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 blackout tattoo trend that pairs black and white to dramatic effect. Here are 50 blackout tattoos with white ink that stun without color.
Here’s a bold blackout tattoo 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 tattoo 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 tattoo 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 tattoo 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 blackout tattoo with very neat line work.
The woman described this blackout 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 tattoo 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 blackout 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!
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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 tattoo 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 blackout 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!
By far, the most popular subject matter for blackout tattoos with white ink is flowers. Chrysanthemums are one of the most requested and it’s easy to understand why.
Mandala-inspired blackout tattoos are a huge draw. This very intricate example is just so gorgeous.
We find an owl blackout tattoo that is partially skeletal in this photo. If you have an affinity for a certain animal, go ahead and request it for your tattoo. Celebrating nature and wildlife is always a smart choice.
This blackout tattoo appears more like a “greyed out” one. We find bold black lines over it with the addition of white ink to give the flower texture.
A Diamond & Dagger
Here’s another flower blackout tattoo with white ink. The diamond shape in the background provides visual interest. Get creative with the shape of your blackout for a more original look.
Wow! These roses on this blackout tattoo jump out at you first but if you take a closer look, you will see an entire ship tattooed across the shoulders.
This blackout tattoo looks like a slab of marble or broken glass. It’s an extremely cool effect that we imagine will appeal to those wanting an understated and sophisticated tattoo.
A Whole Mood
Wow! This blackout sleeve is one of the best tattoos on this list. Botanicals meet a creepy skull and a fat fish. Do your research on a tattoo artist and you can find someone who can help you achieve the perfect design.
On the Web
We often see spiderweb tattoos as filler for sleeves but in this blackout tattoo with white ink, the spider is taking center stage. It’s such a haunting design that will be unnerving for those of us who are not fans of the creepy crawlies.
A Touch of Paisley
The artist who shared this image captioned it to say that the design was inspired by a print on a bandana. Take inspiration from wherever you can find it and you will walk away with something that no one else has.
We find a ferocious cat with a dagger through its head. If this were not done in white ink, it would be a standard traditional-style tattoo. Simple yet bold shapes are a hallmark of this style and it’s easy to see why this style has persisted for decades.
Black and white flames look smart in this half-sleeve tattoo. If you’d like to heat things up, consider something similar for yourself.
Where Eagles Dare
We find a traditional eagle and rose tattoo floating on a sea of black ink. The thicker the lines of the tattoos are, the longer they will remain visible and pronounced.
The hamsa is a symbol found in a variety of cultures and is associated with yoga. It’s a symbol of protection with an evil eye in the center that’s supposed to ward off negative energy and bad deeds.
We find a whimsical blackout tattoo in this swimming mermaid design. It’s highly stylized and unlike any mermaid tattoo we have ever seen. It certainly makes a splash!
A geometric skull might be the right blackout tattoo with white ink for those who are not afraid of the macabre. It’s a haunting image that makes a real statement.
Here’s another blackout tattoo with an abstract design. It looks like bubbles and water to us. Take a look at all of the thin lines used to make the swirl. That’s a ton of detail!
As you’ve likely gathered, geometric designs are some of the most popular for blackout tattoos. The more intricate detail, the better. This one looks like a cool maze.
Broken glass is immediately recognizable and highly evocative. The white ink on this blackout tattoo stands out so much it almost looks as if the skin is raised beneath each “crack.”
We’re absolutely mesmerized by this portrait of a goddess figure. Notice how tidy all of those dots are in the fabric of the dress? That’s no easy feat. Work with a talented artist to help you realize your vision and you could walk away with the best tattoo you’ve ever seen.
This stunning blackout tattoo with white ink looks as if it’s been lifted from an old picturebook. Super clean lines make the licking flames really pop. Bravo!
If you’re considering florals for your blackout tattoo, improve the design even more by adding a vase that’s got a cool design on it. It’s an instant upgrade.
For the Faithful
Surprisingly, we did not encounter too many religious-themed blackout tattoos. But, this portrait of JC really stood out to us. It’s reminiscent of old Russian iconography.
You Love Your Plants
Do you have a houseplant obsession? Many of us became enamored with our indoor gardens thanks to the pandemic. Celebrate your passion for plants with a tattoo!
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 an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 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
- 25.1 Chrysanthemum
- 25.2 Marvelous Mandala
- 25.3 Owl Pal
- 25.4 A Band
- 25.5 A Diamond & Dagger
- 25.6 Ahoy!
- 25.7 Like Marble
- 25.8 A Whole Mood
- 25.9 On the Web
- 25.10 A Touch of Paisley
- 25.11 Roar!
- 25.12 On Fire
- 25.13 Where Eagles Dare
- 25.14 At Peace
- 25.15 Building Blocks
- 25.16 Mermaid
- 25.17 The Dead
- 25.18 Bubbles
- 25.19 Geometric
- 25.20 Broken Glass
- 25.21 Queen
- 25.22 Destruction
- 25.23 A Vase
- 25.24 For the Faithful
- 25.25 You Love Your Plants
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