The day may come when that one tattoo went from the best idea ever to your worst nightmare. Maybe you thought you'd be into tribal styles forever or that Daffy Duck would eternally be funny to you? No one likes to admit they made a mistake but let's face it...ink happens. Obviously, if you woke up after a night of heavy drinking and discovered your buddy's name freshly inked on your body, the chances of it being an unwanted tattoo is pretty high too. Fortunately, cover up tattooing exists as a viable option for making that loser tattoo disappear underneath a winner.
By Mika Kenyah
CEO of Sugar & Spikes
Fundamentally, the idea is to conceal an unwanted tattoo by having a new one inked over the top of it but keep in mind a cover up is an entirely different kind of tattoo than a tattoo on blank skin. There are a few important things you should know if you want to get a good cover up so that the new tattoo looks like a good tattoo and not like you are hiding something.
- The new tattoo design must be at least three or four times the size of your old tattoo.
- The new tattoo will need to use plenty of black shading, especially if the old tattoo is really dark.
- The new tattoo design must be a solid design with lots of coverage. You won’t be able to have negative (blank) spaces in the tattoo, so typical tribal designs will not work.
- Flash designs usually don’t work well for larger cover ups, but there are a few exceptions. Usually a design will have to be custom drawn to ensure the old tattoo is covered up completely.
- Warm colors like red, yellow, and orange don’t work well for covering tattoos. Cool colors like blue, green, purple are best for cover-ups.
- It may take a second or third layer of tattooing to completely cover your old tattoo if it is really dark. Therefore, you need to have patience when getting them done.
Any animal or mythological beast that has scales or feathers is a good choice for a cover up. Asian style dragons, koi fish, or any kind of fish that can be darkly shaded will work well. Also, birds such as ravens or eagles will make for a good cover-up. Biomechanical tattoos can have a lot of detail and are good for cover ups.
A lot of the process in arranging a cover up tattoo will be the same as any other, but when looking for the best artist for the job, make sure you research an artist who has experience with cover ups. They should have portfolio shots of previous examples, including before and after pictures. Check out some cover up examples below. My favorite is the Jimi Hendrix cover up tattoo of course! Why shouldn't the new tattoo completely rock?!