The Ultimate Guide to Watercolor Tattoos

In Tattoos by Roxanne Adams

Watercolor tattoos become a massive hit and more and more tattoo fanatics are getting them. They look super trendy but also come with a few pros and cons. In case you’re lacking some information about watercolor tattoos, we’ve put together a quick guide with all the info you need.

What are watercolor tattoos?

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To simply explain what watercolor tattoos are, they are tattoos that depict watercolor paintings. They designed in such a way that they look like they were drawn on the body with watercolor paints. The colors are faded together so that they blend into each other, illustrating watercolor painting.

This tattoo technique is a great artistic expression compared to traditional tattooing. The watercolor tattoo trend has become huge over the last couple of years

How do tattoo artists get this effect?

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Some tattoo artist’s water down the ink in order to attain the watercolor effect. There are often more soft colors used with very little black ink as a base.

When tattoo artists work on watercolor tattoos they apply very little pressure to the skin so that they can get this effect. The pigment is thinly applied with wide strokes slowly adding layers to the tattoo. Colors are carefully blended and generally, there are no outlines.

Other methods of getting this effect include blurring, splashing, and color running the tattoo. This allows the tattoo to look as if it is placed on a canvas.

Types of watercolor tats

Watercolor tattoos can be differentiated by these two methods when applied:

With a black base

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When artists start out with the tattoo a black base is applied before layering it with other colors. This means that the color ink is applied afterward and used in such a way that it fills spaces and open areas.

This specific method will present more contrast than when there is no black base. A great reason that a black base might be better is that it might last longer than a tattoo without a black base.

Without a black base

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When a water tattoo has no black base it generally means that the color inked is directly applied to the skin. This specific method has no outlines and the best thing is that it properly gives you a watercolor effect.

When tattoo artists opt for this method they also find that the colors easily fade and blend into the skin. Watercolor tats without a black base look more vibrant a colorful, however, they might fade due to a lack of darker shades.

Some pros and cons to getting watercolor tattoos

Like everything in life, watercolor tattoos come with their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. If you’re contemplating on getting one then there are a few things you need to know beforehand. Here are a few pros and cons to watercolor tats.

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  • The look stunning and definitely will make a statement
  • They’re authentic and unique
  • Works incredibly well on healthy skin
  • They could fade into something beautiful


  • Requires maintenance
  • Might fade after time because they have less ink
  • Tanning will increase the chances of it fading
  • Touch ups could become pricey
  • They’re relatively new, so no one is really sure how long it will last
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In order to properly maintain a watercolor tattoo, there are a few things you might need to do. These things will help prevent that tattoo from quickly fading and allow the colors to remain vibrant.

Try not to expose the area of skin that’s tattooed to sunlight. This would mean staying out of the sun and abstaining from tanning. If you will be in the sun during the day then try covering the area with clothing and also make sure to use a high SPF lotion.

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The rays of the sun are not only harmful to the skin but it also fades ink quicker, especially color ink. Since watercolor ink is thinly applied it will fade it away even quicker than a usual tattoo.

If you notice that your watercolor tattoo is fading, then opt to go in for a touch-up. As previously mentioned, these touch-ups could cost you additional money, but they will keep your tat from fading.


Getting a tattoo is a personal choice, and if you feel like getting a watercolor tattoo then go for it! Always make sure that you go to a professional who knows what they’re doing. Research and read up, because a tattoo is forever.

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