Black and White Tattoos

Sometimes black and white makes a striking design.

Are you interested in learning more about black and white tattoos? These tats predominently use black ink while adding a touch of white ink to highlight, shadow or otherwise create depth in the finished piece. There are unlimited uses for the combination of black and white colors. In fact, black and white tattoos can be the most creative type of tattoos because they can be any size, any style, any object or pattern. They can be anything that you want them to be!

About the Ink

Black Tattoo Ink

Almost all black tattoo inks are created from a combination of iron oxides and carbon. However, since there is little regulation, it is impossible to know what ingredients are in each bottle of tattoo ink on the market. It may comfort some people to know that black colored tattoos are often considered the easiest ink color to remove since it absorbs a good amount of the light used in tattoo removal procedures. Black ink is also a popular color for tattoo outlines.

White Ink

White ink is one of the least commonly used tattoo ink colors. Some tattooists say that the color will fade the quickest of all since it is widely known that light colored inks fade fastest. However, adding white ink can help a piece pop, especially when applying black ink on darker skin tones, and it's great for shading and highlights. The major drawback to using white ink is that it takes so much of it to show up on skin. This means a lot more needle time, and the color often has to be refreshed later on. Still, the use of white ink in an otherwise all black design gives the tat a distinctive look you don't see every day.

Ideas for Black And White Tattoos

Black kanji highlighted by a white diamond background


When the world is your oyster, it can sometimes be difficult to make a decision. Such is the case with black and white art tattoo. There's so much that can be done that it can be hard to decide what to do. Here are a few ideas for eye-catching designs:

  • Black ink is great for outline work. Consider a tattoo pattern that has a lot of lines such as a celtic knot piece, vines or the like. The ink can really help the design stand out and look three dimensional. Adding some white in to the inside of the pattern can really help it pop right off your skin!
  • Black ink also goes great with sketch-type tattoos. Ever wanted a portrait on your arm? A black and white piece lets you accomplish this with a high level of clarity. White ink can be used to highlight the piece for greater detail.
  • Consider a simple word or scripture. This is a great way to customize your piece. You can get a portion of your favorite Bible passage, a lyric from your favorite song or a motivational word inked in black on your body. You can even add a white rose outlined in black as a symbol for purity.
  • Black looks stunning in detailed work. Consider getting a tattoo with a high amount of detail work such as small flower and using white ink to make the flower more realistic.
  • Of course, a yin yang symbol is the perfect place to use a combination of black and white ink.

Protecting Your Ink

When you can get any design that you'd like, you can also put it anywhere that you like on your body. But will that placement affect your ink? Tattoo ink can obviously fade over the years, and since white ink is more likely to fade, you'll need to place this tattoo in an area you can easily cover. A bit of sun block also helps preserve the ink from sun-fade once the tat is thoroughly healed.

Final Thought

Shoulder piece

While it takes a lot of commitment to go through getting a tattoo, and black and white pieces can require even more work to keep them looking good. Make sure you're prepared for the extra needle time it takes to build up the white portions of the design, and understand that you'll eventually need to have them refreshed.

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Black and White Tattoos