Watercolour Tattoos: Just a Passing Fad?

Watercolour Tattoos: Out With the Old, In With the New?

Watercolour tattoos are all the rage right now!

New school styles illustrative styles – such as sketchstyle, brushstroke, and of course, watercolour! – are taking the world by storm. Watercolour tattoos, in particular, feature colours and designs that look just like watercolour paintings – hence the name! They also tend to be partial to animal and floral designs, as well as abstract elements and brushstrokes.

Traditional tattooing was heavily influenced by Polynesian tribal art and thus featured bold black lines and less colour. But Japanese Irezumi tattoos, which use more colours and employ lots more storytelling were already quite popular in Europe thanks to the British aristocracy. Eventually both of these styles combined to give way to the classic or ‘Old School American‘ style – still featuring bold black lines, but with added layers of colour and touch of storytelling to tie it all together.

New school illustrative designs often break free of the traditional styles and tend towards much more fluidity in the art, which not only gives you an amazingly artistic tattoo – it also gives artists a new style to play with!

 

Read more about tattoo specializations in The Many Styles of Tattooing

 

Modern tattooing sees far more experimentation – both in traditional and new school styles. For instance, traditional abstract art led to the style trash polka tattoos which often features large red brushstrokes going through them, which are also found in some illustrative designs.

Trash polka tattoo from Purple Monk
Studio: Purple Monk

 

Studio: Purple Monk

 

Visit Purple Monk to book an appointment today!

 

Though traditional tattoos are also changing with the times, they do tend to stick to having a strong black base – something watercolour tattoos seem to be going back to now!

 

Ready to get inked? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment today!

 

Watercolour Tattoo Designs

But before we get into the whole ‘to get a black base, or to not get a black base’ debate, here are some amazing watercolour tattoo designs to inspire you!

Watercolour tattoo from Hobo Studio
Studio: Hobo

 

Visit Hobo to book an appointment today!

 

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

Visit Verve to book an appointment today!

 

Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

For something a little more unique, try combining a few styles, like this gorgeous geometric watercolour lion tattoo!

Lion watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

While animal watercolour tattoo design such as the Phoenix and Japanese koi fish tend to be some of the most popular, floral patterns are equally in demand.

Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz
Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

Visit Purple Monk to book an appointment today!

 

Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

Watercolour tattoos also combine beautifully with words, from quotes and lyrics to names and dedications.

Watercolour tattoo with words from Hobo Studio
Studio: Hobo

 

Visit Hobo to book an appointment today!

 

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

If you’re looking for something more muted, you could go for a grey or brown watercolour tattoo.

Waterolour grey tattoo from Hobo Studio
Studio: Hobo

 

Brown watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

Watercolour portraits also make for gorgeous tattoos. We love these puppy dedication tattoos!

Watercolour portrait tattoos from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

Visit Verve to book an appointment today!

 

Here’s another portrait tattoo that uses classic lines, new school illustration, and watercolour to create an interesting and stunning portrait of Tom Waits.

Tom Waits Watercolour tattoo from Hobo Studio
Studio: Hobo

 

Not quite ready for a large detailed piece? Start with a small watercolour tattoo and you can get something more extensive when you’re ready.

Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

Still too much? Try an extra small watercolour tattoo!

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

Visit The Jhaiho Tattoo Sizing Guide to learn how to measure a tattoo and select the right size.

 

Do Watercolour Tattoos Fade Faster?

Watercolour tattoos have really taken off over the last 5-10 years, which unfortunately means we haven’t had the chance to see how well they age just yet.

While all tattoos will fade over time, some – especially ones with little to no black in them – might fade faster than regular black tattoos.

And that’s where the black base debate kicks in! To counter the fading issue, tattoo artists generally start a watercolour tattoo with a black base and ink the colours in after. This way, even if the softer colours fade, your tattoo will still look good decades later.

Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

Visit Purple Monk to book an appointment today!

 

Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

Japanese watercolour tattoo designs such as samurai and koi fish draw inspiration from Irezumi tattoos, which usually use a lot of vibrant colours.

Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

But if you prefer, you can opt for a much darker black base to go with your Japanese watercolour tattoo.

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

Visit Verve to book an appointment today!

 

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

Red inks generally tend to sit quite well with darker skin tones. While lighter, softer colours are often associated with watercolour tattoos, darker reds can also create just as beautiful of an effect – especially on dark skin!

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

If you’re not looking for a very intense black base tattoo, you could also go for something with thinner linework.

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

Watercolour tattoo from Purple Monk Tattooz
Studio: Purple Monk Tattooz

 

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

Watercolour tattoo from Verve Studio
Studio: Verve

 

Watercolour Tattoos: Pricing and Pain

Colour tattoos generally cost more than black and white designs, and the same is true for watercolour tattoos. They also generally take longer to ink, since the process will require the use of a wider range of needles and inks, which means your artist will need to keep switching between them during inking.

