Watercolor tattoos are a very popular style now, and they are very fun to do and create. The style of watercolor tattooing consists of many vibrant colors, smooth color blends, and simple subject matter that bring a "painterly" feel to the tattoo.
Today, it would appear that watercolor tattoos are making a new spike and popularity they are not by any means a new style. In the 1960s, the style was also popular using the same color blends and bright color palettes to give the tattoo a more abstract feel.
Technically, all Sailor Jerry tattoos were originally painted as flash using watercolor, and there are many types of art in the tattoo world that use the base form of the medium watercolor to create their art. Knowing this, we can break down all the styles into too many subcategories, such as realism, new school, and abstract (or trash polka). Each category has its own parameters.
Surrealism watercolor tattoos would include a photo realistic subject matter surrounded by what could be bright colors, smooth color blends, and splashes and drips to create a one of a kind tattoo.
Something with less realism would be considered more of a cartoon or a new school look. A new category, which could be considered new school, would include almost what could be a caricature of the subject matter with bright color blends and splashes.
The most common type of watercolor tattoo would have to fall under the category of abstract, which would take an even more messy approach to the construction of the tattoo. The style of Trash Polka can also be considered a style of watercolor tattooing which consists of 75% black and 25% red ink.
Technically, the style of watercolor tattooing is viewed in a negative way because of its execution by many artists who use a more washed-out look to achieve the transparent look that the ink would get on a watercolor paper which does not translate well over time in a tattoo which will eventually fade. However, done with the right parameters, this technique can give you the exact type of tattoo you are looking for without sacrificing the quality and foundation of your tattoo.
There are many questions that come up when people walk into the shop asking for watercolor tattoos. For example: "What exactly makes the tattoo last longer?", "What colors will appear better over time?", and questions about the size and placement of the tattoo.
All these questions can easily be answered by starting with your preferences and the reasoning behind getting your tattoo. Begin with your subject matter to tell your unique story, then choose a style such as abstract or realism. Next, discuss a color palette to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that will last much longer than something that would appear transparent.
When done right, the approach to the watercolor style of tattooing can make any style that exists very unique and turn any ordinary tattoo into a three-dimensional work of art.