For many tattoo lovers, skin is just a canvas ready for an artist’s touch. While some prefer the more traditional black and grey style of tattoo, others live for color. A trend that has taken off over the last ten years is the watercolor tattoo. A watercolor tattoo is a tattoo that’s rich in color and movement but light on hard lines. Watercolor tattoos transform skin into works of art and when they’ve been executed properly, they have an almost ethereal quality that is much different than a classic tattoo.
These types of tattoos look like they’ve been applied by paintbrush rather than by a needle and that is due in part to the tattooing process for them. Watercolor tattoos require a light hand and ink is applied sparingly. If a traditional tattoo relies on saturating the pierced skin with color to achieve truly permanent tattooing, watercolor tattoos merely want the ink to kiss the skin. Practically, this means that watercolor tattoos will fade more than others over time, requiring touchups and retouches over time. We need to love them while they last! Let’s take a look at some of the most colorful and unique watercolor tattoos.
Get Lost In These Mesmerizing Watercolor Tattoos!
A Many-Hued Humming Bird
The colors of this tattoo appear to be floating in the air. A very bright and dazzling hummingbird takes a sip of nectar from beautiful, red flowers. This tattoo puts off impressionism vibes due to the lack of hard lines and edges.
A Chihuahua Paw
This woman’s chihuahua left its mark! This watercolor tattoo of a pet’s paw is just too sweet. The vibrant colors and specks of paint along with darker colors bleeding into lighter ones, give this design some serious watercolor cred.
One Wild Ride
Tattoo artist Marco Pepe Encre specializes in watercolor tattoos. In general, you don’t often see a lot of black ink when it comes to this genre of tattoo. The dark, black lines contrast with the seemingly transparent colored inks. It looks as if you’re staring through a piece of stained glass.
Put a Bird on It
Scenes from nature and wildlife translate well for watercolor tattoos. This little blue and green bird with pops of orange and purple is a big statement for such a small size. The feathers of the bird’s wings look like they’re composed of actual brush strokes.
Oh Hey, Manta-Ray
This tattoo of a manta ray looks like it’s swimming up from the depths of the sea. The ray itself is a glowing white and blue figure. Then, there are splashes of blue and purple that make the tattoo interesting.
Gemini in the Sky
For lovers of astrology tattoos, you can combine your love for your sign with tons of vivid colors. This Gemini tattoo contains the symbol for the sign, but you will also find a portrait of the twins in warm and cool colors.
A Far-Out Rose
This watercolor tattoo just so happens to be hiding something. As if by magic, this cosmic-colored rose doubles as a coverup tattoo.
A Rainbow Seahorse
This tiny little seahorse behind the ear is darling. The artist has used a dark black outline and then applied organic bursts of color. This is a smart application of a watercolor tattoo because the black lines will not fade too much and then the color can be reapplied to give it a boost down the line.
A Fiery Fox
This gorgeous black and grey fox tattoo is taken to a whole new level by incorporating a rust-colored glow that almost looks like a cloud. There is some light scarring on the skin, but the tattoo artist has masterfully worked them into the design. This is a remarkable tattoo.
This haunting tattoo is kissed by darkness. We absolutely adore it! Be bold, it pays.
A Light in the Darkness
This tattoo of a lighthouse would be handsome without the color. The stark black and crosshatched shading are delightful. But, with the addition of watercolor, this tattoo offers so much warmth.
This busy tattoo is chocked full of symbolism. Do we understand what that symbolism means? No! Do we hate it? No! The use of color here is amazing. Stay weird, people!
A Colorful Tribute
The person with this tattoo shared this picture along with a dedication to their mom. The subject of the tattoo looks almost like a Disney princess. The color has been applied to look almost like spray paint.
Birds of a Feather
These two love birds are sharing a perch together and snuggling. Love that! The birds are colored ever so delicately with light blue ink. The entire tattoo is punctuated by pops of red the give even more visual interest.
What really matters here is the watercolor effect. There is every color of the rainbow present in the right side (hemisphere) of this contrasting brain.
