Just like in fashion, body art is an industry where some things last forever and some do not. There are many tattoo elements that have become iconic in the tattoo world that it would forever remain popular. However, some trends are falling and being replaced by rising styles and techniques. Watercolor tattoo designs are perhaps on the latter category.
Watercolor tattoos are utterly beautiful. They look modern, perfect for the modern times where uniqueness and creativity is more recognized and acknowledged. They also look vivid and bright, perfect for those who love adventures in their body art.
Issues with Watercolor Tattoos
Here’s the thing – these kinds of tattoos may look absolutely stunning. But they are not for everyone. First of all, watercolor tattoos are colorful and can be bright and vivid, depending on your design. Some people are not comfortable with these kinds of tattoos that usually can be seen from afar. Of course, there are some designs that look more subtle and you can try out these kinds of designs.
The next thing that could really change the way your watercolor tattoos look like is your tattoo artist. Some artist are not experienced with the style and the techniques needed to make the tattoo look like a painting. End results are pretty much far from the expectations you might have.
These designs are also far different than normal ones. If you take a look at the designs for these watercolor tattoos, the subjects are far more complex. These usually work with abstract designs and elements from nature. For some people, these designs aren’t actually their cup of tea.
One of the most frequently asked questions regarding these tattoos is whether they fade quickly. Fortunately, they can last longer. Sure, a simple black tattoo would outlive it. But the colors still look amazingly great even 10 years down the road.
Types of Watercolor Tattoos
There are generally two types of watercolor tattoos that you can see. One is with the use of a black base and one without a black base.
Watercolor tattoo without a black base
Simply put, these are watercolor tattoo designs that lack the black outline. However, the linework could be replaced by a different color. This gives the design a more unique and watercolor-like state. The idea is that the colors melt into the outline, and make it look soft on the edges. The more “invisible” the outline or the edge is, the better. These types of tattoo depend on the color’s vibrancy to keep its appeal. You can try to keep the colors separate or mix them.
The main goal of these type of watercolor tattoo is to make it look like pain rather than a tattoo. It almost looks fluid. To say the least, it should look like a newly painted work that hasn’t fully dried yet.
Watercolor tattoo with a black base
This is the type with the visible linework. It has a dark and crisp outline, already done. The final process is to put the color on top of it afterwards. It’s basically a lot like any traditional tattoo, except you would be using soft and vibrant colors.
Getting a black base is important if you want to get a higher level of contrast effects. All thanks to the solid and crisp lines against sheer ones. Apart from how it looks, many tattoo artists believe that is the best choice to evade quick fading. The black foundation won’t fade easily and can last longer compared to the colored elements.
Meaningful Watercolor Tattoos
The greatest thing about watercolor tattoos is their versatility. In truth, you can create just about any kind of design you want. The focus is really on how you do the coloring. It should look like a watercolor painting, not the typical way of coloring a tattoo.
That being said, there is a whole lot of designs that you can do. However, if you are looking for meaningful design to partner with this stunning technique, here are a few you can choose.
With this beautiful technique, it is hard not to combine it with one of the most beautiful symbols in the tattoo industry. Flower tattoos are colorful and it is the best design for watercolor tattoos. You can choose from a whole array of choices – from roses and daisies to peonies and chrysanthemums. Apart from their beauty, their deeper meaning also draws a lot of attention.
For example, roses are symbols of love and passion. But it also has color-specific meanings such as white representing innocence and purity while blue signifies impossible and unattainable things.
The lotus is also a rather popular floral theme when it comes to the tattoo world. It is a major symbol in Eastern culture. In Buddhism, it is known as the flower of Buddha and based on the color, could also signify him and the deities of the religion. Nonetheless, the lotus is most known as a symbol of intelligence. Having a half-open lotus flower means you are open to learning more.
Mandala tattoos are beautiful symbols with beautiful meanings. As a tattoo, it serves as a representation of eternity, perfection, and balance. The design also varies from one artist to the next. It is like a snowflake, each one is different from the next.
Usually, the patterns included in a mandala are patterns. There are lace-like designs while others focus more on geometrical patterns. Lines and shapes are also very common. Mandalas can be great watercolor tattoos since coloring these designs make it more awe-inspiring.
Birds are symbols of freedom. But the meaning could be different and far deeper depending on which bird is depicted. For example, eagles are known as symbols of strength and power. On the other hand, owls are for intellect and foresight. However, those that are used in watercolor tattoos are often the little ones – swallows and hummingbirds. These kinds of birds are delicate looking – just the right visual for a delicate-looking way of coloring.
