faced the death in the form of wars and plagues. In most cultures, the Grim Reaper is commonly portrayed as a shady skeletal figure wearing a long black robe and carrying a sharp scythe which Death needs to collect the souls of the dead and show them the path to the afterlife. Some believe that the Grim Reaper just causes the death by simply touching the victim and doesn’t guide the soul. In different myths, the Grim Reaper can be shown as male or as female.
The Symbolism behind the Grim Reaper Tattoos
As a part of transcendental the Death is something you can’t see or touch, therefore, its visual portraying may be the way of accepting the inevitable and overcoming the fear of unknown. The tattoo culture isn’t an exception here. Grim Reaper tattoo carries different meanings both positive and negative:
- Bravery and courage
- Evil and darkness
- A symbol of Good luck
- Transience of life
- The beginning of another life
- The memory of the loved one who passed away
The Grim Reaper is quite interesting tattoo design itself, but it can be complemented by other images as well. Here are some of the common designs which you can add:
- Clock, watch, hourglass
- Playing cards
- Woman’s portrait
- Smoke or fire
- Skulls and skeletons
- Lettering and quotes
- The Moon
- Sword or Knife
- Palms and Sea
- Candle or torch
- Wings, etc.
The Features of Grim Reaper Tattoos
First thing first you have to completely sure in getting inked with a Grim Reaper tattoo. While commonly depicted in black ink, there are a dime a dozen interesting, colorful tattoos as well. If you are a daring person, go for a realistic Reaper image which appears to be more impressive. Still, we’ve rounded some of the most appropriate tattoo styles to implement any Grim Reaper tattoo idea:
- Old School
- Traditional and Neo-Traditional
- Black and gray realism
- Trash Polka
- Hyper-realism or 3D
Usually, Grim Reaper tattoos vary from medium to big-sized, so better place them on the back, side, thigh, arms etc. However, small inks are also possible and look just fine on the hand, wrist or even finger. Whatever Grim Reaper tattoo design you choose, it will be the great reminding to live your life fully and not fear of anything.
Grim Reaper Meaningful Ideas
Typically depicted with a skull instead of face carrying the infamous scythe this wicked Grim Reaper arm tattoo is creepy and awesome.
Thanks to fantastic shading it seems that the Grim Reaper appears from nowhere. Holding his scythe above the head, reaper looks dark and frightening.
We are chilled by this awesome cold black and gray 3D-realistic Grim Reaper tattoo on the forearm. The drawing depth enchants and frightens at the same time.
The author of his astonishing leg piece caught Grim reaper’s profile and depicted him in a common loose black robe and appalling scythe. Guess it’s not finished yet but even on this level looks fantastic.
The flawless job of the undoubtedly talented master made this highly detailed grim reaper leg piece possible. Are you that brave to look straight into the eyes of death and do not fear? Well, the girl in this tattoo image is brave and the whole tattoo idea is about fearlessness.
This gloomy, grim reaper shoulder tattoo is dope with all its shadowing and well-done outlines of every single detail. And the message is quite clear – don’t be afraid of and don’t forget that the Death will come for you one day.
This outstanding Blackwork gothic reaper skull tattoo has the deep dark shading and cool detailed image. The chains encircling the reaper perfectly complement the tattoo.
One more absolutely amazing blackwork reaper tattoo stands out on the calf. Thanks to pale skin of the bearer the tattoo look is even more contrasting and frightening.
If you’ve come up with the idea of a grim reaper tattoo, the best way to implement it is to ink a traditional image of Angel of Death in a long black hooded cloak holding his scythe above the head.
You may like to get tatted up with this wonderful black and white contrasting Grim Reaper tattoo. What a professional portrayal of Reaper’s evil and dark nature! We especially love those tribal elements decorating his nightmarish scythe.
Bet you couldn’t even imagine that the typically black and gray Grim Reaper can be depicted in such cute way – with flowers and hearts images. Looks nice and feminine!
The “Harry Potter” version of the Grim Reaper is presented in this fantastic Dotwork tattoo encircled by the quote: “Greeting death as an old friend, they departed this life as equals”.
Placed on the calf this cool tattoo shows the harbinger of life’s among leaves and the full moon. Great shading and detailed skull fully transmit his lifeless skeletal gaze that haunting you.
Despite all negative significances, the Grim Reaper tattoo may play the role of a good charm and enable to protect the bearer. This terrifyingly beautiful Grim Reaper artwork shows him faceless carrying a sword instead of a scythe.
This astonishing hyper-realistic sleeve depicts the scythe bearer in transparent veil instead of familiar black robe looking at the clock which is the symbol of the fleeting life. Fantastic piece!
When it comes to death-themed tattoos, it’s hard to avoid ancient Egypt because back in the day Egyptians had some strong beliefs in the afterlife, honored the god of dead Anubis. Here’s a nice take on Grim Reaper tattoo in a pharaoh mask in Traditional Style.
We are blown away by this real badass artwork picturing a Grim Reaper with skulls. If you want to make an accent on a sinister look of Grim Reaper, consider highlighting the eye sockets of the skull with red color.
Grim Reaper decorated with roses and lilies creates some stylish and girlish arm piece. For many people tattooing this entity is simply the way to remind themselves of some essential things in life like enjoying it while you can!
Reminding a ghost of an old lady in a night cap somewhere from the nineteenth century this cool Dotwork tattoo of Grim Reaper holding an old-fashioned lantern brings the medieval Christian idea of reflection on mortality that is in Latin “Memento Mori”.
