Top 103 Watercolor Tattoo Ideas [2021 Inspiration Guide]
If you are tired of the regular approach to body art, then maybe it’s time for you to experiment with the primal superiority of watercolor ink. Turn your skin into canvas for a magisterial metamorphosis.
For an astonishingly decadent piece of body art, there are few creations that can compare with the marvelously ornate nature of a watercolor piece.
These tattoos are not cheap, but they are worth every penny; in fact, they elevate the entire medium to museum quality perfection and are part of the list of 50+ best tattoo ideas. They are abundantly rich and stylistically unique.
Of course, you can start with the greats like Georgia O’Keeffe and Albrecht Durer; however, daring connoisseurs take an all-or-nothing approach by concocting their own in-depth prints. Watercolor tattoos are an excellent avenue of self-promotion for up-and-coming artists.
This realm of skin art takes the whole field to a new height of refinement, and these finished pieces can be very complex. In fact, some people cover their entire body with a single idea; meanwhile, others combine several smaller presentations into one large ensemble.
No matter what, watercolor tattoos are bound to attract infinite admiration. As proof, here are quite a few for you to admire at this very moment.
Watercolor Tattoo Ideas
A beautiful, lightly depicted Koi symbolizing good luck and fortune in Japanese culture but also linked to strength of character, spirit, and courage. This fish augments a simple black outline and scales with cleverly inked scales fashioned to shimmer. The surrounding water is also excellent in deftly flowing around the fish’s outline.
An interesting tattoo using the number 37 in large blocks and surrounded by abstract patterns and watercolor splashes. The piece leans towards a Jackson Pollock vibe by using the bright color palette in contrast to the number and gray scale shading.
A fantastic watercolor take on trash polka tattooing. It’s bold, weird, and interesting with various black and gray calligraphy shades mixing with abstract shapes and vivid red ink splotches.
This 3D abstract watercolor octopus is a sensational piece of stylized body art. The key to appreciating it lies not in the technical enjoyment of crisp lines and life like detail, but in the audacity of color scheme variation and flowing, interconnected patterns. This type of art is more likely to be painted on canvas and hung in a person’s foyer than tagged onto the skin of a man’s chest.
An enjoyable abstract full sleeve watercolor tattoo. The painting style is clean and fresh, balancing black ink with stretching, splashing color highlights. It’s a permanent reminder that small children can attack with paint at any time, so best be on your guard!
This tattoo is a spectacular mix of styles, linked together by clever watercolor fill. The artist has skillfully thrown together a bunch of techniques – line work realism (pocket watch), traditional black and gray (rose), dotwork bio mechanical (gears and cogs) – but they’re all tied up enjoyably by a cool color palette.
This watercolor piece mixes 3D imagery with fine line drawing and the color scheme of trash polka (albeit applying a lot more focused use of red ink) The juxtaposition of line work in black and negative space support with the more colorful woman gives this tattoo an elegant yet still hectic point of view. I love it!
It’s always a good idea to have another go, and watercolor tattoos are no exception. The original piece was weak and faded badly, so the subject doubled down by going hard at covering it up with new art in the same style. The upgraded tattoo is like swapping a 20 year old computer for a new laptop – it’s clean, sleek and performs better in every area. Love the color mash up working with avant garde geometrical applications to fashion a mad vision of colored ink on skin.
The Dark Knight in watercolor. This is bad ass. The matte finish style of Batman’s suit can be a difficult texture to pull off in tattoo, but this watercolor effect captures it strongly and then adds the correct planes and angles in detailing the DC hero’s mask. The bottom image bleed of ink looks fantastic contrasting the clarity of pointy ears and shadow, while the negative space eye technique is cleverly etched to show a glimpse of Bruce’s duality.
This is a fine tattoo using watercolor ink to provide space, scale and balance to a heavily negative space chest tattoo. The artist smartly opted to outline the hands in black line, adding strength to the stylized heart and making it the focal point for the entire piece. The depth of shade detail in both red and black halves of the fill color fashions tremendous depth.
Now, this is unique. The artist has crafted a strongly etched light bulb person then applied a rainbow’s worth of vivid watercolor as a contrasting fill to the crumpled suit and tie. They’ve also made a good fist of filling the tattoo out along the calf with cool paint elements such as smudging, spill lines and ink splashes. This allows the placement to become a strength of the art instead of just a spot to color in.
