Beauty

51 Watercolor Tattoo Designs to Add to Your Inspo Board

CAN YOU REORDER THE SLIDES SO MORE OF THE OLDER ONES THAT HAVE ALL THE GREAT QUOTES ARE AT THE TOP? LET’S START WITH 2-3 THAT HAVE QUOTES, THEN YOU CAN BASICALLY ALTERNATE NEW + OLDER

Move over, traditional black-ink body art, because watercolor tattoos have made a major splash — and if social media is any indication, the trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Just look to Instagram, where the hashtag #watercolortattoos has over 1.4 million posts. Or peruse TikTok hashtags #watercolortattoo and #watercolortattoos, which have close to 20 million views combined. 

You’ve probably seen these types of tattoos before, with swirls of vibrant colors that look like they could have been painted on a canvas rather than etched in someone’s skin. “A watercolor tattoo is a tattoo using textures that replicate the aesthetic of watercolor or brushstroke paint,” tattoo artist Melody Mitchell explains. This technique does require great attention to detail and skill since tattooists are “mimicking the textures that different mediums of paint create” on skin, she shares. 

Watercolor work involves the same inks and materials used for most tattoos, but it’s the application that is different, according to Brooklyn-based artist Edwin Delarosa. “Where most styles you want there to be saturated color and values, watercolor tattoos are done by doing fades of colors that blend and play into each other the way it would if you were painting with watercolor,” he says.

The aftercare for watercolor tattoos isn’t unfamiliar if you’ve ever gotten a tattoo before. “You care for a watercolor tattoo like you would care for any tattoo,” says tattoo artist Lorri “Lady L” Thomas. “Make sure that your new art is clean and stays moisturized — I suggest using vegan or non-petroleum-based products — and keep it out of direct sunlight. Also, remember not to keep it submerged in water during the healing process.” If you’re stuck on what to use, check out this roundup of aftercare products

Now let’s get into the tattoo ideas. Ahead, find all of the inspiration you need for your first (or next) watercolor ink.