Watercolor tattoos are incredibly beautiful and eye-catching, and they look as though someone has taken a paintbrush to your skin. There are many interpretations of this technique; some prefer to include a few dark foundation shades while others choose to make the blended hues the tattoo’s focus, leaving out the black ink and linework completely. You can also make the piece meaningful to you by the images you choose to incorporate into your design. For example, a butterfly represents beauty and transformation, while a hummingbird could symbolize hope and would be the perfect choice for someone who has overcome a struggle. Of all the pros of this style, there are some downsides. Watercolor tattoos fade much faster than regular ink, and the complexity and different shades involved in their creation tend to cost more. Keep reading to find out more about this stunning approach to body art.
1. Watercolor Butterfly Tattoo
Watercolor tattoos expertly blend different hues, creating a piece that is bright and bold. There are many variations in terms of style and design, and you can make your body art unique to you by choosing which elements you want to incorporate into it. That said, if you are drawn to the ideas of beauty, transformation, and freedom, then getting inked with a butterfly is a fantastic choice. The insect is often associated with femininity and could represent an essential time in a woman’s life.
2. Watercolor Hummingbird Tattoo
The vibrant colors are perfect for someone who wants their ink to stand out, and a hummingbird tattoo is something you want to show off. The beautiful winged creature is associated with hope and life. It also represents positivity and is often inked by individuals who have overcome turmoil and are stronger for it.
3. Watercolor Sunflower Tattoo
If you want body art rich in symbolism but eye-catching, then a watercolor sunflower tattoo design is a perfect choice for you. The bright yellow color makes a statement, but it is also associated with feelings of happiness and vibrancy. The bloom symbolizes many things, including warmth and fertility, and it is not hard to see why it would be an appealing piece for a woman to get inked. The flower looks particularly striking when completed using this technique, but one slight downside is that these tattoos, as beautiful as they are, tend to fade faster than traditional ink.
4. Watercolor Rose Flower Tattoo
Of all the flowers you could choose to tattoo, the rose tattoo is probably the most common, and for a good reason. The bloom represents a balance between beauty and pain; although it is lovely to look at, the thorns can harm. It is also a plant that is associated with love and passion. Most individuals choose to tattoo the rose in red ink, but the watercolor technique is another appealing option. The different colors blend into each other, creating an effect that is vibrant and unmissable.
5. Watercolor Elephant Tattoo
When deciding on your next tattoo, a watercolor elephant tattoo design may be just what you need. Not only do the colors bring the piece to life, but this majestic beast is rich in symbolic value and will create meaningful artwork. The elephant is associated with strength and loyalty, as well as wisdom and longevity. It is also a beautiful choice for a woman, specifically, because the herd’s head is always a female, and your ink can thus be a representation of female power.
6. Watercolor Phoenix Tattoo
The phoenix is a mythical bird that is rich in symbolism; often associated with death and rebirth, it is a creature that cyclically regenerates, rising from its ashes stronger than before. When deciding to get a tattoo, you can see why the meanings associated with the phoenix would appeal to an individual who has overcome hardship. It also makes for a beautiful piece when created using the watercolor technique, as it brings the bird to life. You will undoubtedly want to get inked somewhere you can see every day, but the style tends to fade faster than traditional body art. Therefore, the best placement is somewhere that is not regularly exposed to sunlight.
7. Watercolor Feather Tattoo
If you value the ideas of freedom, strength, and wisdom, then a feather tattoo is a great choice. The plumage has a variety of interpretations, depending on the bird it came from. It is also often associated with Native American culture, in which it holds special importance. You can make your ink come to life if you choose the watercolor technique because the bold mix of colors makes it truly stand out. You can get as creative as you want with your body art by choosing your favorite shades, creating something with even more meaning to you.
