Inside: What is an Illustrative Tattoo + Ideas You’ll Love.

What is an Illustrative Tattoo?

An illustrative tattoo includes anything that looks like you might find in a book illustration or drawing. And just as there are many kinds of art styles, there are many kinds of illustrative tattoos. This style is one of the most popular for tattoos today, and you can find many tattoo artists specializing in it, each with their own take on what an illustrative tattoo looks like.

What is an illustrative tattoo

Illustrative Tattoo Design

Illustrative tattoos take inspiration from both traditionalism and realism. They typically use solid black outlines, much like traditional tattoos, and may be colorful or simply black. The key to an illustrative tattoo is that it retains a drawn, animated feel, rather than being shaded to look photo-realistic. This gives artists and clients a lot of flexibility to design either a simple illustration or a complex, abstract piece. Creativity and a touch of whimsy are key ingredients to these tattoos.

Illustrative Tattoo Ideas

1. Bunch of Lemons

2. Mushroom Tattoo Band

3. Illustrated Portrait

4. Colorful Scene

5. Branch of Oranges

Illustrative Tattoo Ideas

What Ink is Used for Illustrative Tattoos?

Many illustrative tattoos are done in blackwork, meaning that they only contain black ink. In these designs, tattoo artists may use dotwork, lines, cross-hatching, and stippling to add detail and dimension. Illustrative blackwork tattoos can have an impactful graphic quality, or look like they belong in an old book of fairy tales.

Other illustrative tattoos feature a range of colors. Most use a muted color palette to create soft transitions, rather than the bold contrast of a traditional tattoo. Many illustrative tattoo artists use color to create a cartoony style. For this reason, illustrative tattoos are popular for people who want to recreate a favorite cartoon or animated character. It’s also a great style to capture a beloved animal or person in a cartoon style.

Learn More About Tattoos

  • Tattoo Aftercare – Most tattoo artists have their own personal set of aftercare instructions. But one piece of advice they all have in common is to touch your tattoo with clean hands only. I recommend that you listen to the verbal directions from your tattooer first, then refer to the written directions after. Also, take into consideration that washing your hands shouldn’t be a quick three-second rinse.
  • Tattoo Blowout – Tattoo blowouts occur when a tattoo artist presses too hard when applying ink to the skin. The ink is sent below the top layers of skin where tattoos belong. Below the skin’s surface, the ink spreads out in a layer of fat & this creates the blurring associated with a tattoo blowout. Let’s look more at how it happens.
  • Hand Poke Tattoos – A hand poke tattoo, also know as a “stick and poke” is created by using a needle, or group of needles, to put ink into the skin. There is no electric machine involved, so the tattoo artist does this by hand using only a needle or a tool that holds the needle.