Cover-Up Tattoos: All You Need To Know

21inkedd in Guides

You have a bad tattoo that you would rather no longer have and the time has come to do something about it; but what can you do?

You only really have two options, 1. Laser Removal, 2, a Cover-Up. The former is more painful than getting a tattoo and also much more expensive, the latter however costs the same as any regular tattoo and is something you've already been through so if you opt for the cover-up route here's all the stuff you need to know!

Your Choice May Be Limited

Cover-up Japanese Tattoo by Sink Candy Tattoo
Cover-up Japanese Tattoo by Sink Candy Tattoo

Getting a cover-up works like getting any other tattoo, you find a design, talk it over with the artist and book your appointment. The real difference comes with the choice of tattoos you have, depending on what you're getting covered certain images just won't work. It's really a matter of finding what works best with the existing tattoo and whether you like it or not, in the end it becomes a matter of tweaking and compromising, With a cover up you have to accept your initial idea may not work, but persevere and a design will come.

Size

Cover-up tattoo
Cover-up tattoo

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When covering a tattoo the new tattoo is always going to be bigger, there's no way round it! Think about it, you're not going to cover a portrait with a dainty tribal design. In terms of cover-ups bigger is most certainly better, having a bigger tattoo covering the old one gives you more freedom in what can be tattooed and what styles and images you can have. Again the artist doing the cover-up will tell you what's what and help you determine size and style.

Cover-Up Colors 

Cover-up tattoo
Cover-up tattoo

The colors most used in cover-up tattoos are blues, browns and blacks, why? Because they are the best at covering old ink, colors like reds, yellows and oranges can occasionally fail to fully conceal preexisting ink if it is to dark. Bright color cover-ups are usually covering other bright work!! The bolder and darker you go the better the cover-up will be. Though it is good to be aware that not all people suit dark tattoos, so if you're one of those a session or two of laser removal may open up the color pallet a little more and save you from having to go with the standard black panther tattoo!

Go To An Artist Experienced In Cover-Ups

Clock Cover-up Tattoo by Insight Studios
Clock Cover-up Tattoo by Insight Studios

In the modern world there is an awesome search tool called the internet, so if you're looking for an artist to give you a kickass cover-up then make the internet your first port of call, it will be the easiest way to find an artist with the skills to erase your regrettable ink and replace it with some amazing work! Finding the right artist is key to the success of your cover-up, do your research and find someone with experience in cover-up tattoos!

How Does It Work?

Cover-up Eagle Tattoo by Requiem Body Art
Cover-up Eagle Tattoo by Requiem Body Art

A cover-up tattoo works in a similar way as any other tattoo, your artist will first take an outline of the area getting tattooed including the tattoo being covered. They will then begin assessing the area and tattoo and figuring out what will work best to cover it, i.e. what style, what shape, what color and how big etc. When they've got it down it's time for the needle and your old tattoo will soon be no more!

Not All Cover-Ups Are Completely New Tattoos

Depending on what you're looking to get covered and how much you actually want it gone there is the option of including the existing tattoo in the new design. A tattoo artists imagination is like no other and they will most certainly have suggestions of how to incorporate the old tattoo with the new one, check out this awesome Pikachu tattoo to see how old tattoos can be given new life in a cover-up!

A Little Laser Time May Be Needed

Cover-up Skull Tattoo by Cuba Tattoo
Cover-up Skull Tattoo by Cuba Tattoo

If your tattoo is bold, dark and heavily shaded then before it can be covered by a new design you may have to have one or two sessions of laser removal just to lighten the tattoo and remove some of the darker areas. But rest assured it will make getting a cover up that little bit easier and open up more choice in a new design.

21inkedd

@Robert Davies

Tattoodo Staff Writer and tattoo enthusiast. Lover of all things traditional and blackwork!

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