8. Watercolor Dragonfly Tattoo
Watercolor tattoos will likely need to be touched up in a few years, but you may feel that it is worth the hassle because the effect is so incredible. It is also appealing that it works well with just about any image, including animals and insects. That said, if you want a piece that is especially meaningful and associated with positivity, harmony, strength, and even good luck, then you need to be inked with a dragonfly. The small, winged creature is brightly colored naturally, so this style works exceptionally well.
9. Watercolor Owl Tattoo
Owls are beautiful creatures, but you also want something more than just visually appealing when deciding on your next owl tattoo. The good news is that these nocturnal birds are rich in symbolic value, representing wisdom, protection, and watchfulness. They are also associated with mystery and transition. Owls have important roles in various cultures, with the Native American people believing that they were guardians of knowledge. The Ancient Greeks have used the bird as a symbol of truth and the portrayal of the goddess.
10. Watercolor Tree Tattoo
Tree tattoos have many different meanings, depending on the species you choose, but in general, they are associated with longevity and commitment. It can also represent life and a new beginning, making it an appealing choice for a woman who wants to focus on the future and leave her past behind. The symbolism is not the only thing appealing about this design, but also the technique. Watercolor tats are bright and bold, and they work well with images of nature.
11. Watercolor Cat Tattoo
Cat tattoos are a lovely tattoo choice. You can honor your pet by getting it inked onto your skin, or you may be drawn by the meaning associated with felines. The animal represents luck, intelligence, and gracefulness. For some, they are also connected with mystery and death. The watercolor technique can create a more abstract appearance to your ink, opening it up to interpretation. It also allows your creativity to show, as you can decide which colors to use and how to incorporate them.
12. Watercolor Compass Tattoo
The compass is so much more than a navigational tool. It is also an object associated with a direction and is among the most meaningful things to get tattooed. Many individuals link the instrument to finding your way and staying true to the qualities you feel are important. The powerful symbolism makes it an appealing piece to get inked. When deciding which technique to choose, a hyper-realistic design may not be for you. If so, getting tattooed with the watercolor style can make your body art more abstract and visually exciting.
13. Watercolor Heart Tattoo
The heart is a universally recognizable symbol and one of the most popular tattoo options. It is often associated with love and passion but can take various meanings, depending on the colors you choose. For example, a black heart tattoo is linked with death or heartbreak. One of the best things about this design is its simplicity, allowing you to get it as small as you want. That said, the watercolor technique makes this uncomplicated tattoo a little more creative, thanks to the distinct blending of bright shades.
14. Watercolor Lion Tattoo
There is no other animal as majestic as the lion, and it makes for a beautiful tattoo. People are drawn to the designs of this beautiful creature’s face because not only is it visually appealing, but it is also linked with values such as courage and loyalty. The big cat is considered the king of the jungle, so it can also represent power and strength. If you want your next body art to be vibrant but meaningful, a lion tattoo will be perfect for you.
15. Watercolor Lotus Tattoo
The lotus is a fascinating flower because although it is beautiful, it grows in muddy conditions. It is for this reason that it is often associated with ideas of wisdom and with overcoming obstacles. The plant serves as a reminder that you cannot only survive them no matter what your circumstances are but choose to thrive. It is a symbol of beauty but can also represent purity and peace.
16. Watercolor Paw Print Tattoo
Pawprints are cute tattoo options for those who want to honor the memory of a pet. It is also a fantastic choice for an animal lover who wants to bring their favorite creature to life on their skin. The prints’ direction could also focus on the future and how you are heading the right way. Although this is often a simple design, that can be appealing because you can make it into a small tattoo and thus won’t be limited in placement. That said, if you want to make a statement, don’t be afraid to go as big and bright as you want.
17. Watercolor Wolf Tattoo
The wolf is an animal that is often associated with loyalty and family. The large canines live in packs, in which they depend on the other members for strength and security. A woman who values her loved ones may be drawn to a tattoo of a wolf for this reason. It can also have a spiritual element; the Native Americans believe the animal can guide us through life. When deciding on your body art, remember that with watercolor ink, placement matters. A spot that has little exposure to sunlight will keep your tat from fading quickly.
