Of all the tattoo trends that we’ve witnessed taking off over the last few years, the blackout tattoo sleeve is the one with the most traction. The look is accomplished by “blacking out” an arm or other part of the body with black ink. Now, people have decided that they’re a little bored with just the black, so they’re adding white ink on top to create eye-popping designs.
These white on black tattoos have grown so popular over the past year, that we’re now seeing them all the time. They are typically abstract or floral designs, but many of them are intricate and extremely detailed. Let’s take a look at this emerging trend that pairs black and white to dramatic effect. Here are 25 blackout tattoos with white ink that stun without color.
Here’s a bold blackout sleeve with waves or flames splashed all over it. This sleeve highlights the two different paths artists can take on black ink. It presents a mixture of both thick and fine lines to give the tattoo depth.
White Flowers on Black Ink
These flowers look stunning in white with a touch of grey mixed in. It appears that the artist has applied white ink on top of the black, and then, has come back with more black to further define the shapes of the petals and leaves.
While this isn’t a complete blackout situation, we do find a glistening white mandala on top of black ink. The abstract design appears to glow here. We love the way both inks are used to create a subtle gradient near the ankle.
Here’s another black and white tattoo that features a mandala along with an array of kaleidoscopic imagery. See how the negative space left between the blocks of black ink to give the appearance that the design is wrapping around and up the arm.
Here’s a marvelous little half sleeve tattoo that uses white ink for ethereal, smoke-like swooshes on the forearm. Notice how the shape is almost scalloped at both ends, giving even more visual interest and uniqueness.
This blackout with white ink looks surprisingly ethereal. The crescent moon appears to be dotted with craters which offer texture in the sea of black. It was an interesting choice to take the blackout all the way to the beds of the fingernails.
Here’s an interesting one that you don’t see very often. A blackout tattoo that reveals some of the tattoos underneath! It looks unlike most and we love the way the artist has applied the Virgin Mary on the forearm. Be bold and it will pay off!
Here is a fun and whimsical piece that is decorated with a simple drawing of a city. It looks as if it’s been lifted from an illustrated children’s book.
Here we find a very black blackout with the finest of fine white lines. Notice how the design escapes the black block near the wrist and transforms to black ink to carry the design onto bare skin. A stunner!
Here we find an abstract design that’s helped with a touch of grey ink added to the white to help make it look truly subtle. This is such a tidy tattoo with very neat line work.
The woman described this tattoo as a one that represents her family. Her partner has the same design, except his is the opposite and shows it in black ink on whereas her tattoo is done with white ink on black. A lovely idea for a matching tattoo.
Here’s a cover up tattoo that is a vast improvement from the original. We find an intricate mandala-inspired design that looks so sharp in white ink on black.
We really love this design as it takes familiar motifs from Asian art and reimagines them in black and white. The tiger looks excellent, but the thing we love most is how the blackout is framed with different shapes to make it look less stark.
Here’s a cute fish that showcases the best of both worlds. It’s a sort of blast over tattoo that reveals some of the tattoo that is under it. This is such a fun effect and we love simple designs like this one.
On the other hand, you’ve got a giant back tattoo like this one that features a black arrow shape with white ink flowers on it. We can’t imagine how long something like this would take, but we assume it was over the course of a few days. What a dream!
Here’s a somewhat random and trippy design that puts a moth at the forefront. Curiously, the moth is on a honeycomb shape which appears to be floating through the galaxy. We have no idea what’s going on and that’s just fine!
We find some very sharp flowers on upper arm and shoulders. If you’re looking for a way to give a floral tattoo more visual interest, consider something similar for your own tattoo.
We love the overall shape of this blackout and the tiny details inside the turtle shape. This almost looks like it’s been inspired by tribal designs. The bold shapes paired with the smaller, more detailed ones is a match made in heaven.
Do you love geometry? We find a slew of shapes all jumbled together here that somehow results in a balanced and harmonious design. It appears the artist has used a touch of blue ink in the blackout and a little yellow for the star. How dynamic!
What Do You See?
Friends, we refuse to tell you how long we’ve stared at this tattoo trying to figure out what in the world it is. We’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a closeup of a skull. But, we aren’t the only ones who don’t feel so sure about that. Comments on the image on social media are full of people trying to guess what it is. Some suggest it’s of waves and others say it’s a horse?
This huge tattoo will take your breath away. There’s so much going on and it is all done with such precision. This is a truly remarkable tattoo that mixes a variety of abstract designs and shapes.
Floral Is the Mood
Abstract shapes and designs are clearly a favorite for these white ink tattoos. Here, we find one that looks simultaneously like a snowflake, a flower, and a star.
Not all are abstract, however! We find a very detailed zombie creature done on black with white and grey. The white really does make the eyes glow in the most unsettling fashion.
Here is a cover-up tattoo in which the tattoo has added white ink to shade a gas mask over a black background. They have managed to add some realism to the design which isn’t too common for this genre of tattoo.
While not a full blackout sleeve, this rectangle of black is still very cool. We find hands in a study of opposites that transform from black ink to white. What a thrilling piece!
There you go! We hope you enjoyed these white ink tattoos on blackout backgrounds that offer so much drama. These emerging trend is inspiring artists to think outside of the box to make the style really special.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 Tempest Waves
- 2 White Flowers on Black Ink
- 3 Mandala Inspired
- 4 Abstract
- 5 Swoosh
- 6 Haunting Moon
- 7 Illuminated
- 8 Cityscape
- 9 Negative Space
- 10 Moody
- 11 Family Ties
- 12 Covered Up
- 13 Meow!
- 14 Fishing
- 15 Drama
- 16 Moth
- 17 Lines
- 18 Turtle
- 19 Starstruck
- 20 What Do You See?
- 21 Splendid
- 22 Floral Is the Mood
- 23 Scary
- 24 Gas Mask
- 25 A Slice
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