Everything You Need to Know About Watercolor Tattoos

Watercolor tattoos have seen an enormous rise in popularity in recent years and it’s no surprise why. With their ultra-smooth finish, vibrant colors, and brush strokes effect, watercolor tattoos are a unique twist on traditional style tattoos.


Want to learn more about watercolor tattoos, if you should get one, and the differences between regular tattoos and watercolor ones? Read more below!

Everything You Need to Know About Watercolor Tattoos

What Are Watercolor Tattoos?
Watercolor tattoos actually don’t differ from normal tattoos. They don’t require different tools or a unique setup, the only differences are just the style and technique of coloring and shading.

Watercolor tattoos are simply dubbed watercolor because of their resemblance to watercolor painting. The key techniques of watercolor lie in the gradual coloring and use of linework (or lack thereof). Compared to traditional tattoos which heavily comprise solid colors and lines, watercolor tattoos often have no distinct lining or coloring.

The lack of outlines in watercolor tattoos makes way for the artist to bolden the tattoo using vibrant colors and shading techniques.

Types of Watercolor Tattoos
There are different ways to create a watercolor tattoo.


First, an artist can create a mash-up between a traditional tattoo and a watercolor tattoo. This is a common way to get “best of both worlds” and is created using black-base lines with a splash of watercolor to finish. The contrast between the shape/figure in black and the shading/coloring in watercolor creates an aesthetically striking tattoo while remaining long-lasting. An artist might incorporate various water coloring techniques, like fades, bleeds, blurs, and runs, which enhance the tattoo’s visual appeal entirely.

Second, the artist might take out lines completely and create a watercolor tattoo using only shading and color grading. This technique can take years of experience to master, but the end result is definitely worth it.

Everything You Need to Know About Watercolor Tattoos

Durability of Watercolor Tattoos VS Traditional Tattoos
Many artists argue that watercolor tattoos tend to fade faster than traditional tattoos, due to the use of bright, light colors instead of black-based. It’s hard to put a number on how many years they will last, but it all depends on the artist’s technique, expertise, and color grading choices. A tattoo with virtually no edges might fade easier than a traditional tattoo with hard lines simply because there’s no contrast.

Getting a Watercolor Tattoo
Watercolor tattoos, despite popular belief, are not more painful. But it depends on how you experience tattoos, the shading technique involved, and so on and so forth. No two tattoo experiences (whether traditional or watercolor) will be equal.

Pricing is more or less the same, but expect to pay more for a watercolor tattoo simply because it’s a popular technique that requires years of practice and insane amounts of skill.

As for caring for a watercolor tattoo, it requires the same amount of care and attention as a normal tattoo does. Don’t neglect your tattoo aftercare treatment!


Have you ever gotten a watercolor tattoo or are you thinking about getting one? As with any tattoo endeavor, make sure you know what you’re getting into before you ever hop into the tattoo chair!