A Splashy Rose
This watercolor tattoo of a rose makes a splash! The rose looks like it’s landing in a pool of water. If you’ve ever painted with watercolor, part of the fun (and challenge) is letting the water and pigment bleed onto paper. The way the edges are slightly darker and then fade out on this tattoo effectively recreates the effect.
A Jackalope Angel?
This bizarre tattoo of a winged jackalope is something to behold. We do not know entirely what’s going on here, but points for creativity! The cool color palette of purple and blue give this chilly design a psychedelic flare.
A Butterfly Dream
Coincidentally, this swirling watercolor masterpiece is a coverup sleeve. Muhammad Ali once said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Could there be a more apt description of this tattoo?
The neon-colored rose seems to drip with paint. The design uses text for what would typically be the stem of a rose to include “enjoy the silence.” We love the way black and grey were used for the stem and quote leaving so much of the visual weight for the petals of the flower. A stunner!
Catch ’em All
For those of you not up on your Pokémon, this tattoo is of a Snorlax. Yes, this cute Japanese animated creature is pictured here eating a cupcake! The design of this tattoo looks like a pencil drawing that’s been lightly kissed with watercolor. This took some incredible skill from the tattoo artist to pull off.
Starlight, Star Bright!
There’s nothing more majestic and humbling than a big sky full of stars. This watercolor tattoo shows a constellation, of Sagittarius to be exact.
A Honeycomb Garden
This extremely playful tattoo balances the structure of a geometric honeycomb with the gentle shapes of flowers. They play well off one another and seem to swirl together into one harmonious design.
These cute and cheery nesting dolls are splattered with bright blue and red. There are also motion lines below and above the dolls to give them the appearance of movement.
Couldn’t Let It Go
This watercolor tattoo is unique because the design includes a frame: the iconic Mickey Mouse. Inside, characters from Disney’s Frozen stand in front of a globe. The dramatic scene is centered around the heart in the middle of the tattoo. Can you spot it?
Faster than a Speeding Bullet!
These days, Superman-inspired tattoos are cliché. Have you ever since one this dazzling, though? This color-rich tattoo features twisting lines to form the “S” and drips with a cosmic blue that looks like stars. This tattoo also evokes splatter paint memories. What a fun take on an often done tattoo design.
Have you ever? This person has an entire movie poster tattooed on them! This Pulp Fiction-inspired watercolor tattoo would make Tarantino proud. There’s a lot to unpack here. First, Samuel L. Jackson looks nearly photorealistic while the rest of the tattoo gives more of an impressionist imagining of a different scene from the film.
Look at what a difference contrasting colors can make. By using the opposite colors, the fish really pop. We love these ghostly little fish.
Keep Scrolling for Even More Amazing Watercolor Tattoos
Love to Read!
Do you love to read? Let your watercolor tattoo do the talking! With just a heart and a stack of books, this design clearly communicates an idea.
Sure, you could get a rainbow watercolor tattoo but you can imagine even greater possibilities for your ink. Check out this tree that has leaves that look just like the colors of the rainbow!
One of the most popular watercolor tattoo designs we saw, again and again, was of sunflowers. In fact, this isn’t the last sunflower on this list! We love the idea of pairing purple flowers next to the yellow for even more contrast.
Do you love Disney? Get your favorite animated character as a watercolor tattoo portrait so that it can cheer you up every single time you look at it!
Don’t Stop Lion
The blue and pink pairing here is truly remarkable for this otherworldly lion. Notice how the artist has managed to blend the inks to make this look like a legit watercolor painting? Rawr!
We find more blue and pink in these orchid watercolor tattoos that are truly breathtaking. Florals are one of the most chosen subject matter for this genre of ink.
Who does not love a food tattoo? This watercolor tattoo looks like a cool slice of heaven. The random lines also give this design a lot of movement which is very good in any work of art.
For fantasy fanatics, you can get a lot from a watercolor tattoo as they are so whimsical and dreamlike. Need proof? Check out this stunning dragon tattoo!
