It’s no secret that we adore tattoos, be they large or small, on the inner ear, wrist, or elsewhere. And among our all-time favorites are watercolor tattoos. These immaculate pieces of art are created with vivid hues, minute intricacies, and whimsical motifs.
There are numerous methods to design your body, which is what makes watercolor tattoos extremely unique. Think of adding blue and purple washes to a delicate pattern as a backdrop, emphasizing the delicacy of a flower tattoo, or choosing an abstract style with a swath of vibrant hues. Scroll on for our favorite watercolor tattoo ideas, plus everything you need to know before you ink up.
25 Sketchy Watercolor Tattoos
The line work and miniature blossoms on this arm tattoo are flawless. The lovely thing about floral tattoos is that many flowers have symbolic meanings behind them.
This butterfly tattoo, which features lilacs and apple blossoms in its wings, is the more modern take on the ’90s trend.
It’s like a fashion sketch come to life—and the addition of a rainbow-hued tutu only serves to enhance it.
Fade to Black
Simple yet stunning, this detailed triangle by Joice Wang, a tattoo artist also in NYC, is a good option if you’re not up for a huge, intricate design.
Tim Mueller is both an artist and a tattoo artist, which is why the fine-art vibe of this design is apparent. It looks like something you could find on a canvas in MoMA.
Animal tattoos aren’t as wild as they sound when you see they can look this cute.
The yin-yang symbol has never looked so beautiful.
The moody lilac and plum palette of this dreamcatcher is gorgeous.
Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet – and we love this watercolor tattoo.
If you’re a dog lover, this is the watercolor tattoo you need in your life.
We’re major fans of this back tattoo. The unique placement is stunning, as are the colorful leaves that appear to be blowing in a gentle breeze.
With colored accents so bright that they’re almost neon, a graphic bear tattoo goes from minimalist to major.
In colors that could rival Crayola’s, an abstract design on the forearm is not for the faint of heart, or a good option if you’re looking for something subtle. But one thing’s for sure: It’ll get you noticed.
The best way to find a tattooist skilled in watercolor is to stalk them on Instagram. When you see someone’s art on an Instagram page and notice that every single one is something that you’d want, you factor that in.
A forearm piece, like this one, could take anywhere from two to three hours.
All paths lead to obsession.
Another good way to avoid fading from the sun: Don’t get a tattoo in places where the sun hits, like the shoulders, chest, and outer arms. We recommend the inner parts of the arm if you’re doing something more delicate.
With watercolor tattoos, it pays to do your research. There are people with very little knowledge of tattooing basics who attempt to do full-color work. However, there are so many extra intricacies in working with color; it takes a lot of practice and skill to apply solid, colorful tattoos that will last.
Drips and splashes are a signature of watercolor. It’s more freeform and allows you to work outside of the lines. In some cases, it doesn’t take as long as traditional tattoos since the artist doesn’t have to carefully fill in lines.
These matching tattoo designs definitely brought a smile to our faces.
Paint swipes look incredibly realistic.
Bring out your inner artist, no starving required, with the pretty array of colors.
Multiple colors require some planning. Some inks have to be avoided because of the potential for an allergic reaction, certain ones bleed out in the skin more than others, and some whites will look yellow.
Words of Wisdom
If you’re into quotes, offsetting one with a wash of color makes it more than just words. The watercolor grabs eyes and will get people to read it.
Going for darker shades is probably the simplest way to minimize fading. With a lot of the light shades, it’s hard to keep the details.
Watercolor tattoos never go out of style, get inspired here for your next ink!