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30 Watercolor Tattoo Ideas For Men

30 Watercolor Tattoo Ideas For Men, October 17, 2019

by MWT Team

Man wearing a watercolor tattoo on his calf

Watercolor Tattoos For Men

The world of watercolor tattoos continues to expand and birth new artists and art forms that transcend the culture.

Tattooing is an aged old practice that deals with permanently injecting ink into the skin.

Over the decades, the art form has taken on new ideas and techniques that aim to grow the art.

Watercolor tattooing is one of those newer forms, established within the last half-decade; the internet has gracefully introduced us to some of the most creative skin artists in the world.

Watercolor tattooing is a unique and rare skill but when you find the right artist it can lead to a beautiful, one of a kind art piece.

Although, this art form entails many of the same elements involved with traditional tattoos there are some small differences that we will highlight to ensure you receive the type of work you desire.

As the popularity continues to rise, we are starting to see more men with watercolor tattoos that stand out from any and everyone.

What is a Watercolor Tattoo?

A watercolor tattoo is a colored tattoo that imitates the brush stroke of a watercolor painting, adding a drip painting effect to the composition.

Generally, the watercolor tattoo artists use bright colors and a large selection of tints and shades to emphasize the watercolor effect.

Aesthetically pleasing, the watercolor tattoos easily blend with other tattoo techniques and styles, like negative space tattoos or portrait tattoos, offering a huge range of tattoo ideas to choose from.

Based off of watercolor artwork, the style takes form by creating a finish that looks as if it is dripping off of the skin.

It is typically created with a free-form design, utilizing bright and bold colors to make the image pop off of the skin.

A free-form design means a design that lacks an outline.

In most tattoos, the outline allows the artist to always have a base to work from; this particular style eliminates that base to provide a colorful image not relying on an outline as a shade.

A disjointed element like splashes are used in watercolor designs, so this technique is difficult but when done correctly creates a seamless visual that looks stunning on the skin.

Since tattooing is genuinely looked upon as a rebellious act, watercolor tattoos would be the newest form of rebellion even in terms of traditional tattoos.

This style completely flips the traditional ideology of tattooing on its head forging its path.

This may be the reason for so many concerns from artists.

Caring Tips For Watercolor Tattoos

The artwork involved in watercolor tattoos is beautiful and vibrant; many skeptics tend to think that because it lacks a black outline typically used by tattoo artist, it may fade much faster.

Unfortunately, the art form is so new that it is almost impossible to gather that information.

The truth is ALL tattoos fade over time and this is no different for watercolor tattoos for men or women.

There are several ways you can help to ensure your tattoo last longer than expected.

1. Avoid too much sunlight: Sunlight can fade any tattoo, not just a watercolor tattoo but spending too much time in direct sunlight will speed this process up.

You combat this by placing the tattoo in an area on the body that does not receive direct sunlight daily.

But if this isn’t a possibility for you, regular touch-ups can help you avoid changes caused by the sun.

2. Maintain proper skincare: Taking care of your skin is essential to maintaining your tattoos.

Watercolor tattoos are no different, ensuring you keep your skin vibrant and healthy by using lotions and creams that help you withstand natural erosion.

Natural oils like grape seed, tea tree, and vitamin E oil make for great alternatives for sensitive skin.

Proper care for your skin is about what you consume as well; drinking water and eating fruit will help keep your skin healthy which ultimately affects the vitality of your tattoo.

3. Avoid constant friction: This is difficult when dealing with any tattoo but especially for watercolor tattoos for men.

Men typically sweat and wear layers over their tattoos in professional settings, so this aspect of care comes into play much more often.

Friction can come from clothing, or simply continuous rubbing against a rough surface.

This will fade and spread your tattoo causing it to look aged at a very quick rate.

To avoid this complication, try covering the tattoo when you wear sleeves or jeans to help it stay away from normal friction with the fabric.

Aftercare of your tattoo is vital to its longevity since watercolor tattoos lack the bold black outline of regular tattoos, regular touch-ups help keep the colors connected and vibrant.

Watercolor Tattoo Styles

There are two popular styles of watercolor tattoos for men available.

These styles contrast simply by the outline used as the base of the tattoo.

As mentioned before the dynamic aspect of a watercolor tattoo is the look it gives off that it sits independent of a base on your body.

It distinctively resembles a watercolor painting. If you love watercolor art you will love the look of a well done watercolor tattoo.

Watercolor tattoos that do not use a black base: Void a black base, the artwork relies heavily on vibrant colors to create a stunning appearance.

This style highlights the edges by adding a filmy shading quality, making it impossible to distinguish from the rest of the art-piece.

Some of the best watercolor pieces in this style closely resemble body paint.

Watercolor tattoos that use a black base: This style utilizes a sense of foundation or shadow to serve as the skeleton of the artwork.

It leans towards a higher contrast of color because of the black outline.

Tattooists work with this style because they believe the black outline will aid the aging process.

The contrast in color makes for great pop and provides the necessary skeleton for less complicated touch-ups down the line.

How To Find The Right Watercolor Tattoo Artist

If you are getting your first tattoo, it is important to ask around the community to find the best artist for your particular style.

Finding an experienced watercolor tattoo artist can be difficult since the art form is relatively new.

