Watercolor Tattoo – A Complete Guide | Watercolor Tattoos Vs Regular Tattoos

If you have been considering the term ‘Watercolor Tattoos’ as some kiddie crafts, then this article will be an eye-opener to you. Most people are innocent about the art and not many have even tried watercolor tattoos.

Many people stay away from these tattoos due to myths and misconceptions. In this detailed guide, we will help you understand the art of watercolor tattoos and also answer some of the most commonly asked questions.

Before we begin, you need to know that watercolor tattoos are not recent artwork; these have been there since ancient practices. In ancient times, watercolor tattoos were used from the natural pigments extracted from Earth.

Most pigments were extracted from organic materials derived from minerals, animals, plants, and the soil.

For instance, the Indian Yellow came was made from the urine of those Indian cows that were fed only mango leaves, Bone Black pigment derived from calcinated bones, Emerald Green was extracted by copper aceto-arsenate, etc., It has helped many artists display their paintwork and artwork on the skin.

What is a watercolor tattoo?

Watercolor tattoos are bright as well as subtle. These are created with the support of various techniques. The various color gradients used help it to look like a watercolor painting and that is how the name relates to the same.

If you compare with traditional or normal tattoo art, watercolor tattoos are more delicate.

The process of creating watercolor tattoos and traditional tattoos are the same. You don’t need a separate setup or machine to create the same.

The only thing that a tattoo artist needs to be careful of is the techniques like bleeds, runs, fades, and blurs.

Once you are well-versed with the techniques, you will be able to achieve beautiful results in watercolor tattoos. In short, the vibrant colors of watercolor tattoos blend smoothly just like in watercolor paintings.

Do watercolor tattoos fade easily?

Some professional artists have commented on watercolor tattoos fading sooner than traditional tattoos. However, it also depends on how much care you take of these.

Some people even complain of their traditional tattoos fading easily. There is always a good and bad side to things that you need to accept.

One thing you need to remember is that the UV rays spoil the pigments in tattoo inks and it is one of the main causes for most types of tattoos to fade.

Another reason why watercolor tattoos fade sooner is because of the light colors, fades, and blends. These are subtle than the heavy inks used in traditional tattoos.

You must not panic; as we stated earlier it also depends on the professional work of your tattoo artist and your sincerity on post-tattoo care. These will accompany you nicely for at least a few years.

Are watercolor tattoos permanent?

Although there are countless options for go for permanent tattoos, do not include watercolor tattoos in the list. Watercolor tattoos are the recent trend preferred by people who have a habit of changing their tattoo designs after every few years.

If you fall in the same category of preferences, we suggest going for watercolor tattoos as these are not permanent.

One great fact about watercolor tattoos is that you can also willingly remove them anytime you want as the process of removal is smooth and simple.

You will also need to undergo touchups for watercolor tattoos frequently as these tend to fade with weight loss or weight gain over the years.

Thus, you can state that watercolor tattoos are sensitive and fragile. You need to take extra care of your tattoo to stay with them longer.

What’s the difference between watercolor tattoos and regular tattoos?

One of the major differences between watercolor tattoos and regular tattoos is the ink used. The inks for both types are different however, the process of tattoo art is almost the same.

All you need to understand is the technique behind it. In a watercolor tattoo technique, the colors are injected on the layer of the skin with the support of a sharp needle. The sharp needles are similar to a paintbrush which is different from regular tattoos.

Moreover, watercolor tattoos are bright, delicate, and subtle. In the case of regular tattoos, the designers use solid colors to form larger images whereas watercolor tattoos use gradients and subtle colors for painting.

Another difference that we already discussed is the lifespan. Watercolor tattoos have a limited or restricted lifespan compared to regular tattoos. The former will fade in time sooner than the latter.

How long do watercolor tattoos last?

One good fact that we shared in this article with you is the experience and skills of a tattoo designer. Some professional and skilled tattoo designers have made watercolor tattoos that could last for a lifetime.

There is always a trick for it and that is by picking a strong black line base. We also shared the fact that watercolor tattoos fade quicker than normal tattoos. However, you need a good designer and proper aftercare to make them last longer.

Watercolors have recently picked the trend so it will be too soon to say how they will look on people in the next 20 to 30 years. Mostly, people also keep doing re-touches on their fading tattoos.

Thus, there are no clear sayings on the original tattoo life in watercolor tattoos. We guess we need to wait for a longer time for more findings and experiences on the same.

