White Ink Tattoos

Published on June 10, 2014 by Jodie Michalak

Have you been considering a white ink tattoo design? One of the latest in body art trends, some artists love them while others loathe them.


Here’s what you need to know about white ink tattoos. Unlike regular tattooing techniques, there are some pitfalls to just one shade of ink.


What Are White Ink Tattoos?

As the name implies, white ink tattoos are drawn primaly in one pale hue without any black ink outlines. Because of this, white ink tattoos are very delicate and not nearly as visible as a traditional tattoo design which is part of what makes them so appealing. If you’ve tossed around the idea of wearing a tattoo but aren’t certain you want one that’s colorful, bold or prominent, a white ink tattoo is a safe and unique choice.


What Designs Look Best in White Ink?

Not every tattoo design looks good when created with just one solid opaque hue. You can’t opt for a Traditional Old School tattoo and get any sort of desirable effect when opting for a single ink process.

Some of the best white ink tattoos are geometric patterns such as mandalas, lacey tattoos such as garter designs or and other subtle and intricate patterns such as feather tattoos, and event quotes or scripts. Some people also opt for symbols such as stars, the moon, and triangles.


Why Many Artists Refuse to Do White Ink Tattoos

Despite their popularity, primarily amongst women, many professional tattoo artists refuse to do white ink tattoos. Because the white ink has to remain pure in color, they can’t apply a stencil. Your artist must work freehand to create your tattoo, and this can be very difficult because they often can not see where they are placing the ink.


The next challenge is the healing of a white ink tattoo. Ideally, a white ink tattoo heals exactly as it is expected to, but many times that is not the case. Often, a white ink tattoo heals to a pale yellow, or even in a raised fashion that looks dimensional or mimics a scar. Even worse, the final tattoo is completely transparent, and all the money and time invested by both you and your artist becomes a wash. In this case, many customers expect tattoo artists to fix their tattoos, and many are simply too busy or not willing to guarantee a repeat or successful session with white ink.


What to Do if You Still Want a White Ink Tattoo

Despite the warnings and low success rate of white ink tattoos, there is still a demand for them because they are subtle and much more acceptable in the workplace or other social situations because they are clearly not as visible.


If you are seriously considering a white ink tattoo it is very important that you find an artist whose designs you are comfortable and confident in. You should then take their advice as it is dished out. If you are tan, have freckles or even blotchy skin, your tattoo artist will likely suggest that a white ink tattoo simply won’t work for you. You may instead opt for a similar result with varied pale ink hues that offer a little more leeway for both your artist and the design.


Watercolor tattoos are another unique tattoo trend that are just as subtle and delicate and actually produce beautiful and soft effects. With a few more colors in their palette you’ll be amazed at what your tattoo artist can do.


Sure, you may want simple, but simple is not always best. Sometimes when it comes to ink, more is just more.



Images courtesy Hoang Nguyen and Tattoo Nouveau


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