Make sure you hire an artist who has experience in working with different skin types as well as one who has a watercolor tattoo for men artwork in their portfolio.

The internet has made that process easier but finding an artist with the previous portfolio of watercolor tattoos is the best way to eliminate complications.

The right tattooist will combine experience with technical skill, knowing what you are looking to get done before the appointment so that you can clearly explain your vision to the artist.

Watercolor Tattoos Pain Chart

It is a tattoo, so pain is involved. A watercolor tattoo, according to most, is equal or similar in pain as a traditional tattoo.

The brushstrokes make a significant difference in how the art piece will turn out, which could take some time and effort to perfect, this may irritate the skin.

Skin irritation is common but can be controlled with care and the use of recommended creams and oils.

The Pros And Cons

The internet has truly opened up the world to creativity and expression.

It has allowed creative people from all over the world to share their skills with an eager audience.

Tattooing has benefitted from the new technology and instant communication allowing little known artists to gain access to a vast fan base that extends across oceans.

Watercolor tattoos have become more popular as more artists start to practice the technique.

Learning the techniques takes a skilled hand and someone who is dedicated to offering different services to their clients.

A tattooist who is constantly learning new ways to improve their business is the type of artist you want to invest in.

Its popularity stems from its rule-breaking of the conventional tattoo.

The idea that colors can stand alone as a work of body art is unique and offers a discrete personalization that traditional tattoo can’t.

Although, the look is the most important thing, there are a few pros and cons you need to know if you’re thinking about adding a watercolor tattoo to your body.


1. The beautiful, vibrant, and colorful look.

2. Resembles watercolor art.

3. Relatively simple and easy to touch-up and cover-up.

4. Ages well on the skin.


1. The price range may be significantly higher than a traditional tattoo.

2. Requires a tattoo artist with a specialized skill set.

3. Requires regular touch-ups to ensure longevity and vitality of the piece.

4. Ages at a more frequent rate.

Watercolor Tattoo Ideas

If you're planning on getting a watercolor tattoo, we strongly recommend you to do your research and choose a tattoo artist who is specialized in watercolor tattoos!

For more inspiration, take a look at our watercolor tattoo photo gallery and tell us which one is your favourtie one!

1. Galaxy Watercolor Tattoo

Galaxy Watercolor Tattoo On Calf Photo credits

2. Small Watercolor Tattoo

Small Watercolor Tattoo On Forearm Photo credits

3. Forearm Watercolor Tattoo

Forearm Watercolor Tattoo Photo credits

4. Boat Tattoo

Boat Watercolor Tattoo Photo credits

5. Abstract Watercolor Tattoo

Abstract Watercolor Tattoo On Forearm Photo credits

6. Lion Tattoo

Lion Watercolor Tattoo Photo credits

7. Watercolor Negative Space Tattoo

Watercolor Negative Space Tattoo Photo credits

8. Watercolor Portrait Tattoo

Watercolor Portrait Tattoo Photo credits

9. Yin Yang Tattoo

Yin Yang Watercolor Tattoo Photo credits

10. Wolf Tattoo

Wolf Watercolor Tattoo Photo credits

11. Watercolor Sleeve Tattoo

Watercolor Sleeve Tattoo Photo credits

12. Watercolor Lettering Tattoo

Watercolor Lettering Tattoo Photo credits

13. Travel Tattoo

 Man wearing a watercolor tattoo on his forearm Photo credits

14. Watercolor Forest Tattoo

Watercolor Forest Tattoo Photo credits

15. World Map Watercolor Tattoo

World Map Watercolor Tattoo Photo credits

16. Watercolor Flower Tattoo

Watercolor Flower Tattoo Photo credits

17. Watercolor Skull Tattoo

Watercolor Skull Tattoo Photo credits

18. Photo Camera Tattoo

Photo Camera Watercolor Tattoo Photo credits

19. Watercolor Phoenix Tattoo

Watercolor Phoenix Tattoo Photo credits

20. Watercolor Backpiece Tattoo

Watercolor Backpiece Tattoo Photo credits

21. Eagle Tattoo

Watercolor Eagle Tattoo Photo credits

22. Watercolor Leg Tattoo

Watercolor Leg Tattoo Photo credits

23. Watercolor Chest Tattoo

Watercolor Chest Tattoo Photo credits

24. Sunset Tattoo

Watercolor Sunset Tattoo Photo credits

25. Watercolor Tattoo

Man wearing a watercolor tattoo on his biceps Photo credits

26. Watercolor Bracelet Tattoo

Watercolor Bracelet Tattoo Photo credits

27. Ocean Wave Tattoo

Ocean Wave Watercolor Tattoo Photo credits

28. Watercolor Matching Tattoos

Watercolor Matching Tattoos Photo credits

29. Calf Watercolor Tattoo

Calf Watercolor Tattoo Photo credits

30. Watercolor Arm Tattoo

Watercolor Arm Tattoo Photo credits

To Sum Up

The beauty of the art form continues to grow in popularity, so much so you are starting to see more people adding the technique to existing pieces or even using the vibrant colors to help cover old outdated pieces.

If you want to stand out and express your passion for artwork a watercolor tattoo for men could be the best option.

It is unique and made with a personal touch; the rarity of the art form will garner the attention you want.

Remember to take good care of your work, aftercare is essential to how a watercolor tattoo holds up over time.

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