Watercolor fill in this realistic heart completely changes the tattoo and transitions the piece away from a tried and tested blackwork or gray scale shade tattoo. The red color is vivid and breathtakingly effective – it really pops against the dark heart image. Also applaud the choice to avoid supplementary shading or border and go with the heart outline alone.
This watercolor wave tattoo is actually too busy. The painter style mix of layered color takes away from the rolling wave image and leaves it a bit of a mess, and muddles the shadowy cloud dragon. Some black line needlework to give the piece structure would help, as would more clearly defined color patterns.
An epic mix of watercolor and deft abstract black line tattooing to fashion this sensational lion body art. This chest piece is beautifully etched by a highly skilled artist – they’ve understood perfectly how to maximise space, filling the lines with alternating summer and winter colors designed to accentuate clarity in Simba’s facial features.
A coolly drawn small mountain tattoo. The flowing sunset sky is brilliantly balanced by the shaded gray outcrop, with the line of the peak forming a natural barrier between light and dark. The use of the circular image creates an excellent shape for the main image to work within.
This Edwardian inspired tattoo of Heaven’s gates is not strictly speaking watercolor, but it’s a killer piece of art. The magical blue shade is an outstanding, unique ink that works cleanly against the black line fill elements and precise negative space. Love the touch of foreboding threaded into the piece with lounging vulture and ugly blackened winter trees surrounding the entrance.
A simple but effective alternative black and gray crown tattoo supported by watercolor in a neat shade of blue. The whole art work isn’t in the image but seems that the piece is given interesting highlights along the edges and across the top.
There’s not a huge call for watercolor tattoo in black. Most black art is done with traditional etching or thicker paintbrush style calligraphy. The bird in this small back tattoo is depicted with innovation. The watercolor choice is an excellent technical decision allowing for cool shading effects throughout the bird’s wings. Also, the dripping ink at the tattoo’s bottom and flourish of thrown ink dots help create an element of contrast you wouldn’t usually find in a one color one image piece of body art.
Animal realism, watercolor and a hint of the geometric combine for an outstanding inner forearm tattoo. The bear is great art, carrying that hint of danger but friendly looking for the most part and peppered with awesome hybrid shading. The circle and triangle are straight out of a kid’s algebra text, but provide an interesting alt fill for the main image to work against. This effect is well backed by the lovely powder blue watercolor that helps enliven the image with depth and shape for the piece’s position on the arm.
Another watercolor devoted to fattening up and brightening a classic abstract black line tattoo. The lively mess of alternating watercolor is the most cohesive aspect of the work, and combines well with the manic blackwork mix of bird and shape. It broadens and lengthens the art while fashioning an almost transparent filler. The deliberately messy shading is a colorful take on the big, fuzzy shading you find in traditional black and gray
Watercolor Tattoo FAQs
Do watercolor tattoos fade easily?
The quality of tattoo ink degrades over time – it’s unavoidable. Watercolor tattoo is no different to other kinds of tattoo methodology in terms of longevity. Watercolor is generally etched by experienced professionals who understand the value of using fine quality ink and premier equipment, plus correct aftercare procedures. These are the most important factors in making sure your body art lasts. Cheap and nasty tattoos tend to break down no matter the style, however a poor choice of artist and ink can see a watercolor piece fade more quickly, and may require a fresh ‘coat of paint’ if fading occurs.
Do watercolor tattoos hurt more?
Generally speaking, watercolor style tattoos are less painful than other ink, primarily because less ink is used to cover the same areas than say, a heavy blackwork tattoo in fine needle. By their very nature watercolor tattoos are more delicate pieces of art requiring less manhandling and heavy shade or line work.
It should be noted that pain thresholds for each subject are markedly different, as are the areas in which tattoos are placed. The exact same flash tattoo and the pain levels can vary drastically between individuals.
Are watercolor tattoos more expensive?
Watercolor tattoos are on the expensive end of the pricing spectrum. You don’t want such a difficult, technically precise tattoo left in the hands of an apprentice or less skilled artist. The per hour price for watercolor tattooing starts at approximately $200 and averages around $300 per hour. In demand artists can charge up to $500 per hour for watercolor, but with that pricing comes the implicit acknowledgement your ink will be of the highest quality.
For a tattoo of this kind it’s best to check out your potential artist’s prior watercolor pieces to ensure you’re comfortable before proceeding with a booking and deposit. You can check their gallery of work online, via social media, or through an in-studio visit to see a folder of their best ink. The booking manager or artist themselves can handle any questions you may have relating to the process.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.