Have you been saving it? Counting your coins and filling your tattoo jar for this very moment? Whether you’re tattoo covered or preparing to get your first piece, it’s a fun and exciting occasion, and one that needs some good art to go with it.
Once you saved the money for a tattoo, you’ll be looking for the right design and the right artist. There are so many incredible tattoo artists in the world and great styles including blackwork tattoo styles.
If you’ve never gotten a tattoo before, if it’s been awhile, or if you’re looking to work with a new artist, it’s good to brush up on your tattoo etiquette. And if you’re considering blackwork, it’s good to know some of the styles more commonly seen so you know what you want.
7 Blackwork Tattoo Styles
A blackwork style tattoo means it’s done with black ink only. This is a style derived from ancient tribal tattooing but has evolved greatly to incorporate all kinds of art styles today. Below you will find all kinds of blackwork tattoo ideas.
Tribal tattoos may be what you think of immediately upon hearing blackwork style tattoos. Tribal tattoos are some of the first tattoos to exist and come from a long line of traditions. They are often beautiful, solid pieces, but are by no means the only option when considering a blackwork style tattoo.
Geometric style tattoos are very popular for blackwork, and allow artists to be creative and innovative with designs. You may want to go to an artist who does a lot of geometric designs and allow them to create something with little guidance.
Geometric tattoos can be complicated tessellations or simple designs built from various shapes. They can be smaller pieces, but also look great as a full sleeve or back design. Either way, they are a great choice for a tattoo in the blackwork style.
Ornamental designs are similar to geometric designs, but rounder, ornate, and similar to henna styles. You may want a more mandala-type design, which would fit into the ornamental style. This can translate well to larger designs, but also works well on the small scale.
Blackout tattoos are exactly what they sound like. They fit perfectly within the blackwork style tattoo category and consist of large blocks of completely filled in black. These tattoos can be very striking and are often seen on arms and legs.
Blackout tattoos, like most all blackwork style tattoos, will age well if you take care of them. They don’t rely on thinner, more ornate designs, and may not require shading depending on what you want.
5. Dark Art
The dark art style often takes inspiration from etchings. It can feature alchemy imagery, taking influence from tarot cards and other sources. Dark art can be beautiful and as ornate as you want. The artist may also approach designs in unique ways, using dot work or dark lines depending on the piece.
6. Graphic Art
Graphic art works especially well as a blackwork tattoo style. Think of all the visual prints done in black and white. Many artists take inspiration from manga and comic work, creating unique graphic art tattoos in all black. These tattoos may depict scenes or characters, and verge on looking exactly like illustrations.
When using only black ink, the artist will need great skills to work on the linework needed for certain pieces. However, if you know the work you want and are working with the right artist for that piece, you’re sure to get a great tattoo from the process.
Lettering, calligraphy, and graphite inspired tattoos do not always fit into the blackwork tattoo styles. Often lettering or script tattoos will use greys and white to add contrast and create shading and shadows. But blackwork style can certainly work with lettering designs.
Often having solid black lettering can create beautiful and bold lettering. And many of these styles, including lettering, can be combined in various ways within the blackwork style. You can have a tattoo that incorporates graphic and blackout components to create an individual tattoo for you.
You don’t have to have a full tattoo design ready before walking into a shop or contacting an artist. If you find someone whose work you admire, that might be all you need and you can then ask for their available designs. Most tattoo artists are happy to work with you to help create a design you will be truly happy with for the rest of your life.
For many of these styles, it is good to find artists who usually do these types of designs. That way they are more likely to want to work with you on your specific tattoo, or will have some good flash options already available for you to choose from. Remember, getting a tattoo isn’t a solo experience but one between both the artist and the client.
Go Get Inked
You can usually find artists who specify that they do blackwork. Whether you’re looking for a new striking piece, or want to cover-up a previous work, blackwork is a great option for your next tattoo. Blackwork tattoo styles can vary greatly but include a lot of choices to suit what you want.
Once you’ve decided on a general design idea or picked the perfect artist for you, you’re ready to make that appointment and get your next work of art. If you found this article helpful in giving you the blackwork tattoo inspiration you needed, check us out for more good design styles, tips, and tattooing news! Stop by our Maui Tattoo shop or our Henderson location.