Watercolor Tattoo History
When it comes to applying tattoo styles, watercolors are a latecomer when it comes to the tattooing scene. In fact, they only became really popular over several years back. There are actually some really brilliant artists out there who specialize in creating some really beautiful watercolor tattoos. Some of them are great in blending colors together and creating designs that give the illusion that the ink is dripping off the wearer’s skin. There’s a pretty good motto that watercolor tattoo artists seem to specifically use for creating customized designs, and that is: “Give me a piece of your skin, and I will give you a piece of your soul” – An already gorgeous statement in itself.
Much like other native cultures in Southeast Asia, animal-inspired tattoo designs were also common amongst the Tai tribes hailing from Southern China. And as time went on, this form of tattooing for protection and luck started incorporating Buddhist and Hindu aspects. Today, the Sak Yant form of tattooing is practiced by many people in Thailand. This traditional form of tattooing is usually given by a Brahmin priest or even a Buddhist monk. The designs for these tattoos commonly showed off Hindu gods, and also utilized the Mon script. Some of the designs were also based after an ancient Khmer script, which was a script based on plenty of ancient civilizations hailing from Southeast Asia.
In places like Europe, the first few evidences for ancient tattooing rituals showed up on prehistoric art hailing from the Upper Paleolithic period. They usually came in the form of an incised design on a humanoid figure’s own body. A good example was the Lowenmensch figure coming from the Aurignacian culture. This is a preserved mummy that dated back to 40,000 years ago. The mummy showcased incised lines running down both of its arms, alongside the chest and the torso area.
The most popular – Not to mention one of the oldest – Direct proof that ancient Europeans practiced tattooing rituals showed up on the body of another mummy known as Otzi the Iceman. He was called as such because his body was discovered in the Otz valley on the Alps, dating back to the 4th millennium. Studies have shown that Otzi’s preserved body bore over 61 types of carbon-ink tattoos which mostly comprised of 19 groups of lines, simple dotted patterns, and lines found on some parts of his body – Specifically, the left wrist, the lower spine, at the back of his right knee, and on his ankles. It was often thought that these marks on his body were actually used as a form of healing thanks to the placement, even though there are still plenty of other possible explanations.
Pre-Christian Celtic, Germanic, and other tribes from Northern Europe and central Europe also wore plenty of tattoos on their bodies, as mentioned by surviving accounts. But this could also have been dried up and preserved paint, and not tattoo ink. The Picts might also have worn battle scars or tattoos decorated with lovely war-inspired designs made from black or dark-blue woad.
Types Of Watercolor Tattoos
- Fox watercolor tattoo – This is a type of watercolor tattoo design which doesn’t actually utilize a whole host of colors and shades. Instead, it’s very minimalistic and uses only three colors for the design. The fox in the design appears to be wearing an orange color, while you can see a hint of black and blue, to provide it with a look that is completely exquisite.
- Watercolor tattoo with black base – Most watercolor tattoo designs have a black base. And by this, it usually means that certain elements of linework or a type of foundation has been laid on top of it. The colors here are all piled together to fill in the spacing in between the lines. And what really matters here is that this design has something called a black skeleton or an outline beneath it.
- Rose flower watercolor tattoo – This is an amazing design of a watercolor tattoo depicting a rose flower. It’s a great design that anybody would be delighted to have on their backs. This is a tattoo that utilizes a lot of shades surrounding the flower, including pink, giving the tattoo an authentic look and feel.
- Geometric watercolor tattoo – This is a brilliant tattoo design in blues and purples which everyone is sure to appreciate. And if you’re a fan of geometric tattoos, then this design should be right up your alley. The design goes right down the spine, while the paint drips give it a nice touch.
- Bird watercolor tattoo design – This is the best kind of watercolor tattoo design for those who want an amazing tattoo on their arms. This tattoo shows the image of a bird flying, with its wings spread wide open. The usage of a watercolor design has been nicely applied on the bird’s wings in which plenty of other shades of blue can be seen.
Watercolor Tattoo Meaning
Despite what others may say, a watercolor tattoo isn’t that different from the standard colorful tattoo. These tattoos were designed to appeal to plenty of groups of individuals, with its final designs looking vastly different from what people are used to seeing from a tattoo. But that aside, these stunning works of art both crafted and placed on a person’s body aren’t anything but spectacular and could easily bring in some amazing creations to life. This is the type of tattoo that you really should be looking out for but have no clue where to find it. But now, you will know exactly where these tattoos came from, and how they are made.
