Color Tattoos: History and Designs

Color can completely transform a tattoo. While black ink is certainly effective for creating a bold image, color can provide a welcomed contrast and a fun pop of color to a piece. Many different tattoo designs can include color so the creative liberties are broadened by choosing a color tattoo. Whether you’re looking for a realistic design or just want to add a splash of color, the process begins by choosing a tattoo artist you can trust who understands color tattooing.

Chapter One Tattoo is an industry leader in color tattoos and the perfect place to get a color tattoo you know you’ll love. Let’s explore what color tattoos are, the history of using color for tattooing, as well as some popular colorful tattoo choices.

What Are Color Tattoos?

Color tattoos are not a style of tattoo but rather a design choice for those getting one. When thinking of traditional tattooing, colors were used very intentionally. In some cultures, different colors might provide different meanings, so many will meditate on what colors they want to include in their tattoo. In modern tattooing, it’s more common to see larger spectrums of colors within a piece. The type of colors used can also translate into different styles, American traditional designs will use a different palette of colors than a realistic piece or watercolor design. Those seeking a vibrant tattoo often choose color due to their added detail and contrast with a design. It’s also important to remember that some ink colors fade quicker than others, black lasting the longest and pastel colors fading the quickest. That said, there are many ways to preserve your color tattoo to keep it vibrant for a long time.

History of Color Tattoos

The use of color within tattooing has a rich history, originating at the dawn of civilization in ancient Egypt. Before this, tattoos were more simplistic and primarily done in black ink since the ink was made from ash and soot for the sake of placing ink on the skin.  Ancient Egypt, Inuit, and Roman people are believed to commonly use color ink in their tattooing. After the 1940s, tattoos became much more commonplace thanks to WWII and their popularity amongst servicemen. The popularity of color tattoos has only increased over time, with an even larger range of colorful inks to choose from and design.

Color Tattoo

What is the Best Color for Tattoos?

When considering which color might be best for a tattoo, no one color dominates the others. All colors can work great within a design when used by a talented artist. Lighter colors may require more long-term care to keep them looking the best, but they can last just as long as darker colors when people take the necessary precautions. Using sunscreen and keeping out of prolonged periods in direct sunlight can prevent colors from fading and keep the tattoo looking fresh for longer. For some colors, a few touchups down the road may be required to keep the tattoo looking vibrant, but it varies from person to person. Virtually any design can utilize colorful inks, it’s all a matter of personal preference.

Popular Color Design Options

Nowadays there is never a shortage of color tattoo ideas with more colorful inks and options than ever before. Between photo realism, neotraditional, watercolors, and other popular color tattoo designs, it’s all about how you’d prefer color to be used. These designs are certainly possible to get in black or gray ink but consider adding a splash of color to make your design pop even more.

  • Colored Rose Tattoo  – Rose tattoos are one of the most popular color tattoos, especially within traditional American designs. Roses can be whatever color the person getting a tattoo wants, but red is undoubtedly a popular color due to its romantic symbolism.
  • Colorful Feather Tattoo – Feather tattoos are a design that frequently utilizes colorful inks within the tattoo. When choosing feather shades there is a large variety of options, such as watercolor designs that make a feather design ephemeral. 
  • Colorful Dragon Tattoo – Especially popular within traditional Japanese tattooing, colorful dragons are a great example of a common color tattoo design. Japanese tattoos tend to use color to highlight the subject of a design, and a dragon can become even more ferocious by adding a few popping shades of colors. 
  • Color Flower Tattoos  – Flowers are another highly popular tattoo that uses colorful inks. In contemporary Polynesian tattoos will feature colorful flower designs, and the color chosen represents a different motif or idea. Color flower tattoos provide the artist with a great chance to get creative with the use of contrasting colors within a design.

How to Choose the Best Color Tattoo Design?

Some might choose to get a color tattoo because they want to flaunt a favorite hue or perhaps want to shoot for a realistic design and color would create a better design. Regardless of why you might want a color tattoo, it’s also a good idea to ask your tattoo artist how your skin will respond to the ink to make sure you get the desired look. Color tattoos on dark skin might require different shades than on a lighter-skinned individual, so it’s smart to know what you’re likely to get. After you know where you’d like the color design to be, begin to consider how large the design should be. Lastly, make sure to choose a tattoo artist that you can trust who understands the fundamentals of color tattoos that will bring your design to life.

Book an appointment with a Color Tattoo Artist at Chapter One Tattoo!

Sometimes an amazing tattoo design can be elevated even higher with the simple decision to get it done in color. Chapter One Tattoo prides itself on our captivating color tattoos and trusted artists. We seek to create a colorful piece of art you’ll always be happy to display. Check out a few of our artists that specialize in color tattoos and book an appointment today!
×
Drop files here or
Accepted file types: jpg, png, pdf, jpeg, Max. file size: 3 MB.
    REQUEST APPOINTMENT

    A deposit is required for all appointments.

    We are truly honored by each tattoo request but due to high volume not all requests will be answered immediately, thank you for your patience.

    To schedule an appointment please fill out all required fields and submit request or visit us in person at the Chapter One Tattoo during normal business hours.

    • 4857 Newport Ave. San Diego, CA 92107 619-255-8400
    • Mon. - Sat. 12:00PM to 8:00PM
      Sun. - 12:00PM to 6:00PM
    CHAPTER ONE TATTOO