18. Watercolor Dreamcatcher Tattoo
Watercolor tattoos are time-consuming, and they will cost more than classic blank ink. For this reason, when deciding on this technique, you should choose something meaningful. The style is beautiful and demands attention, and an object like a dreamcatcher works well with this approach. The handwoven piece is also filled with symbolism and represents protection and safety. It is thought to be able to safeguard the individual and filter out negative thoughts and energies. You will not regret a dream catcher tattoo you will not regret getting inked and won’t mind having to retouch in a few years, either.
19. Watercolor Mermaid Tattoo
Mermaids are mythical creatures that belong to the sea, and so, they can represent magic. There are also tales of them luring sailors into the waters, so they are sometimes linked with seduction or sexuality. This can also be interpreted as female power and would make for particularly feminine body art. There may be a few drawbacks involved when getting a watercolor tattoo, such as the time it takes to complete them and the fact that they fade fast, but many people will find the pros far outweigh the cons. When looking at bright shades blended to mimic the effect that paint would have on canvas, it is not hard to see why.
20. Watercolor Galaxy Tattoo
Galaxy tattoos represent life, mystery, and dreams, and what is more dreamy than watercolor body art? This is the perfect piece to get inked because it works so well with the colors blending into each other, creating a beautiful cosmos and an eye-catching piece of artwork. In terms of placement, you want to get it somewhere that is large enough to allow for detail, so spots like the chest, back, leg, or thigh are great for this.
21. Watercolor Flower Tattoo
Watercolor tattoos are one of the most beautiful styles for your body art. They are created by expertly blending colors to mimic how the paint would dry on a canvas, which is gorgeous. The style often has no strong outlines or shadows and works well with images of nature, like a flower, letting you get creative with your chosen colors. You can opt for an abstract flower or create a watercolor base with a more detailed drawing over it. Flower tattoos are also symbolic, representing beauty and growth. The bloom you choose can also impact the overall meaning; for example, a lotus is associated with spiritual enlightenment and purity, while a sunflower represents positivity, devotion, and optimism.
22. Watercolor Sea Turtle Tattoo
A design that lends itself well to the watercolor tattoo technique is a sea turtle. Sea turtles are associated with stability, strength, and endurance. Some species can live up to 50 years or more; the turtle also symbolizes the ocean and its beauty. The watercolor style brings your design to life with its vivid colors. It can be created on a small or large scale, and the way the ink is blended together creates a gorgeous finish.
23. Watercolor Lotus Tattoo
Lotus tattoos are beautiful and symbolic. The lotus is a flower that represents beauty, growth, and spiritual awakening. The bloom grows in conditions many consider unfavorable, rising for murky, muddy waters. For this reason, it can also be seen as a symbol of strength and resilience and can be inked as a reminder that you, too, are powerful and can endure the challenges that come your way. The lotus can be created in various styles, including the watercolor technique for a bright and vibrant design. It can be inked on a small scale or large and can be combined with other imagery if you wish to add to the overall meaning. Popular choices include words and mandalas.
24. Watercolor Tattoo Sleeve
Sleeve tattoos are a great option because they allow you to get creative, blending your images and telling a story. Body art is also expressive, and with the watercolor technique, you do not have to opt for recognizable images as the style also lends itself to more abstract designs. The appeal of watercolor tattoos is that they let you experiment with color, blending your favorite for a bold and bright finish. The downside to watercolor designs is they can fade faster because they lack shading and black outlines. However, they may also hurt less for this reason.
25. Watercolor Bird Tattoo
Bird tattoos are one of the most popular choices for body art because of their relatable symbolism. Birds can fly, which many associated with freedom and independence. Getting a tattoo of a bird can be a way to reflect that you want to escape from your problems or that you have an untamed spirit and are dreaming of new experiences. It can make a powerful statement about your feelings, but a bird design is also a versatile option, lending itself to many styles. This includes the watercolor technique, which brilliantly blends colors that can complement your bird tattoo, as many species are naturally colorful.
