50+ Artsy Watercolor Tattoo Designs

By Jason Hamilton / May 14, 2018
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For the longest time, tattoos, no matter what the design is, lacks something that all tattoo artists and tattoo enthusiasts can agree on; tattoo designs lack that artistry that all other mediums of art have. This perception is why the body art industry has not been a famous art form in the past. Everything changed when different colors of ink are slowly introduced in the industry and today, watercolor tattoo designs exists because of the apparent lack of creativity in tattoo designs and with the introduction of other colors in the industry, this particular tattoo design is now poised to dominate the industry with its creative styling.

In this article, we will be giving you a rich and colorful guide for your next watercolor tattoo. We will be discussing here a background on the tattoo design as well as the preferences of men and women for this kind of tattoo. We will also be providing you a rich gallery of watercolor tattoo designs that can be seriously considered as eye candy.


A Colorful Background On Watercolor Tattoo Designs

Over the last decade, the explosion of various tattoo ink colors resulted to an idea that is then considered bold and inconceivable by old tattoo artists and enthusiasts: Watercolor tattoos. Everyone thought that mimicking modern art on the skin will never be possible until the first batch of watercolor tattoos sprung up in the latter half of the 2000’s. These tattoos were considered out of this world because of its richness in color that was never before seen in the industry. Soon, the design caught on and it is now a trend for both tattoo artists and enthusiasts.


Since its introduction in the body art industry, watercolor tattoos slowly gained traction because of its artistic implications. The artistic value and the visual appeal that it holds is breathtaking. As a matter of fact, the surge of people who wants to get a tattoo can be attributed to the popularity of watercolor tattoo designs on the internet. There was even a time when watercolor tattoos dominated social media because of its unprecedented design and how it literally mimics a watercolor painting. Despite its current popularity, however, skepticism still shrouds this specific tattoo design.

Skepticism On Watercolor Tattoos

A broiling debate regarding watercolor tattoo exists in the body art community. The point of contention is on how the tattoo would age and the community is divided 50-50 on this one.


On one side, tattoo artists and enthusiasts claim that when watercolor tattoo designs fade within ten to fifteen years, it would not be discernible and it will just be a blob of color on your skin. The other side rebutted saying that retouching a tattoo after a few years is a common occurrence and can be used to remedy the fading issue of a watercolor tattoo.

Other tattoo artists and enthusiasts made suggestions on how to make your watercolor tattoo age well. By having a black baseline on your tattoo will make the design live longer despite the colors mixing together. others also suggest that since most watercolor tattoos are derived from abstract art that fading is not an issue at all since there is no form to be followed just like in paintings. Most agree, however, that if done correctly, a watercolor tattoo’s lifespan can be as long as a regular black tattoo.


This is still an ongoing debate and we shall see in the near future of how watercolor tattoos will age. For the meantime, however, let us just admire the beauty of watercolor tattoos and be mesmerized by the colors it possesses.

(source: www.businessinsider.com)


 Kinds of Watercolor Tattoos

Before getting this wonderfully crafted tattoo design, you must first know that watercolor tattoos basically has two kinds of designs: A watercolor with and without a black base. Here is the difference between the two kinds of watercolor tattoo designs.

Watercolor Tattoo Without A Black Base

A watercolor tattoo without a black base means that the tattoo design has no dark line work that is commonly used on other colored tattoo designs. This lack of an apparent framework is what gives watercolor tattoos its distinct look. Having no black base can make tattoo designs look like the colors are melting into other colors also used in the design. It can also make it look like the design melt to the skin like it is a natural part of the body and fade it at the edges-if you can find it that is.


Here are some watercolor tattoo designs that do not have a black base.