Most bird watercolor tattoos are also connected to music. There are notes flying off around the bird, as if singing. This kind of design could show the wearer’s love for music.
Apart from little birds singing or made up of notes, there are also other symbols that are under the musical category. The designs are often musical notes, G cleffs, microphones and musical instrument. These are very popular symbols that are made into watercolor tattoos. It could be because it shows that music is beautiful and light. The coloring technique somehow gives the designs a seemingly peaceful aura.
Trees and Forests
Besides flowers, trees are actually pretty common. And there is a beauty in nature-inspired elements. They are refreshing to look at, especially with the watercolor technique. But apart from that, trees are simply inspiring.
As a tattoo design, trees are symbols of perseverance and the ability to stand up even after challenges. Trees signify a person’s inner strength and will to stand up even being battered by a storm. These symbols can also be used for families and can be the representation of life. And indeed, without trees life on Earth would be nearly impossible.
Basically, any animal could be a watercolor tattoo. However, many tattoo enthusiasts prefer the minimalist approach to these designs. They also tend to go for cutesy animals such as cats and dogs.
Again, each animal has their own meaning in the tattoo world. But for our favorite pets, here are the meanings:
- Cat – Cats are known as symbols of femininity and mysticism.
- Dogs – Man’s best friend is best known to represent loyalty and courage.
- Rabbits – They may be the symbol of Easter but they symbolize luxury, wealth, and fortune as a tattoo.
If you want a wilder animal and make it tamer with a watercolor style of tattoo, here are the most popular choices:
- Lions and lionesses – The king and queen of the jungle are best known as symbols of loyalty, power, strength, and dominance.
- Tigers – Tigers are known to represent independence or being free spirited.
- Elephants – These giants may be the biggest land mammals, but they are known for being gentle and family-oriented.
For those who love to travel, a map would be one of the best symbols to try. It could be the map of the world, simplified and without much details. Or it could be the map of the place that you want to visit best. Maps often symbolize journeys and travelling.
However, some use the map as a symbol of home. They often have a tattoo of the map of their town or their country. It’s a great design for those far away from home. It can serve as a reminder that they will always have someplace to go back to and people waiting for them.
Diamonds and jewelries
Another perfect symbol for watercolor tattoos. Diamonds are clear but they have a certain kind of colorful shine when laid on the right angle towards the light. You can somehow capture this through making it a watercolor design.
As a tattoo, diamonds and jewels are often symbols of power and wealth. However, they are also seen as emblems of inner beauty.
Dreamcatchers are very popular when it comes to boho looks. But you don’t need to adapt to the gypsy life or dress like a boho chic to get a dreamcatcher tattoo. This may have begun with the Native Americans who believe that it is a tool to catch the good dreams and shower it upon their sleeping owners. Meanwhile, the bad dreams go through the “webs” and never bothering them on their sleep.
As a tattoo, a dreamcatcher could be a way of showing pride of the Native American culture. It’s one of the main choices of those who are Native Americans or came from the bloodline. It shows their rich culture and beliefs. Apart from that, they also believe a dreamcatcher tattoo will protect them from bad energies.
Skulls are often done in darker undertones. But not everyone is a fan of darker and moody vibes. And so, they create a more public-friendly design – skull watercolor tattoos. Instead of using black ink to outline the skull, they often use bright pinks, blues, and purples. Even the shadows are created with these colors. The end result may be bizarre but absolutely eye-catching.
As a tattoo, skulls are also seen as dark and negative. They are symbols of death and a grim reminder of one’s mortality. Indeed, those are the general meanings of a tattoo like this. However, many see having one as an acceptance of fate; that death is a part of life’s cycle. Instead of cowering with fear, they live their life the way they want it to.
While people think that watercolor tattoos are bright and happy, these can also be gloomy and mysterious. With shades of blue and purple and a hint of black, it’s very easy to come up with amazing and mystical pictures of the universe.
Cosmic tattoos are not just beautiful – they also hold a deeper meaning. The beauty with this is that the meaning usually depends on the wearer. It could be a symbol of hope or that it reminds them how small they are and keeps them grounded. For others, it is a passion – knowing what happens at the deepest depths of the universe. Others see space tattoo as a symbol of mysticism.
Sun and moon tattoos
It could either be a combination of two or two separate designs of the sun and moon. Either way, it’s a perfect way to make a contrasting watercolor tattoos. It’s not just about the meaning, seeing that the sun and moon is also known as yin and yang. We can live with our good and bad sides without prejudice. It’s also about the coldness of blue contrasting with the warmth of orange and red. No matter how you depict these tattoos, the end results are surely amazing.