24.08.2021 Author: admin

Tattoo’s aren’t forever?

We've always heard, don't get a tattoo you're going to regret. Once it's on you, it's there forever. Well, that isn't completely true. While it is always smart to completely think through your tattoo idea, and maybe just maybe hold off on tattooing your girlfriend's name on your arm, there's always a way to go back. One is a painful laser removal procedure. But the other comes with cover-up tattoos. Put simply, cover-up tattoos are exactly as they seem in their name. They are tattoos that are meant to cover up old, poorly done, or regretful tattoos using a new design.

Covering up a tattoo follows a procedure where your previous and unwanted tattoo is replaced with a new one. For example, Light or faded tattoos are quite easy to work on using dark ink. In most cases, cover-up tattoos can be done for the same price as another tattoo of the same size and difficulty, not breaking your budget. 

To understand cover up tattoos, it is important to understand tattoos themself. Tattoos are done using incredibly small, thin, and precise needles that inject ink into the dermis. This tissue is just underneath the outer layer of your skin, called the epidermis. The ink is injected into the dermis by a machine that delivers thousands of tiny pricks per minute via a needle. The reason tattoos are permanent is because of what happens in this layer of tissue. In the process of the cover-up, the ink is deposited again in the same dermis layer where the ink from the previous tattoo is currently located. The pigment/color of the new cover-up tattoo ink does not go on top of the pigment of your old tattoo. In fact, these two colors get combined to create a new color. There are chances that dark inks will dominate the mixture. For instance, green and yellow together turn into blue underneath your skin. This is one of the reasons why, generally, you will see cover-up tattoos as being darker. In fact, because of this and because of a generally light underlying color on the old tattoo, most tattoo artists consider black as the most effective color to cover up almost any old tattoo. When an artist is working to cover up a tattoo, their focus is generally on the color of the old tattoo and how to incorporate it into new ink so it looks natural. Certified tattoo artists begin working after sketching out a strategy on top of the old tattoo and place the new design and color cautiously onto it.

Real Examples of Cover Up Tattoos
Floral tattoo as a coverup

Understanding how cover-up tattoos work completely can help you better come prepared with an idea when meeting with your tattoo artist. Here is a quick summary of how different colors work within a cover-up tattoo:

  • Black is a standard color each tattoo artist uses in the cover-ups.
  • You can also find oranges, greens, blues, magentas, and browns when it comes to camouflage.
  • Dark shades of the same color can cover up your tattoo in no time.
  • New inks when combined with old tattoo ink create a brand new color. (Via: wildtattooart.com)

Part of being a successful and talented artist comes with the ability to use these colors in the right spot to compliment your design as well as properly cover up the old piece you are working to hide.

The cover-up process itself is a lot like the actual tattoo process you should now be familiar with. 

  • Your tattoo artist begins the process by placing a tracing paper over the previous design to outline the significant features of your old tattoo that they need to keep aware of with the coverup. This step is incredibly important as it will help the artist find a reference for the pieces of your tattoo that will get and need maximum coverage.
  • The artist will then put the outline they sketched from your piece under the light and place another thin piece of tracing paper on top of it.
  • The cover-up process will start by working on the fainted outline of your old tattoo to conceal the area shown on the original tracing.

In cover-up art, the artist works to draw plenty of attention to the design itself via creativity and intricate patterns around the unattractive/worn-out areas of your old tattoo. This trick is used to keep all the eyes on the new design. Tattoo artists generally recommend creating a 30% larger design for the coverup as compared to the first tattoo. This step ultimately is used to fully camouflage the old design. Also, light shades are used to neutralize the skin that showcases only the cover-up tattoo area that is imprinted on the skin. If done correctly, these steps conceal the area covering and hiding every inch of the previous design.

When picking the design itself that you will take to your artist, there are a few tips and ideas you can follow to provide some inspiration. 

To start, pick some images that you would potentially like to use for your cover up tattoo. Using your ideas, you and your tattoo artist can create and collaborate to make a design that’s going to cover your original tattoo, and most importantly, that you’re going to love. 

Many artists agree, that the subject of the piece is where your input is most important; be sure to pick something that will resonate with you for years to come…that design can then be taken and customized to best cover up the existing tattoo. Your artist can then advise you on the technical aspects of your cover-up.

Elephant tattoo

Some potential ideas include:

  1. Any animal or mythological beast that has scales or feathers is a good tattoo cover up the idea, this is largely because they usually have a lot of detail, size, and dark tones that are used frequently in cover-up art.
  2. Asian-style dragons, koi fish, or any kind of fish that can be darkly shaded works as well. 
  3. Names are one of the most popular things to cover for obvious reasons, while we recommend avoiding getting your new tattoo with a new name and making the same mistake, sometimes it's unavoidable to fall into that. A good alternative you can try to avoid needing too much of a coverup is by altering the name to just a letter which you can make a word out of later or adjust with a slight design to it (i.e. turning ‘A’ to ‘Amazing’).
  4. Another idea is to use the current design and incorporate it into the new tattoo. Re-work the old tattoo by adding features like blush on cheeks, re-strengthening weak lines, or adding in hair or the illusion of hair on a person. Just remember that all tattoo cover-ups will have to be significantly larger than the original tattoo, so for the second go around it is integral that you love your tattoo and be happy with it forever. (customtattoodesigns)

In general with cover-ups, with all that said, it is incredibly important to stay flexible. Depending on the design, placement and coloring of your tattoo, the artist may make suggestions to most effectively cover up the original design and keep it hidden best. To see further into the plan, you can make consultation appointments with artists you are considering working with in order to gauge what they can do and what they suggest for covering up your original tattoo. Some artists, in certain situations, may suggest laser tattoo removal in order to lighten the whole piece or parts of the design. Tattoos are permanent and covering them up can be difficult, so it’s important to stay flexible. Be prepared to also have your coverup tattoo take several sessions. We often find that in doing coverup tattoos one to three sessions may be needed to complete the initial design and for touchups. It’s possible that once the ink has settled, the old design may be somewhat visible and with another pass, the problem can be remedied.

So really, when you get down to it, tattoos may not have to be forever. While we always strive to get a design we will love for ages, sometimes it just doesn't work out and that's when a cover up can come in to do just the trick. 

If you're looking for a cover-up tattoo and an artist to do one for you, click HERE to be matched with the best artist for you in your area!

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