1. A large ribcage watercolor tattoo of a phoenix.

2. A watercolor tattoo of a bunch of flowers.


3. An ankle watercolor tattoo of flowers and leaves.

4. A watercolor tattoo of a hummingbird on the arm.


5. A watercolor tattoo of flowers.

watercolor tattoo flower

7. A floral-themed watercolor tattoo on the thigh.


8. A watercolor tattoo of a flock of birds.

9. A watercolor tattoo of cherry blossoms on the arms.

10. A leg watercolor tattoo of a hot air balloon.


Watercolor Tattoo With A Black Base

The other type of watercolor tattoo is the one that has a black base. This means that some sort of line or framework to contain the tattoos structure and colors. Though this is somewhat self-explanatory, there is also a difference visually from the design mentioned above aside from the black lines.

Since the artist will be using black ink for the lines and framework of the tattoo design itself, these black lines will help the colors to pop out even more and offer a higher contrast effect that without a black base. You will see a vivid clash of color thanks in part to the black elements used in the design.

This is a point of contention and uncertainty but tattoo artists and tattoo enthusiasts alike also feel that this kind of watercolor tattoo will fair better in time than the aforementioned design given that their black foundations do not fade as quickly as their color elements. So despite the colors fading in ten to fifteen years time, you can still discern the tattoo design because of the black elements present in the design. This, however, is still up to debate.

Here are some of the watercolor tattoo designs that have a black base:

1. A watercolor tattoo of a wolf inked on the rib cage.

2. A geometric watercolor tattoo featuring outer space.


3. A watercolor tattoo of a jellyfish on the arm.

4. green A watercolor tattoo of a wolf.


5. A watercolor tattoo of a baby fox.


6. A watercolor tattoo of a wolf howling to a blue moon.

7. A watercolor tattoo on the legs that features a shadow of a forest against the cosmos.


8. A watercolor tattoo of joker on the sleeve area.

9. A colorful watercolor tattoo of a cat’s outline.

10. A colorful watercolor tattoo of a flower.


Watercolor Tattoos: What Makes Them Unique?

A tattoo design has specific elements that make it pop out against other designs. You can often also see these elements in other tattoo designs but for the case of watercolor tattoos, the elements they possess is really unique. Here are some of the common elements you can find in a watercolor tattoo.

Free-form design

Occasionally, you might get a bit of geometric design thrown into a watercolor tattoo, but generally speaking, they’re as elegant and flowing as a ballerina in motion.

Bright, bold colors

Most watercolor tattoo designs have that vibrant color palette that makes this design a trend. Though there are some watercolor tattoos out there that may differ from the trend, the usual watercolor tattoo design that you may see will most often feature a vibrant color palette integrated to the design.

A splash of color

Sometimes, tattoo artists use outlines that don’t quite match with the coloring within, or otherwise create ‘splashes’ of color that appear as though the paintbrush has literally dropped paint on the skin. It’s a hard thing for an artist to pull off, but when done well, it looks incredible.

Men And Watercolor Tattoos

Men, for the longest time, always lean towards tough-looking tattoo designs like tribal-themed tattoos but since the turn of the millennium, more men are starting to appreciate colorful tattoo designs such as watercolor tattoos. We have now come to the day and age where visual appeal of a tattoo design is also important for men who considered having a tattoo be inked on his skin.

Usually, men get a tattoo design that meshes the traits of a traditional tattoo and watercolor one. These designs are your usual traditional tattoo designs such as octopus, fox, bird, and wolf tattoos. They use these traditional tattoo designs as a framework for their watercolor tattoo and just splash colors onto the design when the framework is done. These designs tend to look like neo-traditional tattoos since it breathes a new life to a once dated tattoo design.

Men at the present, however, now get tattoo designs that are once considered feminine and make it their own. Geometrical tattoos are one of the famous designs out there that fully compliments the existence of watercolor tattoos. This tattoo design was considered feminine in the early 2000’s but has now been considered as a unisexual tattoo design. A lot of men are now starting to have abstract watercolor tattoo designs inked on their skin as well.

