Watercolor Tattoos – Where Gentle Splashes Of Colors Meet Ink

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Watercolor tattoo is not just a popular tattoo trend – it’s an art form in itself. With so many amazing tattoo artists and tattoo designers specializing in reinterpreting watercolor paintings into ink, it’s here to stay.

The base of the watercolor style are bright splashes of color in gradient which creates a gradual color fade-out.

The best part about the watercolor technique in tattoos is that it can be very well mixed with other styles such as geometric to create some amazing tattoo designs.

If you want to get a watercolor tattoo done, make sure to go get the tattoo design professionally done and later seek out a a watercolor tattoo specialist to get it inked.

The techniques employed in this kind of style are much more different than those in tattoos you normally see, so they need a different skillset to pull off.

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Watercolor Tattoo Style – History

Watercolor technique means using pigment dissolved in water and bound by a colloid agent so that it adheres to the working surface when applied with the brush.

Watercolor may be transparent or opaque and the term arises because, in varying degrees, water is always used in the largest proportion and, in the purest application of the medium, twice—both to mix pigments and to dilute the colours.

Because the style of watercolor tattoos is more delicate and fluid than “traditional” tattoos, it’s easy to think that they’re created with different equipment. However, watercolor tattoos are actually created in the same way and don’t require any different set-up.

The only difference is that an artist must learn a number of techniques—including blurs, bleeds, fades, and runs—to achieve a watercolor look, which is why it’s important to find an experienced and trained artist.

Techniques of Watercolor Tattoos

Watercolor tattoos are not done with special inks or needles. Every tattoo artist learns a variety of techniques as they study.

To create the watercolor look, an artist needs to practice softer lines and shading.

Typical techniques employed in watercolor tattoos include:

  • bleeding,
  • gradients,
  • splattering,
  • layering,
  • and scumbling.

These techniques elevate the appearance of your tattoo and give it a light and fluid look.

Some watercolor tattoos are fully saturated, but on a gradient, with an artist sometimes using multiple shades of the same color.

One other way is for artists to create these effects by actuallywatering down their inks, then layering them – just as a watercolor on canvas would work!

It’s all about practice, and studying the juggernauts in the watercolor world – it’s a technique that takes time to master.

How To Take Care Of Watercolor Tattoos

For all tattoos there is a usual tattoo healing timeline that you should be aware of.

Apart from that, there are some other factors to consider, too:

  • the value and tone of the skin. 
  • the skin’s frequency in the sun
  • how well one takes care of their skin.
  • the range of contrast in the tattoo such as subtle color and saturated tones.

Finally, the quality in the execution of the tattoo is the most important element. All of these and more play into the longevity of a tattoo.

How will watercolor tattoos age?

Watercolor tattooing is actually a young tattoo trends, and as such it’s not easy to talk about the longevity of the tattoos.

Now, a new trend in the tattoo community is bound to create some sort of debate and discussion, and watercolor tattoo is no stranger to that.

As with many new tattoo trends, the old school is disputing if these tattoos are a good investment because no bold black outlines or strong pigmented colors are used.

Thus, many believe these tattoos will ultimately fade more easily.

The issue is that since the style is so new we don’t have many examples of long-terms watercolor tattoos to use as evidence.

While we can see some forms of watercolor tattoos fading quickly with blurring, this may arguably be the fault of the artist themselves attempting a style they aren’t properly trained in.

With watercolor tattoos being so popular, there are few truly great watercolor tattooists that fully understand the medium yet.

An adamant supporter of the watercolor tattoo technique, Joel Wright argues that it’s not uncommon for all tattoos to need a touch up at some point, especially when it comes to the fading discussion.

Watercolor Tattoo Ideas

To help you with your research for your next tattoo design, below you will find our best watercolor tattoos from our tattoo guides.

Click on the headline to learn more about each tattoo symbol.

Take a look below to check them out all:

Are you looking for a custom watercolor tattoo design? We got you.

Our expert tattoo artists will provide a quick initial draft to get you going.
Happy inking ❤

Milena Petrovic

Milena Petrovic

Co-founder of Tattoo Stylist

About the author

Milena has decided to start an organization that will create a safe environment for everybody to get their first, second or third tattoo and to encourage young people to transform their ideas into tattoos safely, with talent and vision.

You can find her writing about tattoos on Quora or updating our Pinterest profile with awesome tattoo ideas!