Unlike other tattoo styles, watercolor tattoos heavily feature bright and soft colors. Dark and bold lines take a backseat in this tattoo style. Some designs don’t even have a single line and simply rely on the colors to give the tattoo a shape and an identity.
Watercolor tattoos attempt to mimic freeform painting. They don’t have defined edges and the colors look like they’re still wet and dripping on the skin. Those unfamiliar with this tattoo style might actually think that a watercolor tattoo is just a badly done tattoo with messy colors.
There are two kinds of watercolor tattoos: watercolor tattoos with a black outline and watercolor tattoos without a black outline.
The former relies on black lines to produce the identity or image of the tattoo. Some feature a full-fledged outline which serves as the base of the tattoo. While others feature just enough lines to make the design discernible.
The latter is obviously the opposite, featuring not a single trace of black lining and relying exclusively on the coloring to make the main image stand out. As for the coloring, you can have a full range of bright colors or just a few splashes of colors that look like they were applied using paintbrushes. It depends on the design. But if you want a really eye-catching watercolor tattoo, we recommend a full-color style, especially if you want a particularly large design.
Some tattoo artists say that a watercolor tattoo doesn’t age well because of the lack of an outline or bold and well-defined lines. They say it would fade quickly and simply look like a blob of colors with no shape after 10 years or so. However, those in favor of watercolor tattoos say that it won’t really come to that because people usually get touch-ups every few years. A number of things can also contribute to how a tattoo ages – like frequent direct sunlight exposure. Watercolor tattoos haven’t been around long enough to give us an idea how well they age, though. This is the risk that comes with watercolor tattoos.
When it comes to watercolor tattoo designs, you have loads of options to choose from. You’re not limited to just a specific category of designs. You can go with animal-based watercolor tattoos, a popular choice among men. You can go with abstract or geometric tattoos. You can go with flowers, compasses, clocks, and even skulls. Just choose the design that best represents the meaning that you want to project.
It’s imperative that you look for a tattoo artist that specializes in watercolor tattoos. Due to the style’s popularity, there are tattoo artists who are quick to tell clients they can handle watercolor tattoos even if they don’t really have much experience with the style. So make sure that your tattoo artist has a great background when it comes to watercolor tattoos.