Nowadays, tattoos can take on plenty of different meanings. Certain individuals will associate them with criminals or gang members, while others will think that a tattoo can have a significant and deep meaning for everybody. There are also people who think that tattoos can make a person’s body look twice as amazing. No matter what a tattoo’s significance is for you, the current available technology for making tattoos has since progressed from the earlier days that lately people have been using plenty of new colors and designs to pick from, compared to tattoos from several decades and centuries ago. The person who picks a gorgeous watercolor tattoo is all about wanting to march to the beat of their own drum. They’re the innovators, preferring to think outside the box instead of going with the flow. They also seem to love attention so much. A watercolor tattoo is all about showing off one’s creativity, being free, wild, unique, different and exciting.
The amazing colors utilized in these tattoo designs are meant to draw attention, and those individuals who are getting inked using a watercolor design are not afraid to draw a little bit of attention to themselves. In fact, they seem to crave it.
Watercolor Tattoo Placement
Certain people have particular restrictions in regards to body art placement, all thanks to their professional careers or social circumstances. For them, these tattoos can only be placed on an area which they can cover up easily when needed. People who do this will usually end up acquiring these tattoos on their torso, surrounding the hip area, or on the legs.
But wherever you decide to get your tattoo done, one thing is for sure: A watercolor tattoo, especially those who don’t use a strong black foundation, does tend to fade much quicker compared to other tattoo designs. The transparent color usage, the amount of shading involved, as well as the general look of the design does mean that it could end up aging much quickly, especially if you don’t follow any maintenance tips for it.
Keep your watercolor tattoo well-protected from the sun as much as you can, because too much sun exposure can fade away that tattoo ink. A faded tattoo can lead you to spending an unnecessary amount of cash for cover-ups. And because of this, you may want to pick a spot for your tattoo which makes it easy for you to cover it up whenever you step out in broad daylight, or hit the pool or beach.
One more thing to keep in mind about watercolor tattoos is that it does tend to look so much better on paler skin, similar to other colored tattoos. This is thanks to the tattoo ink’s translucent look, which starts becoming clearer than usual in this kind of watercolor style. This is also the reason why it’s very Important to pick an untanned or a completely covered area for a watercolor tattoo.
The positioning of a watercolor tattoo will all depend on many factors. The positioning itself is a major factor when it comes to the final look of your tattoo. There are artists out there who are willing to charge ten percent to twenty-five percent for a tattoo placed on a challenging body part. Hard locations include elbows, feet, neck, and face. Meanwhile, other spots like finger or hand tattoos are much easier to draw on.
It’s important to think about your tattoo’s placement, since this can greatly influence the speed with how fast or slow it fades out. A tattoo placed on a part of the body which sees plenty of activities, like your fingers or your feet, are much more likely to fade away fast compared to a large tattoo placed on the chest or on the back.
You can either have a large or small version of a watercolor tattoo – It all depends on you. So the placement will rely on your tattoo’s size. If you prefer a tiny watercolor tattoo, a great place to put it would be on the wrist or ankles. A forearm or the back is great if you want a larger piece.
Watercolor Tattoo Preparation Tips
Keeping your skin nicely hydrated is one of the most important steps to take when you’re about to get a tattoo, since this makes it so much easier to do for both you and the artist. You should never ever moisturize your skin right before the session happens, because this can affect how the tattoo gun works.
Another important tip is to shave the spot where you would be tattooed on, to build up a very smooth surface for the artist to start working on. If you aren’t used to shaving your body, ask somebody you know who is a regular shaver to guide you. A perforation or cut into the skin, no matter how small it may be, can make it impossible for the artist to draw a tattoo on there, so be very careful not to break your skin as you shave.
A tiny amount of body hair or a small stubble is fairly acceptable. However, for the best results, it’s always great to have no traces of body hair on the spot. If you prefer to get it shaves, be sure to do it well in advance, preferably before the date when you’ll come to the shop for the session – But not so far away as to the point where your hair will start growing back. Your skin needs plenty of time to heal up after waxing or shaving it, before you can get that tattoo done.
Keep in mind that after you shave it off, it’s also important to keep your skin moisturized so it’ll stay healthy and well-prepared for the upcoming tattoo session. Do not use any alcohol-based aftershave or moisturizer for the tattoo since it can potentially dry out your skin.
You also have to shave the area at least one to three times per week, especially during the weeks leading up to the tattoo session. This is important if you happen to have a lot of body hair. Apart from making the whole process easy for the artist to work on, removing that body hair will help the moisturizing lotion seep into the skin and prepare it for the session ahead. If razor burn happens, stop shaving right away and give yourself at least one week to heal up before you go right in for the appointment.