What hides behind the grieving woman’s mask? Well, there’s a grin of evil Grim Reaper waiting for his time to grab the soul of a dying person. Cannot help to mention this beauteous adornment behind Reaper’s head.
Using different shades of gray, the tattoo artist made a fascinating Grim Reaper arm ink that reminds a pencil draft. The tattoo is as gloom and devoid of colors as Death itself.
Shrouded in his lifeless cloak, the Grim Reaper creates some truly amazing tattoo. Highly detailed and softly shaded the image of the skull looks so real thanks to the white highlights. Terrific piece!
The evil Grim Reaper tattoo design conveys a simple message that no one can escape the Death as it is a part of life cycle. From this side of view, even the most sinister Grim Reaper tattoos may inspire you to cherish your life.
The familiar image of Grim Reaper revealed itself in a late fourteenth century when Europe went to wars, famines and plagues. Death literally scythed people. Here we can see a visual embodiment of those times horror in the form of solid black Linework back tattoo.
The Traditional style works fine for a real badass girl if she wants to wear some really macabre Grim Reaper hand tattoo in color.
This super clean Linework piece that illustrates the Angel of Death holding a shovel instead of the commonly seen scythe and an hourglass that symbolizes the transience of life reminds a gravure from medieval books.
Grim Reaper themed sleeve is a good idea for people who want to sport a large tattoo. The prevailing black ink with some white highlights creates the skeletal figure of Angel of Death carrying a heart. The tight tattoo!
This funny, intense black Traditional tattoo with a grim reaper chilling out on holiday carrying a palm tree instead of a scythe and drinking a cocktail means that no one will die as long the Death is on vacation.
Is it just me or you can see this Grim Reaper flirting with us through this ace tattoo as well? Hiding her sinister grin behind the fan decorated with snakes, the Death creates some truly impressive black ink piece.
The ominous image of Grim Reaper is accompanied by a fogged night cemetery and a clock symbolizing the transience of life. Just simply looking at this horror piece creeps me out.
Here’s a fantastic black and gray Grim Reaper with a clock tattoo and lettering that says: “In Life, all you have is Time, in time, all you have is Death”. Nice way to motivate yourself not to waste precious time.
This one is an utterly hilarious colorful grim reaper tattoo. Dressed up in a bright Hawaiian shirt carrying a gun and a well-known scythe the Grim Reaper is on his extended vacation and obviously not going to do his work. Well, lucky us!
There are just bold outlines of an awesome future tattoo inked on the chest, but even on this point, it looks so cool with this burning candle in a portable flashlight that is a symbol of fleeting life and chains that connect life and death.
As for me, this Grim Reaper is trying too hard to look spooky but looks funny instead. Accompanied by all these spider nets and some blood drops on the edge of his scythe, the solid black tattoo with the dark soul carrier finds its place on the leg.
Interesting in shading yet with a minimum of details this small Grim Reaper tattoo that is portrayed with a burning candle and a knife appears to be looking for another victim’s soul to take away.
Unlike the usual skull instead of face this cold blue Grim Reaper is faceless. His long white cloak and skeletal hands holding the sharp scythe can put anyone into fear. The full moon behind his back adds some ominous atmosphere to the whole composition.
This mind-blowing black and gray Grim Reaper with angel tattoo full sleeve represents this invisible link between life and death pointing out that all the things in the world are finite.
Inspired by Rorschach psych test this saturated black Dotwork tattoo shows a sinister image of the Grim Reaper in a hat with a scythe behind his back. The whole point of Rorschach ink test is that you can see something completely different.
Performed in two basic colors black and gray this one is so awesome that even the Grim Reaper himself would definitely want to get inked with such tattoo!
Boys remain boys, even when it comes to such serious topic as Death. This Neo-Traditional tattoo presents a Grim Reaper with a body of the super sexy lady. Looks cool anyway!
The tattoo master absolutely nailed the snake scales. This quarter sleeve tattoo kills with its excellence and horrifies as well. The crowned Grim Reaper tattoo is for those who see death as a natural part of life cycle and who is daring enough to wear it!
Dotwork style always adds super cool image graininess to tattoos. This Grim Reaper reminding a character from a cartoon walks with his horrifying scythe among the clouds and signifies death.
The tattoo of this lifeless carrier of souls is obviously for those people who don’t get goose pumps once they hear the word ‘Reaper’. Would you dare to get inked with this fantastic back piece showing the Grim Reaper with the banner “Do not fear”?
This interesting small bold black Traditional Grim Reaper tattoo is rather cute than scary. Still, it is perceived as a dark servant of hell and heaven, the entity that takes the life away.
If you are a big fan of “Sons of Anarchy”, you may like to get inked with their noted patch of Grim Reaper wielding the scythe and a fired up bomb.
The colorful Grim Reaper and an anvil are depicted on both hands in Traditional style. These simple tattoos may give the wearer a reminding to be hard-working and appreciate all the gifts that life sends us generously.
You may find stories in which some brave men tricked Death and stayed alive. This enormous clean Tribal back piece portrays Grim Reaper playing cards with an ordinary man for his life. This themed tattoo symbolizes good luck.
Depicted without his infamous lifeless cloak this awesome Grim reaper tattoo shows him as a skeleton with wings and a scythe. Neat work!