If you’d like a recommendation for a watercolor artist near you, click here to ask us!

Perhaps you have been considering getting your first tattoo, or maybe you are trying to think of something a little different for your next tattoo. Well, have you ever considered a watercolor tattoo? Watercolor tattoos are created utilizing a unique method of tattooing that provides you with an image with subtle shading, gentle color, yet vibrant hues.

Unlike standard tattoos, watercolor tattooing typically does not begin with a hard, defined outline in black ink, but rather the image is free formed and colored in a somewhat lighter shading to create the appearance of a watercolor painting. While these tattoos can look a bit chaotic at times, they are very controlled and calculated.

Although the shading of the ink is a little lighter than a regular tattoo, these tattoos are still permanent and long lasting. Most tattoos can use a little touch up after several years, and water color tattoos are no different than a regular tattoo in that sense, although they may require attention a few years sooner than a regular tattoo.

As with any tattoo, the possibilities are limited only by the skill of the tattoo artist that is doing the work and your imagination. Splashes of color that look like brush strokes, or dripping, running, splattered paint, or realistic portrait quality images are possible with this technique. Watercolor tattooing opens a whole new world of possibilities for the tattoo enthusiast.

A lot of people ask how long a watercolor tattoo lasts in comparison with other styles? If done correctly by a good artist, watercolor tattoos should last 20 to 30 years at least. You may need to get a touch up here and there like with any tattoo, but that’s the case with most styles. Not having black in the watercolor tattoo is one reason it may not last as long as say a traditional tattoo, but the trade off is something unique that many people don’t have.

Some of the most popular watercolor tattoos are watercolor flower tattoos or watercolor rose tattoos. Other popular designs include the watercolor tree tattoos and watercolor hummingbird tattoos. Less popular examples of the technique involve watercolor butterfly tattoos and watercolor crayon tattoos. Some people refer to watercolor tattoos as abstract, but they don’t necessarily have to be. The watercolor technique is one that most good tattoo artists can accomplish, as they just avoid any hard lines or edges and make it look somewhat like a painting. You’ve probably read that these tattoos age badly, but don’t believe everything you’ve read about the negatives of watercolor tattooing. The technique is so new that people haven’t seen any effects of aging, so they really don’t know what they are talking about to be honest. If you choose a good watercolor tattoo artist to do your piece, please be assured that it won’t age any worse than a regular tattoo.

Deanna Wardin is one person who has said in the past that watercolor tattoos won’t age well but she said “It is true that watercolor tattoos with little to no black, and all soft colors will probably fade much quicker than a traditional tattoo, but here is the kicker… watercolor tattoos can and should use high contrast and a black base. That way if some of the colors begin to fade, there is still a skeleton to the piece and it will still read well as it ages.”

Gene Coffey is a watercolor tattoo artist that uses more of the technique Deanna spoke of, but Gene is concerned over the amount of bad watercolor tattoos being done by inexperienced artists. He advises that you find an artist with a lot of experience and an extensive portfolio, because a bad watercolor tattoo can be tough to cover up. Sasha Unisex is another skilled watercolor tattoo artist. Her type of watercolor tattoos differs from most in that she uses tightly composed watercolors in her work. A lot of them use black lines so they shouldn’t fade as quickly as pieces without black.

While there are many watercolor tattoo artists around that are able to create beautiful watercolor tattoos, Amanda Wachob is one of our favorites. No surprise, Amanda is currently booked full for the foreseeable future but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate her work. Amanda is based out of Brooklyn, NY and is known for her creative approach and “outside the box” thinking about tattooing. Be on the look out for openings in her schedule if you’re looking for a watercolor tattoo done by one of the best. Ondresh is another skilled watercolor artist who has a long waiting list but would be worth checking out. He works out of the Czech Republic though, so you’d need to budget in travel expenses if you’re sold on his work. Here are some other artists we’d consider contacting and below are some images of good watercolor work done by some of the best watercolor tattoo artists in the world:

Adam Kremer – Prague, Czech Republic – View Work

Aga Yadou – Poznan, Poland – View Work

Aleksandra Katsan – Tattooed Paradise, Kyiv, Ukraine – View Work

Aleksey Platunov – St Petersburg, Russia – View Work

Jacob Pederson – Crooked Moon Tattoo, Helsingborg, Sweden – View Work

Julian Oh – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – View Work

Klaim – Street Tattoo, Ile-de-France, France – View Work

Koray Karagozler – Galata Tattoo, Istanbul, Turkey – View Work

Krist Karloff – New Breed Tattoos, West Lafayette, IN – View Work

Lianne Moule – Immortal Ink, Essex, England – View Work

Madame Chan – AKA, Berlin, Germany – View Work

Marcus Lund – 7th Avenue Tattoo, Tampa, FL – View Work

Natalia Borgia – Beaver Tattoo, Woodhaven, NY – View Work

Niko Inko – Street Tattoo, Ile-de-France, France – View Work

Petra Hlaváčková – Bobek Tattoo, Prague, Czech Republic – View Work

Phil Kwan – Vancouver, British Columbia – View Work

Phil Lambert – Sole Tattoo, Salt Lake City, UT – View Work

Radu Rusu – Iron & Ink, Copenhagen, Denmark – View Work

Russell Van Schaick – Hart and Huntington Tattoo, Orlando, FL – View Work

Tyago Compiani – El Cuervo Ink, Curitiba, Brazil – View Work

Victor Octaviano – Santo André, Brazil – View Work

Yanina Viland – St. Petersburg, Russia – View Work