Watercolor tattoo

Tattoo styles 5 min read Last updated on August 10, 2020

The watercolor tattoo is an aesthetic and elegant new style of tattooing, reminiscent of free hand and abstract paintings. Watercolor tattooing almost completely mimics the painting technique. When viewing these images on the body, there is a feeling that the tattoo is created with conventional brushes and watercolor paints.

Style Features

These have become increasingly popular over the past few years. This is due not only to the uniqueness of the style but also to the modern equipment that allows making these tattoos more complex and remain saturated for longer.

The main features of watercolor tattoos include:

  • They don't usually have traditional black edging, which makes them appear light and airy
  • The presence of a play of shades, subtle color transitions, and imitation watercolor strokes
  • The "blurred" effect, also characteristic of watercolor painting
  • The presence of stains, drops, and splashes

As a result, this tattoo when drawn on the body looks as if a real work of art is "hidden" under the skin of a person. Modern equipment makes it possible to imitate leaks and the "wateriness" of paint, brush strokes. If the tattoo is done by an experienced artist, it will seem like that the picture is painted on the body with real watercolor paints.


Watercolor tattoo style is relatively new. Upon its emergence, it was not immediately accepted by "old school" tattooists. Today, however, the style is rapidly gaining popularity.

The concept of transferring watercolor paintings to the human body came from the world-famous, New York-based tattoo artist Amanda Wachob. She was the first to achieve a tattoo that looked uniquely similar to a watercolor.

Amanda Wachob tells the story of her entry to the world of tattooing on her website. She says that upon waking up one day, she noticed strange marks and designs on her hand which eventually disappeared. Amanda realized then that she wanted to seriously engage in painting the human body with her own designs.

You can follow Amanda on Instagram:

Popular themes

Plots of tattoo watercolors vary. Abstractions are very popular—made allegedly by accidental, large, and sweeping strokes with ornate, intertwined lines filled with paint. Many choose sketches of mythical creatures (e.g. a phoenix) and portraits. Animals are also popular images, like the elephant, owl, wolf, and fox. Floral and plant motifs such as trees, roses, and cherry blossom look beautiful in watercolor sketches. In the end, it depends on the imagination of the client and the master making the tattoo. While the size of the images also depends on the person, watercolor tattoos are equally beautiful in both small and large dimensions.

Other styles such as dotwork are well combined with watercolor. A tattoo can have a central image made up of thin lines and dots surrounded by a technicolor background done in watercolor style.

Watercolor tattoo over time

Tattoos done in the watercolor technique quickly discolor and fade because the technique requires a much lighter and gentler color, including as pastel tones. Inking masters were at first hesitant to be associated with such works, rightly believing that those specific traits in a tattoo can besmirch his or her reputation as an artist.

However, the colored pigments used for such tattoos have improved considerably in recent years, and these improvements help prevent tattoo fading.


On black skin