Adventure lovers and avid travelers would be wise to share their love for the open roads and skies and tracks and seas with a watercolor tattoo of a compass.
How imaginative is this amazing design of a fox being carried by a star? The little flower is the perfect touch for this endearing watercolor tattoo.
Do you have a furry friend you want to celebrate? A watercolor tattoo is a perfect way to make an ordinary pet tattoo extraordinary. The blues and purples are just fabulous!
One Fine Butterfly
Look at how fine the lines of the butterfly appear. It dramatically contrasts with the watercolor splash behind it which looks more organic in shape. Think of juxtaposing these elements for a watercolor tattoo that stands out.
Feathers are another popular subject matter for watercolor tattoos. Here’s a unique one with decorative elements tattooed into it. There’s a subtle watercolor effect here but it’s still gorgeous.
A Beautiful Bun
Pet portraits aren’t just for cats and dogs! Rabbits are beloved pets that also happen to be exceptionally cute which makes them prime candidates for watercolor tattoos.
One Moody Bird
At first glance, you might think this watercolor tattoo is done with just black ink but on closer inspection, you will find that there are some deep purples and blues giving this design even more life.
Fresh Little Prince
The Little Prince is a favorite character for tattoos. We find one of the best interpretations with the galaxy in the background looking positively magical.
Another unexpected thing we noticed about watercolor tattoos is that a favorite character for them is the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. That weird cat really works well in this format.
If you love your plants, you better believe they’re worth tattooing. We find a bonsai watercolor tattoo here with blue and red elements that give it a unique point of view.
Check the Fill
The black ink portion of this tattoo is pretty standard and you will find similarities among other Mandala-inspired designs. What’s different is the way it has been filled like a watercolor tattoo. Stunning!
A Portrait of Peach
If you grew up playing Super Mario Bros. you likely have a soft spot for Princess Peach. We find her here in a very unique portrait that looks like stained glass meets watercolor tattoo.
As promised, here’s another sunflower watercolor tattoo, however, you can see it’s not a bit like the last one we shared with you. We find tons of color as well as deep blacks that make this flower truly dynamic.
You can expand on watercolor tattoo design to create an entire tattoo sleeve that looks as if it’s been painted on. If you’re working with an artist you trust, you could walk away with something as marvelous as this.
An Evocative Piece
Well, this is art. This could be a commentary on each person’s inner child or the way all relationships atrophy over time. Who knows! But, we do know we love this unique watercolor tattoo.
If you’re getting a watercolor tattoo, why limit it to just a couple of colors when you can have the full rainbow? We find all of those colors housed in and around this butterfly design.
The Prettiest Peacock
Most people tend to flash the tail feathers for their peacock tattoos but we find a different sort of design with this bird’s head. He’s a handsome guy, isn’t he? The geometric decorative element really contrasts with the liquid-looking blue ink. What a smart idea!
When it comes to watercolor tattoos or any ink for that matter, flowers are your friends. How stunning are these peonies on the shoulder? Little splashes of burgundy and green “paint” really make this design look like a painting.
This raven tattoo would be a bit boring without that blue swoosh behind it. You can design your tattoo so that one part is a standard tat and then another features the watercolor effect. It’s a winner!
One Delightful Dog
This is our favorite watercolor tattoo on this list! Look at how the purple, blue, and red inks mingle together ever-so-slightly. If you’ve ever painted with watercolor you know the amazing ways the paint blends and pools and creates magical blends.
This watercolor tattoo is all over the place with various styles and perspectives happening all at once! Again, your whole design does not need to look watercolor. You can mix and match for something truly special.
Wow! This furry little fellow looks so charming chasing after his strawberry. Think outside the box and look to nature for inspiration and your watercolor tattoo can be equally original.
Watercolor meets impressionism with this gorgeous tattoo of an elephant which uses so much color to dazzle. Take your animal tattoos to the next level with full color like this!
Are you an avid photographer or a fan of photography? Celebrate your passion with a watercolor tattoo that depicts a camera or even a beloved photo done in watercolor.