Here are some of the watercolor tattoo designs for men that we saw on the internet:

  1. An arm watercolor tattoo of an astronaut.

2. An Asian-inspired watercolor tattoo on the sleeves that features bamboo trees.


3. A blue arm watercolor tattoo.


4. A watercolor tattoo of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.

5. A chest watercolor tattoo of a compass with thick black lines for additional detail.

6. A chest watercolor tattoo of a compass.

7. A leg watercolor tattoo of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.

8. A sleeve watercolor tattoo of a bird with sketch-like details.

9. A large arm watercolor tattoo of a light bulb with water and a paper boat inside.

10. A chest watercolor tattoo with an impossible triangle.

11. A large chest watercolor tattoo of two hands forming a heart shape.

12. An arm watercolor tattoo of a lion.

13.A large chest watercolor tattoo of a nautilus with geometric designs.

14. A leg watercolor tattoo of a man coming out of a portal.

15. A watercolor tattoo of a seedling in a test tube.

Women And Watercolor Tattoos

Women who get tattoos recently can be associated with this tattoo design. They tend to lean more to more tattoo designs that offer more artistic and visual value since most often than not, women want to show off their tattoo designs.

Watercolor tattoo designs were first caught on by women. For the first few years of this tattoo design’s life, women dominated this niche in the body art industry because of the colors and limitless designs you can make with it. You also see that most women tend to get watercolor tattoo designs without a black base since it is considered to be more feminine than the other kind of watercolor tattoo design.

As for the design preference of women, women tend to get designs that are often associated with femininity. Butterfly, flower, and geometrical tattoo designs are the ones that women usually want to be inked on their skin.

Here are some of the watercolor tattoo designs that we think would be perfect for the women of the 21st century.

1. A thigh watercolor tattoo of a girl holding an umbrella.

2. A large back watercolor tattoo of color splashes.

3. A back watercolor tattoo of sparrows in flight.

4. An artsy wrist watercolor tattoo of a heart with birds.

5. A back watercolor tattoo of the deathly hallows and the golden snitch which were heavily featured in the Harry Potter series.

6. A rib watercolor tattoo of the deathly hallows symbol.

7. A hip watercolor tattoo of a feather.

8. An upper back watercolor tattoo of a dreamcatcher.

9. A thigh watercolor tattoo of a dragonfly with a doodle-like design.

10. An arm watercolor tattoo of a diamond.

11. A back watercolor tattoo of a pink dandelion billowing in the wind.

12. An arm watercolor tattoo of a cat.

13. A back watercolor tattoo of a butterfly with thick black baselines.

14. A colorful watercolor tattoo of a ballerina that is inked on the ribcage.

15. A pink abstract watercolor tattoo situated on the back.

Questions To Ask Before Getting A Watercolor Tattoo

With the watercolor tattoo designs we have presented, we are absolutely sure that you are now drooling over to have one inked. There is no question that this design is breathtaking, to say the least, but we want you to ask yourself these questions first before you rush to the nearest tattoo studio.

Will it work with my other tattoos?

Yes, it might be the latest trend. Yes, it might look awesome on your arm. But if you’ve got existing tattoos on your body, and they’re in a different style, it might look a bit weird. Think before you ink.

Will it work with my style?

If you’re rocking a particular fashion style, be warned – this sort of tattoo might not marry too well with it, leaving you looking like a bit of an oddity.

Do I have the right tattoo artist with me?

Do not get us wrong on this one, a lot of tattoo artists out there have already mastered the art of inking a watercolor tattoo design on the skin. Unfortunately, however, plenty of tattoo artists will want to cash in on the craze and they might not even have the skill to carry off the style which in this case is not the easiest to execute compared to other designs out there.

Be precautious when picking a tattoo artist that will do your watercolor tattoo. you might just end up with a big hunk of a colored blob on your skin if you have not picked the right one.

If your answers on all of these questions are yes, then go ahead and rush to your nearest tattoo studio and give in to your drooling desire to have a watercolor tattoo on your skin!

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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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