I once saw a watercolor tattoo IRL and bet my friend five bucks that it was actually a temporary design. Like, it really, truly looked as though it were painted with actual paint brushes, with realistic paint splatters and perfectly blended colors. Fact: I lost five bucks that day, and since then, I’ve become legit obsessed with all things watercolor tattoos. So if you’re lookin’ for tattoo inspo and wanna know more about this soft, fluid style, keep reading to hear what tattoo artists who specialize in this style have to say about watercolor tattoos, followed by all the design inspo you could ever need.
What is Watercolor Tattooing?
As NYC-based tattoo artist Amanda Wachob explains it, a watercolor tattoo lacks the black outline of traditional tattoos, in order to highlight and emphasize the color in a design. The result? A tattoo that looks much more realistic and less cartoon-like. But even within the style of watercolor tattoos, you’ve got different sub-genres to choose from. “Some artists are more expressive with their work, adding brush strokes and color splashes and sketchy lines,” says NYC-based tattoo artist Bryan Gutierrez. “Others do a more refined look, using more pastel and muted-down colors to make it look softer, like a real watercolor painting.”