Colorful tattoos have enjoyed popularity over the recent years, with the watercolor tattoo style emerging. Watercolor tattoos are whimsical, delicate designs that feature pops of soft color without being contained by strong lines.
Watercolor tattoos are definitely alluring, and if you want a colorful design for your next tattoo, going the watercolor route could be for you.
What’s The Difference Between Color Tattoos And Watercolor Tattoos?
First off, there is a difference between getting a tattoo filled in with color and opting for a watercolor tattoo. Standard color tattoos tend to be a lot more saturated in style, while watercolor tattoo hues are subtler.
“While normal tattoos are generally made up of many areas of solid colors that are all merged together to form one larger image; watercolor tattoos are created with much more gradual coloring. These subtle gradients where the merging of colors is much less pronounced helps to create the desired look, which is usually to resemble the characteristics of a classic watercolor painting,”Authority Tattoo
Types Of Watercolor Tattoos
You can get super creative with this style of tattooing. You can start with splashes of watercolors as a backdrop for a simple blackwork design or a meaningful quote. Floral tattoos can really come alive through the watercolor style. An animal tattoo can take on a new sense of realism with watercolors, think of a flamingo done in many soft shades of pink, for example.
However, colorful tattoos aren’t the same as black ink tattoos, and different precautions need to be taken.
Colors Can Fade Faster Than Black
Black ink and colorful inks just aren’t the same composition, and our bodies can react differently to different types of ink.
For example, red ink is often the cause of allergic reactions in tattooees.
“Red tattoo ink is troublesome enough science has studied the dermatological problems from red ink and their potential medical intervention solutions. The problems go beyond just skin reactions, though, with actual cancer entering this cautionary tale,”Byrdie
All tattoos fade, and no matter what style of tattoo you get, there will be a time when you have to go back to your tattooer to get a touch up. However, colors have been known to fade quicker than black ink tattoos.
So, with the lack of dark and defined lines, once the watercolor ink starts fading, will the tattoo design just become a blob of color?
The ultimate factor when it comes to a tattoo’s longevity is whether or not you look after your new ink and your skin, and get tattooed by a skilled artist.
4 Tips For Making Your Watercolor Tattoo Last
1. Choose An Experienced Tattoo Artist
Don’t skimp when it comes to a tattoo. Choose an experienced tattooer who has put in the hours with watercolor designs. They’ll know the best way to approach your chosen design – and give you advice when something isn’t going to work – so that you leave the studio with a tattoo you’ll love for years to come.
2. Have A Base Of Black To Keep Your Watercolor Tattoo Together
The high contrast of a black base in your watercolor tattoo can help your design age well. As the colors begin to fade, there’ll still be a basic structure to define the work.
3. Do A Patch Test
This is often recommended for red ink tattoos, as this color is well-known to cause allergic reactions in some people. Having an allergic reaction to tattoo ink isn’t a fun experience, and can result in a tattoo that struggles to heal well.
If you have sensitive skin or some allergies and are worried about possible side effects from red ink in your watercolor tattoo design, have a patch test. Twenty four hours before your appointment your tattooist will put a dot of ink on your skin to see if you react negatively.
4. Take Care Of Your Tattoo
Follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions! Ensuring that your fresh tattoo heals well is such a key step to a lasting tattoo.
Wash your tattoo with antibacterial soap and follow that up with a fragrance-free moisturizer. Before touching your tattoo, make sure your hands are clean – this will prevent the transfer of bacteria. Then, you just have to wait for your tat to heal.
“…colored tattoos take longer to heal than black and white ones, or if there’s any trauma to the skin, you can also expect the healing process to last longer,”Saved Tattoo
Never forget your sunscreen! The sun’s rays can wreak havoc on tattoos – especially colorful tattoos – so always lather up with sunscreen before heading out with your ink exposed.
5 Small Watercolor Tattoo Ideas
You don’t have to go big with a watercolor tattoo; a tiny tattoo done in this style can steal the show.
1. Watercolor Flower Tattoos
Flowers are a popular choice when it comes to watercolor tattoos as this subject is a great chance to get creative with colors. Cherry blossoms with their soft pink hues, red roses gradually going from deep red to lighter shades, and the bright yellow of sunflowers are just a few of the flower options. Flowers also have deep symbolism attached to them, so a flower watercolor tattoo can be a meaningful tattoo.
2. Watercolor Butterfly Tattoos
Butterfly tattoos are no longer a trend that was left in the 90s – modern tattoo styles have revived this subject and the results are stunning.
This insect’s popularity in the tattoo world doesn’t just stem from their beautiful hues, but also from their meaning. A butterfly tattoo can represent transformation, femininity, and beauty.
3. Watercolor Hummingbird Tattoos
Just like butterflies, hummingbirds, too, are made up of mesmerizing colors that can translate beautifully into a watercolor tattoo.
“…the hummingbird has become a symbol of the strength it takes to rise above trouble and hardship,”Tat Ring
If you want a colorful design that reminds you to see the positivity in life and to live life to the fullest, this tiny bird could be the tattoo choice for you.
4. Watercolor Lightning Bolt Tattoo
If you want more structure to your tattoo, you can choose a distinct outline for your design and incorporate softer elements inside the outline. For example, a strong lightning bolt shape can have soft watercolor flowers within it.
5. Watercolor Quote Or Single Word Tattoos
A stroke of watercolor shades on your skin could be the perfect backdrop for your favorite literary quote or powerful word.
Adding a watercolor design element to an otherwise simple word tattoo can take your design to new heights.
There are so many ways to go when it comes to watercolor tattoos. Let your creativity loose and create a permanent artwork that you’ll love on your body.