Are you looking for a bold and striking tattoo? Maybe something a little darker in nature? Look no further! In this blog, we explore 25 of the best captivating, dark tattoo ideas to help you find the perfect design that’ll look amazing on your skin. Whether you’re searching for a traditional motif or something more modern and unusual, there’s an idea here for everyone.
Dark tattoos tend to not only read as bold and black, but often they contain subject matter that is equally dark in tone. Expect to see plenty of creepy designs but have no fear; we also have some pretty and elegant ones to share. Now, let’s talk dark tattoo ideas!
As we mentioned, dark tattoos often celebrate morbid themes and creepy motifs. Often, there is a rock n’ roll or heavy metal vibe to these designs. Hence, skulls are very popular in this style.
Black and White
Black and white ink tattoos are a recent trend that has begun taking hold. They take an otherwise dark tattoo and give it contrast for visual interest.
Here’s a very cool dark tattoo that features a portrait of the iconic Marlene Dietrich. What gives this design edge is the letter “tattoos” on the face of the star.
Light and Dark
One of the best ways to make a dark tattoo pop is by providing plenty of contrast between the light and dark elements. This creepy skeleton is helped along by the candle in the center with light that seems to be absorbed into the black surrounding it.
Moths Will Work
One of the most popular subject matters for dark tattoos is moths. People love making them beautifully weird in a number of ways. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it, but putting an eye inside is a beloved option.
The Oil Spill
This is an example of a blackout tattoo. Generally, these consist of large portions of skin completely covered in ink. At the top and bottom, we find almost abstract details that look like liquid with organic shapes.
Here’s another dark tattoo that features a face. Portraits are somewhat popular but far less than other subject matter. We get a very horror movie-feeling design here with a character with a finger placed over her mouth. We can keep a secret!
We find more white ink here with a design that looks like an eclipse. We think this turned out really well, and it’s the only time we have seen something like it. A very cool idea!
In tattoo parlance, “blackwork” refers to all-black ink tattoos that often show off the artist’s skill in making crisp, clean lines. We could think of no better example than this one that is so sharp it hardly looks real.
You’ve got a taste of skull but we are here to let you know that skulls are some of the most requested dark tattoos today. What’s not to love?
Here’s a really cool concept that the artist who shared the design referred to as a “snake butterfly.” We think they pulled it off with two snake heads forming the shape of wings.
Don’t Rule Out Color
While black and grey ink will be top of mind for those considering dark tattoos, you can always throw some colorful ink in for good measure. One of the very best color combinations for black ink is red. It really pops!
The Webs We Weave
Spider web tattoos are extremely favored, especially around elbows and knees. Here is an inky example with plenty of shading to give it an ominous look. While web tattoos are popular, you can always get one with a twist.
Put a Bird on It
Spooky birds are always a wise choice for dark tattoos. There is something about them that feels like a bad omen. The artist has really gone in on this black bird that is darker than most others like it.
Well, when we set out to research dark tattoos we did not expect a Furby to be on this list, but when we spotted this gem we just had to share it with you. If you’ve ever wondered what the inside of a Furby looks like, you now know it’s much more thrilling than expected.
Black and White Round II
And once more, we find a white ink design sitting on top of black ink. Mandala tattoos are wildly popular today, and it’s no mystery why. They are ornate, pretty, and visually arresting. If you like this one, keep reading, we have another style to share with you.
Yes! A demonic cat, just what we wanted. Turn to n nature and wildlife, especially for a winning dark tattoo that looks so alive. This design has so much energy that we hope you can bring to your own.
This dark tattoo is for all the Hocus Pocus fans out there. Look familiar? This has to be one of our favorite Billy Butcherson tattoos ever!
All Mashed Up
We’re unsure what is happening with this mess of fur, eyes, and fangs. However, we like it! The weirder, the better in our book.
“Sacrificial goat,” the artist who shared this image captioned it. With a dagger through the back of its head, we suppose this goat is just that. Live your lives, folks.
We love a good witchy tattoo that has an element of darkness to it. We hope this one cast the same spell on you that it did on us.
The classic horror film Nosferatu proves great inspiration in this coffin-shaped dark tattoo that stars the titular character. Think of your favorite horror movies and creepy art, and let them inform your tattoo’s design.
As promised, here’s another mandala design that still fits into the dark tattoo mold. We love all the twisty, turn-y, curly lines that have a sharpness to them. The artist really understood the assignment here.
Wow! Take a look at the artist has created chiaroscuro with light reflecting off of the metal of the helmet. It’s so masterfully executed that this dark tattoo is one of our favorites on the list. Find yourself an artist who can pull something like this off, and never let them go!
While this tattoo might beg you to “look,” you might just want to turn the other way! This eye tattoo is just so creepy that we can’t hang. There’s a level of realism here that is so unnerving. If that’s your taste, lean into it!
There you go! Now you have seen some amazing dark tattoo ideas to get you started. Remember, you do not want to rip off another person’s tattoo. Instead, use these tattoo ideas as springboards for your own design. Happy tattooing!
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 Metal
- 2 Black and White
- 3 Marlene Dietrich
- 4 Light and Dark
- 5 Moths Will Work
- 6 The Oil Spill
- 7 Hush
- 8 Eclipse
- 9 Blackwork Dream
- 10 Scary Skull
- 11 Snake Butterfly
- 12 Don’t Rule Out Color
- 13 The Webs We Weave
- 14 Put a Bird on It
- 15 X-Ray Furby
- 16 Black and White Round II
- 17 Hiss
- 18 Billy Butcherson
- 19 All Mashed Up
- 20 Goat
- 21 Witchy Goodness
- 22 Toothy
- 23 Goth Mandala
- 24 The Helmet
- 25 Take a…
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