And that means you might experience more pain when getting a watercolour tattoo. Some colours won’t sit well on certain skin tones, so your artist might need to go over the area multiple times to get the ink to enter your skin. Additionally, some inks – such as white – are usually done at the end of a session by which point your skin is sensitive and your tolerance for pain is considerably lower, causing you to feel the pain more acutely.

Though watercolour tattoos might fade faster, you could still get one and have it touched up later on. While some artists offer free touch ups, many do charge for them so you might need to spend a little extra on your tattoo than you originally planned to. If your tattoo artist has done a good job, however, it’s a lot easier to fix fading tattoos.

Which, of course, means making sure that you find a good artist with great technique who specializes in watercolour to ink your tattoo.

 

Looking for a good watercolour tattoo artist near you? Visit Tattoo Artists in Bangalore: Finding the Best Artists in Town or simply head on over to jhaiho.com to find the right artist and book your appointment today!

 

Besides artist skill and technique, other things such as quality of materials used, size and design, and tattoo pre-care and aftercare, as well as sun exposure, skin quality and age, and skin damage can also affect how quickly a tattoo fades.

So taking good care of your watercolour tattoo is a big part of what will affect how it heals and ages.

 

For more tattoo questions and concerns, visit Tattooing 101: Everything About Inking – Explained!

 

Should I Get a Watercolour Tattoo?

We can’t deny the aesthetic appeal of a pure watercolour tattoo, but we must caution you that getting one might mean a touch-up every now and then to keep the colours looking fresh and bright. If your artist starts with a black base, it’s much easier to touch it up since the structure of the tattoo design remains intact even if the colours fade.

 

How to Get a Watercolour Tattoo

Here are a few tips to getting the best out f your watercolour tattoo:

  1. Get consulted: Meet with your artist at least once before getting inked to discuss your tattoo design, cost, and get some tips about preparing for your session. They’ll be able to give you advice on how to go about getting your watercolour tattoo.
  2. Speak freely: Tell your artist about yourself! The more they know about you, the more uniquely they can customize your tattoo so it suits you perfectly. Your design ideas will affect how your tattoo turns out – including the size, colours, and detailing.
  3. Stay sober: Refrain from drinking or ingesting any drugs for up to 48 hours before your appointment, as these substances can affect how the tattoo sits in your skin and how well you heal.
  4. Keep your artist informed: Inform your artist if you are on any medication, especially blood thinners. Also inform them about any health issues you deal with, especially ones like diabetes. All of this affects how your tattoo turns out.
  5. Be on time: Try not to schedule too many other appointments around your tattoo session. Since your artist will need extra time to switch between a variety of materials while inking a watercolour tattoo, your session will probably take longer than estimated. So try not to rush your artist – unless you want to get a bad tattoo!
  6. Dress appropriately: Wear loose-fitting clothing so your artist can access the area to be tattooed easily and the ink won’t end up staining and ruining your clothes.
  7. Consider a black base: We know a pure watercolour tattoo is tempting, but unless you’re willing to spend on maintaining it, you might want to consider starting with a black base to keep it from losing details when it fades – and make it easier to touch up. And even if you’re not looking to spend on touch ups, the black base makes sure it looks good even if the colours fade.
  8. Don’t bargain: Discuss any price-related concerns in your consultation. After that, don’t bargain! Artists invest a lot of time and money into their craft and watercolour tattoos are more expensive to ink since they use more materials and require more time. Be sure to tip your artist when you’re done! A standard tip in the tattoo industry is 15-20% of your total bill.
  9. Follow proper tattoo care: Tattoo care begins right after you book your appointment. Keep the area to be tattooed clean and moisturized, stay sober and limit your caffeine intake, and follow the aftercare tips recommended by your artist. With watercolour tattoos, aftercare becomes extremely important to prevent it from fading too much, so be sure to follow your artist’s tips thoroughly!

 

Ready to get inked? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment today!

 

How to Care for a Tattoo

To make sure your tattoo always looks its best, you’re going to have to take good care of it. Especially while it’s healing! Caring for a tattoo means putting in a little extra effort to make sure it heals perfectly.

  1. Keep it clean: Make sure to cleanse and moisturize twice daily!
  2. Keep it dry: You might need to refrain from activities you might usually enjoy for up to four weeks while your tattoo heals. Since tattoos should not be exposed to water bodies, sweat, or too much heat, that rules out everything from exercising to swimming, spas, and saunas.
  3. Keep it covered: Tattoos are generally kept covered while they heal. Exposure to water, sun, dust, dirt, as well as the daily wear and tear that occurs when our skin is exposed could hinder the healing process. So it’s best to keep your tattoo covered while it heals.

 

For a full breakdown on how to care for a tattoo, visit The Jhaiho Tattoo Care Guide

 

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After finding some design inspiration, read about how Arpita uses colour to make her tattoos pop!

Have your own stories to tell? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment and get inked today!

* * *

Looking for more tattoo inspiration? Browse our site!

 

Looking for the right tattoo artist? Visit Tattoo Artists in Bangalore: Finding the Best Artists in Town

 

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