As per few research sites, some have mentioned that you can easily keep it for at least 10 to 15 years by following all the precautions strictly.

Are Watercolor tattoos more expensive?

Cost doesn’t matter to art lovers. As tattoos are charged by designers based on design and time, it would not be fair to express which is costlier.

In some designs, a regular tattoo may require extra time and effort and so customers may end up paying more money than a watercolor tattoo and vice versa.

Other than the time and effort, inks also matter in discussing the cost of the artworks. Some tattoo inks for regular tattoos are highly expensive than watercolor tattoos.

Although watercolor tattoos are considered to be pricey, we also consider the above points and cannot generalize things here.

The best option is to check with your respective tattoo designer on the same. He/She knows the effort, design, skills, and time behind based on your selection.

How much Watercolor Tattoo Cost?

On an average, a typical tribal watercolor tattoo cost begins from $50 and may go upto and beyond $400.

Most tattoo artists charge their clients /customers based on the time or hours spent on the design. Based on the design, colorwork, and technique used, the charges will vary.

Remember, almost every tattoo artist can perform the art of watercolor tattoo on you and so you don’t have to struggle in finding a specific tattoo parlor for the same.

To share a fact, a watercolor tattoo requires patience, special touch, and artistic experience that professional tattoo artists can offer you. So, find one closer to your location.

Finding the right artist will not make you guilty of spending more on tattoo art. After all, we want it to be worth it!

What to know before getting a watercolor tattoo

1. Tattoo artist

A tattoo artist plays a vital role in the process of watercolor tattoos. Although many know the art like a piece of cake, not many will guide you on how to protect it well.

Choose a designer who is well-versed with watercolor tattoos and someone who knows the technique for keeping watercolor tattoos last for long. Remember, they should be good at the re-touches too.

2. Choose good ink

Never compromise on the quality of a design that you have wished for long. By saving few bucks on your wallet, you are making a compromise with both, your skin and your tattoo design.

Choose recommended and good quality watercolor inks. Remember, it is your skin that you are experimenting with and not any toy!

We have some ink recommendations for you to choose from in watercolor tattoos. These may come in handy for you if you ever decide to go for one.

Take a look at these and share with us which one would you go for? Also, take a second opinion from your tattoo artist on whether these would be safe to use on your skin.

As we stated earlier, not all skin is of a similar type. Some are cool to experiment whereas some may be too sensitive on certain types of inks.

Recommended Watercolor Tattoo Inks:

3. Trial test

If it is the first time you are trying a watercolor tattoo and you have never done any type of tattoo before, we suggest you do a trial at first. Not every skin is friendly with tattoo inks.

Make a small watercolor tattoo on an area that is not too frequently exposed such as inner shoulders, inner thighs, under the wrist, back shoulders, etc.,

A trial tattoo is the best solution for those fearful players who wish to try something new but are confused to experiment the same. A trial tattoo test also helps you to become more confident to get future tattoos on areas that you will wish to flaunt more.

Watercolor tattoo aftercare

1. Protect it from UV rays/sun:

We have cautioned you to protect your tattoo from the harsh UV rays. The sun’s rays affect the watercolor tattoos quickly and make them fade sooner. Avoid going under the sun with your tattoo exposed to the sunlight.

Keep it covered if you want it to remain with you for longer. Wear covered clothes to protect yourself from the UV rays. You may also apply a good sunscreen lotion on the tattoos.

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2. Avoid rubbing too much

It is possible that you will feel the itchy feeling for first few days and during the healing process of your watercolor tattoo. Constant rubbing or itching will make tattoo colors fade faster.

Avoid making a contact with anything that will lead to allergic reactions or feelings of itchiness such as strong perfumes or body sprays. In case you feel itchy, you may use a good moisturizer to calm the itching sensations on your skin.

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3. Avoid another tattoo closer to the first watercolor tattoo

Until your watercolor tattoo is completely healed, avoid making another tattoo in the closer area. The colors may blend and get mixed up with the designs. You will end up losing both the designs and see a mixture of these.

That would pinch hard on the cost part too as you will either need to remove both or re-touch sooner than you expected. We are sure that your tattoo artist will also suggest the same.


Now that you are aware of the details related to watercolor tattoos, we would love to hear from you about your experience of getting one. Even if you are in a thinking mode, let us know what is in your mind. We would love to hear and guide you further on the same. Till then, hope the article served your purpose of details about watercolor tattoos.

If there is anything else that you would like to ask us, please drop your comments in the section and we would love to guide you.