Getting rid of the impurities from the pores in your skin is another great way for you to do your part in making the procedure more comfortable for both the artist and yourself. Make sure to exfoliate that tattoo gently without causing irritation to the skin with the help of a loofah or an over-the-counter exfoliator. If you exfoliate regularly, the moisturizer will do its job well.
Get plenty of sleep on the day before the session. Go to sleep early and don’t take any illegal substances or get drunk on alcohol. You may want to feel well-rested before you get yourself a beautiful piece of permanent body art.
Are Watercolor Tattoos Painful?
Breathe in as deeply as you possibly can, and try to focus solely on your breathing – And nothing else. For instance, take over ten very deep breaths, count each breath, then repeat.
There are also plenty of medicines you can try out, so you could learn and practice to see if this will help with dealing with the pain. Once again, this is practically a hit-or-miss technique for people – Everything will all depend on how they can concentrate on doing certain things like focusing and doing breathing exercises.
If allowed, try putting on a skin-numbing cream. Remember that once again, this technique isn’t going to work for everyone. However, applying a tattoo-specific numbing cream on your skin before attending your appointment can help take some of that pain away.
There are loads of numbing creams out there which you can use on a tattoo. This includes some very popular products like Ebanel. But not all numbing creams are equal – Before using them, be sure to check if your numbing cream can be used on a tattoo specifically. You can find plenty of numbing creams on the market which were all made for general usage, and a couple of them can actually affect your blood and skin in certain ways so it won’t be detrimental to the final outcome of the tattoo.
There are also side effects like losing and tightening of the wearer’s skin, as well as the thinning and thickening of the blood. This can cause the tattoo to look less-than-desired. This is why you have to check the packaging of every numbing cream that you plan on using, so to make sure that the product itself is completely safe to use.
Where does a tattoo hurt the most and the least? Even though this question isn’t going to have a completely factual answer, personal opinions coming from plenty of people over time will have created a solid base for choosing which parts of the body are likely to be the worst spots for you to get a tattoo. Once again, it’s important to remember that each person is different and that everyone will have a different level of pain resistance for various parts of the body.
But usually, the parts of the body talked about below will receive the same options regarding the various pain levels from a lot of people who have had some work done on those areas of their bodies.
In general, the least painful areas for you to get a tattoo are those spots where there aren’t too many nerve endings as well as a bigger amount of fat to cushion against sensitive muscles and bone areas – Even though there are still some exceptions to the rule.
The least painful areas where you can get a tattoo done include the following: The upper thighs, the upper back, the outer thighs, the central back, the shoulders, the lower back, outer biceps, calves, forearms, the inner wrists, and outer biceps.
Frequently Asked Questions About Watercolor Tattoos
- How quick should these watercolor tattoos fade? And what causes a tattoo to fade away quickly?
- Even though the saying is true, and a tattoo with a lighter color does fade faster compared to black ink and gray ink tattoos, a great tattoo artist who is wonderful in handling watercolor tattoo designs should probably be able to reduce the chance of watercolor tattoos becoming fully unrecognizable as they get older by applying in a black base, then creating a larger depth in contrast. These steps done by the artists themselves will allow the tattoo to cling onto its skeleton a bit longer, despite the fact that some of the lighter shades will begin to fade away.
- What do I need to do if I want to get a tattoo?
- If you are at least eighteen years old and above, you will have to bring in a government-issued ID which shows your birthdate and picture. And if you are underage, other things you have to bring include a parent or guardian, the parent or guardian’s government-issued ID, a complete notary form, and your own birth certificate. Accepted government-issued IDs include driver’s licenses, passports, military ID, state-issued identification card, and the parent or guardian’s original birth certificate, if the client is a minor.
- How long does a tattoo take to finish up?
- Not only does tattooing take plenty of time to complete, it should never be rushed as well, because the end results will be on your skin permanently. The average tattoo size, which is roughly as large as the person’s hand, will take over two hours to finish up. The standard tattoo appointment is constructed in multiples of hours. However, some tinier pieces will only need a thirty-minute session. A complete arm sleeve tattoo, done by an experienced artist, can take over ten or even fifty hours to finish, depending on how detailed the design is.
- How do I decide on a good tattoo shop?
