Tattoos are the calligraphy that is inscribed eternally into the skin. However, sometimes that calligraphy can deliquesce and transform to resemble a marred reminder of something entirely worth forgetting. Surrender the past with a neoteric piece that exposes the truth of the story.
Cover ups can provide a human revolution that provides strength and stability to the man who had to endure the needle twice.
Many people doubt that cover up tattoos are worth the risk. Some worry that the ink will be a diaphanous art project, blotched onto the skin. This could not be further from the truth.
It takes a real man to stand up and say that not only was their previous tattoo a mistake, but they want to correct that mistake and start new. As that needle drives deeper inward, so does their growth as a human being. There are no regrets the second time around, because through life’s lessons, a man knows how uncompromising this cover up will be.
Whether or not the tattoo is a brighter replica of the art beneath it or a brand new look, the options are endless. As bold as they are daring, cover up’s can be etched with blocks of geometric shapes or bright flourishes of color. Dive deep into consciousness and revive the reason for ink in the first place.
1. Hand Cover Up Tattoos
Hand tattoos are tough. Many people choose to get ink on some of the most visible parts of the body without properly thinking through the life changing effects they can have. Thankfully there are talented artists that are able to apply a variety of images in a number of different styles to create compelling designs that perfectly hide the existing ink.
2. Abstract Cover Up Tattoos
Many people prefer the freedom of expression that more abstract approaches provide, and this sensibility applies to cover up work as well. This style is actually better suited to cover up work than other methods thanks to the lack of constraints that this style has, allowing the artist to create a design that perfectly covers the existing tattoo.
3. Skull Cover Up Tattoos
One of the most common and classic design elements in tattoos, skulls are great for cover up work thanks to the variety of styles and approaches that can be applied. From photo-realistic black and gray designs to American traditional flash, skulls just work. They are also an excellent choice for cover ups thanks to the ability to incorporate other elements as well as the ability to use bold black ink in these designs.
4. Animal Cover Up Tattoos
People create intense bonds with animals. Whether they are beloved pets or some wild animal that exemplifies specific personality traits, animals make for great tattoos. They are also excellent in cover up work thanks to the endless variety of creatures to choose from, and the ability to incorporate black as well as color ink.
5. Dotwork Cover Up Tattoos
A growing trend in the tattoo world is the use of varying densities of meticulously applied dots to create different images and designs. While dot work may not be the first approach that comes to mind when thinking of cover up tattoos, they can work well depending on the design.
Stippling can be quite effective at breaking up the outlines of existing work and the fully saturated black of the densest portions is well suited for creating quality cover ups.
6. Traditional and Neo Traditional Cover Up Tattoos
American traditional and neo-traditional designs are perfectly suited for cover up tattoos for a couple of reasons. The bold line work that is characteristic of these styles is able to create outlines that overpower existing work while the vibrant and fully saturated colors work perfectly to cover the details. There is also an endless variety of flash to choose from.
7. Full Back Cover Up Tattoos
When examining cover up tattoos, one will notice that one approach that artists take is to go big. They extend the new design well past the outline of the existing work, and the resulting cover up is often significantly bigger than the previous piece. These full-back tattoos are great examples of this tactic that leave zero trace of the work buried under the vibrant and unique designs.
8. Pop Culture Cover Up Tattoos
Humans are shaped by the cultural constructions around us, and as such, the television and movies we watched as children hold deep significance for many. From Star Wars and E.T., there are dozens of examples of pop-culture references in art, and these tattoos show how well they can be incorporated into cover up work.
9. Black and Gray Cover Up Tattoos
Black and gray tattoos carry a gravitas that color work has a difficult time achieving, and they can be used in cover ups as well. Black is often considered the best color to use for cover ups, and a talented artist can create a black and gray design that will effectively conceal any existing work.
10. Color Cover Up Tattoos
Cover up tattoos are not like painting over an existing color. Below the skin the new ink mixes with the existing ink, creating new colors. That being said, color ink can be effectively utilized in cover ups, although an added layer of thought and planning is required as well as a deeper understanding of how different colors react together.
11. Mechanical Cover Up Tattoos
For some people the machinations of cogs and springs perfectly sum up their attitudes, interests and sensibilities. For these folks, incorporating mechanical designs into cover is a no-brainer, and these pieces show off the way the details in these designs can hide even the most prominent of existing work.
Cover Up Tattoo FAQs
Are some tattoos impossible to cover up?
No, all tattoos can be covered up.
Cover up work is a unique subset of tattooing for a few reasons. First off, the challenges faced when covering a tattoo are complicated by the nature of the process. You can’t just lay down a new layer of primer and blast a new color over it. When the new ink is packed under the skin, it mixes with the existing ink and can create new colors, something that must be taken into account.
The best cover up artists create a game plan that utilizes elements of the existing tattoo that are harder to cover—like bold outlines and large swaths of black ink—and then create a design that takes advantage of these portions of the design. While this means that options are more limited than they would be on a blank canvas, the end result will better conceal the previous tattoo.
The end goal is to not only cover up an existing piece, but to create a new tattoo that can be worn with pride, and talented artists are able to achieve this through detailed planning and expert application.
Looking for more cover up inspiration? Click on the links below for more galleries: