55 Magical Watercolor Tattoo Designs – Everything You Need To Know

Watercolor tattoos are one of the latest (and hottest) trends in the tattoo world, and more and people are opting to have this style of tattoo over conventional designs. But what exactly is a watercolor tattoo and what makes it different from a regular tattoo? What types of designs are the best? Some people say they fade quickly- is this true? Today we’re going to answer these questions and more so that you can make an informed decision about getting a watercolor style tattoo of your own.


What is a Watercolor Tattoo?

A watercolor tattoo is created using the same technique as a regular tattoo. The process involves inserting a needle into the second layer of skin, known as the dermis. This needle contains black or colored ink and the process is repeated over and over again to create a design. A watercolor design is permanent, just the same as a regular tattoo. Depending on what saturation you want and the skill of the artist this type of tattoo may take slighter longer than a regularly outlined tattoo but generally, they take about the same time.

The difference between a watercolor and a normal tattoo is the technique. The style mimics that of watercolor paintings – created with water-soluble pigments on canvas. It requires immense artistic skill to create this type of tattoo and not all artists offer watercolor designs.

With watercolor style tattoos there is no black outline, which is common in mainstream tattoo designs. This gives the tattoo the soft look of a watercolor painting. The main difference lies in the shading and coloring techniques that the tattoo artist employs to create the splatters, drips, drops, and blurs.

The colors used for watercolor style tattoos are also usually brighter and more vivid than regular style designs and often include rainbow palettes. To get the faded areas and splashes the ink is diluted to make it paler.

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How Long Will It Last?

This is a question that gets asked a lot, and there is a lot of conflicting information about how long a watercolor tat will last versus a regular tattoo. Any tattoo done with black ink will last longer than those with color, simply because there is more pigment in the black ink than any of the others. When colors are diluted they may fade ever so slightly sooner.

However, almost all tattoos will require touching up during their lifespan and it’s certainly not a reason that you shouldn’t get a color tattoo; especially an artwork piece like a watercolor tattoo. There is no conclusive evidence to prove that they will not last or that they will fade quickly.

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What Designs Are The Best?

This type of tattoo is extremely suitable for both men and women because there are so many different designs – and you can even design your own with the help of your artist. The obvious advantage of doing this is that you will have something entirely unique! The best design for any tattoo is, of course, something that you love and something that you feel represents you and your personality. A watercolor style tattoo is a good choice for artistic people wanting to show their love for fine design and innovation.

The three most common designs for watercolor art tattoos are abstract, animals, and nature inspired images. Let’s look at each one in a little more detail.


Firstly, we need to understand what abstract art actually is. This type of art is stylized; it does not represent an accurate picture of reality, but it is still able to achieve the effect of the object by using shapes, forms, and colors. For example; think of is a tree, an abstract tree could just be a brown stripe topped with a green ball. It’s not an accurate portrayal of a tree, but we know what it is.

Sometimes abstract art does not represent something we see, but can also be just as a form of expressing thoughts and feelings – taking form in unusual forms and brush strokes. Abstract tattoos in the watercolor style are usually very colorful and may range from more “tidy” designs to large pieces full of splashes, runs, drips, and drops. This all depends on what the client and the artist have in mind.


Many people have a favorite animal – an animal that they feel connected to on some level, usually due to that animals characteristics. Tattoo lovers often choose animals for their designs and this extends to watercolor tats as well. These usually look best on a medium to large scale and popular choices are tigers, foxes, owls, elephants, owls, and birds as well as mythical creatures like dragons and phoenixes. There are plenty of design ideas out there, but you could choose something completely different if you wanted, such as an animal skull or fantasy design.


Watercolor has always been a popular medium for nature inspired scenes and depictions. With the tattoos the same is true; as well as choosing animals a lot of people also choose flowers like cherry blossoms which are popular with guys and girls, birds (swallows especially), trees, feathers and other nature images.

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How To Choose a Watercolor Artist

Before choosing a tattoo artist for any tattoos you should always have a good look at the environment and instruments they are working with. You should only use reputable tattoo artists in clean, well run parlors and shops. They should always wear gloves, use clean equipment and fresh needles. If you are looking for an artist for a particular style, such as watercolor, ask to see their portfolio and examples of similar work that they have done.

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In Short…

It’s easy to see why this style of tattoo is becoming so popular. It’s a break from the styles we are used to seeing and also has a more artistic feel. The technique is also eye-catching and if you do decide to get one, be sure that you’ll get a lot of interest over it. They take just as long as a regular style tattoo and from what we know they will last just as long as well.

The most difficult decision you’ll probably face is what design to choose because there are just so many, but the right artist will help you with that. Watercolor style tattoos are hot, and definitely, look set on being around for quite some time.

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