Everywhere you look, the goth revival is in full swing. It’s on the runways, in collections including those by Balenciaga, Rick Owens, and Givenchy. It’s on magazine covers: Kendall Jenner for Vogue Spain, Selena Gomez for Elle, and NYLON’s very own cover star Lily Collins. And Robert Pattinson in The Batman is the blockbuster tortured goth boy of the moment. TikTok is enamored with dark academia and gothcore looks that incorporate everything from Victorian corsets to chunky loafers and gothic nails. And celebrities such as Halsey and Phoebe Bridgers, not to mention the rise of the goth girlfriend with Megan Fox and Kourtney Kardashian, are paving the way. Regardless of the time of year, you can embody the angsty, morbid style aesthetic — dark skies and gray clouds are by no means a prerequisite to dress for the dark side.
Given the rise of the dark aesthetic, certain aspects of gothic iconography are reappearing in mainstream culture — think black lipstick, lace, chunky black boots, and, of course, skulls. So it should come as no surprise that a skeleton hand tattoo trend recently went viral on TikTok. With over 100 million views on the #skeletonhand hashtag, the trend has included everything from hand-drawn sharpie tutorials to achieve the look at home to semi-permanent henna tattoos and permanent ink designs done by professional tattoo artists. As the style has taken off on social media, more and more people are turning to skeleton hands as the subject of their next body art pieces.
A skeleton hand tattoo can come in many different forms, the boldest being the one tattooed atop your own hand and fingers outlining the skeletal shape of your bones. And while there are many variations on that specific style of tattoo, the iconic image of a skeleton hand can find a home on any part of your body and be drawn doing whatever feels right to you — after all, there are numerous things a hand can get up to.
One of the more popular styles of skeleton hand tattoos comes in the form of pairing the dark, morbid imagery of a skeletal hand with something soft, feminine, or alive, such as a flower or butterfly. Hyper-realistic black and white imagery, as if someone was holding an x-ray over the back of your palm and fingers, is a go-to as well. Not to mention, grayscale and monotone drawings aren’t the only option. The use of color in a skeleton hand tattoo can also bring some interesting complexity and surprising contrast to the otherwise dark subject matter. Whatever your personal style, there’s a vast range of skeleton hand tattoos to choose from, everything from elegant and delicate to edgy and harsh.
If you are in search of some goth tattoo inspo and truly want to commit to the dark, moody aesthetic, NYLON picked out 16 of the best skeleton hand tattoo ideas to help you achieve the ultimate gothcore look.