- Visit several tattoo shops in your area, go chat with some tattoo artists, and get an overall feel of the shop. Acquiring a tattoo can be a very personal experience for some, so this means you must have fantastic rapport with your chosen artist, and feel relaxed when inside the shop. How great is their customer service? Plenty of artists out there will treat their clients with contempt, as if they secretly don’t want you around, especially if you’re a first-timer. If this happens, just walk away and find a better shop. There are loads of tattoo artists out there who will treat their clients with respect. If you happen to receive an unwelcome response, or if everyone seems to be ignoring you when you ask for help regarding a tattoo, then perhaps the best course of action is to go find another shop instead.
- Can I use a type of numbing cream or anesthetic?
- A tattoo will not require you to use a numbing product. Each artist has their own set of perspective regarding whether or not it’s applicable to use one, and it’s their choice if they will allow you to do just that. But if you happen to have legitimate concerns regarding the pain of acquiring a tattoo, then it is recommended that you talk to the artist first before pushing through with the appointment.
- How much does a deposit cost?
- The average tattoo shop deposit is over $100. This placement isn’t refundable (with no exceptions) and will be credited towards the final price of your tattoo. If your tattoo takes multiple sessions to finish up, then the deposit will be credited on the final session for this particular tattoo design.
The Cost Of Getting A Watercolor Tattoo
The price of a new tattoo will depend on the artist who makes the tattoo. Certain artists out there will place a price per piece, while others will charge you by the hour. And usually, after the design is finalized, the artist will provide you with an estimate. Talk to them first to learn about the estimate before you can get the tattoo done. For watercolor tattoos, the prices will vary based on the final design as well as the size. So if you have a smaller tattoo in mind that only uses two or three colors or just black ink, then it’ll only cost you around $50 or $60. But if plan on getting a sleeve tattoo with differing colors or shades and you could end up paying a hundred bucks.
Always remember that not all artists are great in making watercolor tattoos. A lot of them will tell you that they can, and maybe they’re right, but they’ll only do an average or poor job on it. A watercolor tattoo usually requires a particular touch and a specific artistic style. And because of that, if the artist tells you they can do a watercolor tattoo design, ask them for samples of their work first before you hire them to do your dream tattoo. A more experienced artist will charge plenty of cash for their work.
Watercolor Tattoo Maintenance Tips
Did you know that only seven states – Namely Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Delaware, Michigan, North Dakota, and Massachusetts – Will all need these tattoo artists to give their clients with several maintenance instructions given by the state’s public health department.
Most dermatologists do think that this rule has to change, so those who get a tattoo will also receive instructions on how to properly care for it, to prevent any form of infection from happening, or any other serious complication.
So how can you be sure that this brand new ink of yours is a thing that you won’t end up regretting in the long run? Here are couple of steps to follow as your new tattoo heals up.
Make sure your artist covers up your brand new tattoo with a thin and even coating of petroleum jelly, as well as a clean gauze or bandage. Take off the bandage after 24 hours, or how long the artist tells you to leave it on. Gently and slowly wash your tattoo using an unscented antimicrobial liquid soap and lukewarm water. Pat it dry.
The next thing to apply on your tattoo is a thin layer of antibacterial ointment at least two times a day. Do not reapply the old bandage, or put on a fresh bandage on top of the tattoo. Keep washing your tattoo several times a day using the same lukewarm water and antibacterial soap. Do not rub on your tattoo to dry it out – Instead, pat it gently and let it air dry. Also maintain the habit of applying ointment or moisturizer after you clean your tattoo, to make sure it stays hydrated and moist.
Keep repeating this process for up to four weeks, depending on how fast your tattoo heals up. Try not to put on any clothes that can stick to your tattoo, and avoid the sun and swimming for over two weeks. Do not take showers that are too hot or too cold – Doing so can cause the ink to prematurely fade away or wash off.
During the later part of the healing process when your tattoo starts scabbing a bit or starts forming hard layers, do not touch it. This is completely normal – But never peel it off, scratch, or pick on the scabs. This can also risk you getting an infection or remove the tattoo’s color, ruining the look. And if you think your new tattoo has been infected or isn’t healing properly, you should go and see the doctor.
When you leave the shop, your ink will look shiny and new. It’ll look bright, and practically perfect. However, this isn’t going to last – Like it or not, a tattoo can fade away over time. Be sure to apply sunscreen on it, especially during the summer time, so the colors will maintain their brightness. An SPF 45 sunblock or higher is the best option for you. Moisturize it as much as possible, especially if it’s found on a spot of your body where the ink can fade away quickly – Like your hands, for example.