26. Watercolor Cherry Blossom Tattoo
Cherry blossom tattoos are beautiful flowers that represent beauty and impermanence. Getting a cherry blossom design can make a powerful statement about your thoughts and feelings regarding life and death. The flowers only bloom for a brief period each year, reminding us to value each moment and live life to its fullest. It can also be inked to celebrate Japanese heritage or show Japanese pride. The style looks gorgeous with the watercolor technique, which captures the beauty of these flowers because you can combine several shades of pink for a bright finish.
27. Watercolor Geometric Tattoo
Geometric tattoos are created using shapes and angles to form an image. It can be a decorative pattern, or it can be added to a nature or animal theme. The watercolor technique is a great way to bring your design to life, creating a vivid tattoo that demands attention. Because geometric designs are detailed, adding black outlines over a watercolor base is best. The unique combination of these shapes and patterns can also have a calming effect, which is why these pieces are often associated with balance, mystery, and harmony.
28. Watercolor Jellyfish Tattoo
For a beautiful and bold tattoo, a watercolor jellyfish design is what you need. The technique is excellent for images of nature and animals, letting you experiment with color and find a finish that complements the design. The jellyfish is associated with strength and protection. There are different species, some of which are deadly while others are harmless; your choice can alter the meaning you wish to convey with your tattoo. It could be a way to warn others that you are not to be messed with or show that you are calm, collected, and do not wish to cause anyone harm.
29. Watercolor Rainbow Tattoo
The rainbow is a colorful choice of design and a deeply symbolic one. It is associated with positivity, goodness, and new beginnings. It can also symbolize inclusion and is used as the Pride flag to celebrate diversity and the LGBTQ+ community. The rainbow is a very simple design; choosing to create it with the watercolor technique will give it a unique finish. The style blends the ink to make it look like paint drying on a canvas, hence the name, watercolor.
30. Watercolor Fox Tattoo
The watercolor technique is beautiful and versatile, letting you adapt it to suit your preference and chosen image. You can opt for a more abstract finish or add black lines and detail over a watercolor background. The fox is an excellent choice for your next design and is associated with quick thinking, wit, and intelligence. It can be a way to remind yourself that you are smart and capable of anything, or it could be inked as a symbol of strength, adaptability, and resilience.
Watercolor Tattoo FAQs
What is a watercolor tattoo?
A watercolor tattoo refers to the technique that is used when getting inked. It is created using a series of bright, bold shades blended together to create the same effect that paint would have on a canvas.
How do watercolor tattoos work?
Most tattoos make use of black shapes and lines, and although a black base can be used for watercolor ink, often there are no strong outlines or shadows. This will cause them to fade faster. Artists will use various techniques to allow the colors to blend and bleed, creating the overall effect.
Are watercolor tattoos more expensive?
Not just any tattoo artist can create a watercolor design, and it needs to be done by someone who specializes in this technique. With this in mind, it is not surprising that the requirement for an individual who focuses on this artistic style, as well as the colors used and the time it takes to complete, would make for a more expensive piece.
Do watercolor tattoos fade easily?
Watercolor tattoos do tend to fade more easily than traditional pieces. This is often due to the lack of solid black outlines. Light shades also don't last as long as darker ones.
Do watercolor tattoos hurt?
Depending on the area of skin you wish to tattoo, your ink will vary on the pain scale. That said, this approach actually tends to cause less discomfort because the technique does not need to puncture the skin as much as a traditional piece would do.
Cailyn Cox holds a degree in journalism and has been working with The Trend Spotter as a writer for over ten years. She has worked with some of the most prestigious women’s and men's lifestyle publications. For her, writing is not just a job; it’s a passion, which is why each article she writes is approached with such enthusiasm and dedication. She has extensive knowledge of hairstyles, tattoos, and beauty and has made a career out of creating informative articles that appeal to women and men of all ages.
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