The person who shared this image shared that they used dream logic and imagery that came in their sleep for inspiration. The result is a design that marries the wings of a bird with the crests of waves. What a stunner!
Archimedes the Owl
Did you love The Sword in the Stone growing up? Get nostalgic with a watercolor tattoo of your favorite character, Archimedes. The pink and blue watercolor effect adds so much visual interest and updates the old animation.
Nothing to Laugh At
Sure, why not! We find a very creepy, evil clown here tattooed in vibrant rainbow color. We suppose it would be even more unsettling in the absence of such cheerful ink colors.
The dead can dance! As you can see in this watercolor tattoo, the skeletons seem to be floating on a pool of purple and blue. This tattoo is so well done with a slight black border behind the skeletons for added depth.
Get Into the Abstract
There is a feather element in this watercolor tattoo but the rest of the design is more abstract. The vertical element to the left could easily be interpreted as a flower, smoke, or flame. We love tattoos that keep folks guessing so this is a winner in our book!
Hummingbird watercolor tattoos are huge at the moment. We saw more of them than any other subject matter. If you love those little birds, bring them to your watercolor ink party! How magical does this one look?
Watercolor tattoos are a great way to add a pop of color to your life. If you don’t like coloring in the lines, consider getting a watercolor tattoo. Certain tattoo artists specialize in the technique and can give you a dream tattoo that’s dripping with color. Watercolor tattoos are trending right now because they often don’t look real. These tattoos appear painted on like little masterpieces for your skin. We hope you enjoyed these watercolor tattoos.
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 Get Lost In These Mesmerizing Watercolor Tattoos!
- 2 A Many-Hued Humming Bird
- 3 A Chihuahua Paw
- 4 One Wild Ride
- 5 Put a Bird on It
- 6 Oh Hey, Manta-Ray
- 7 Gemini in the Sky
- 8 A Far-Out Rose
- 9 A Rainbow Seahorse
- 10 A Fiery Fox
- 11 Goth Goodness
- 12 A Light in the Darkness
- 13 Thoughts?
- 14 A Colorful Tribute
- 15 Birds of a Feather
- 16 R.O.Y.G.B.I.V.
- 17 A Splashy Rose
- 18 A Jackalope Angel?
- 19 A Butterfly Dream
- 20 Shhhhh…
- 21 Catch ’em All
- 22 Starlight, Star Bright!
- 23 A Honeycomb Garden
- 24 Nesting Dolls
- 25 Couldn’t Let It Go
- 26 Faster than a Speeding Bullet!
- 27 Pure Pulp
- 28 Betta Beautiful
- 29 Keep Scrolling for Even More Amazing Watercolor Tattoos
- 29.1 Love to Read!
- 29.2 Rainbow Leaves
- 29.3 Sunflower Season
- 29.4 Little Stitch
- 29.5 Don’t Stop Lion
- 29.6 The Orchids
- 29.7 Marvelous Melon
- 29.8 Dragon Friend
- 29.9 A Guide
- 29.10 Float On
- 29.11 A Paw-trait
- 29.12 One Fine Butterfly
- 29.13 A Feather
- 29.14 A Beautiful Bun
- 29.15 One Moody Bird
- 29.16 Fresh Little Prince
- 29.17 Creepy Cat
- 29.18 Bonsai Magic
- 29.19 Check the Fill
- 29.20 A Portrait of Peach
- 29.21 Spectacular Sunflower
- 29.22 The Sleeve
- 29.23 An Evocative Piece
- 29.24 Rainbow Butterfly
- 29.25 The Prettiest Peacock
- 29.26 Bountiful Botanicals
- 29.27 The Raven
- 29.28 One Delightful Dog
- 29.29 Cluck It
- 29.30 Squirrel Friend
- 29.31 Electric Elephant
- 29.32 Oh, Snap!
- 29.33 Dream Language
- 29.34 Archimedes the Owl
- 29.35 Nothing to Laugh At
- 29.36 Bone Boogie
- 29.37 Get Into the Abstract
- 29.38 Enchantment
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