Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…


January 6th, 2009 by

So you’ve gone and done it.  You got your fiance’s name on your wrist to show how much you love him.  Only problem is, once you showed him, he told you how much he really despised tattoos and he broke up with you.  Age of tattoo at time of breakup:  a day.  This is a true story.

So now you want to have this very stupid mistake covered up but you want to make a better decision about this coverup than you did for the initial piece.  Here’s some general information about getting a coverup.

1.  Plan on any coverup being at least 30% larger than the original tattoo, this is necessary to prevent “muddying” of the coverup.

2.  Dark colors (blues, purples, black) will cover lighter colors (yellows, pinks, lime greens) but not so well the other way around.  Think of tattoo pigments as watercolors or markers, ever try to go over black with yellow?  Doesn’t work so well.

3.  Think camoflage not coverup.  The design used as the cover piece should be visually busy enough to keep the viewer from being able to tell that the tattoo is even a coverup.  Not all coverups have to be tribal/solid black, that’s a rookie mistake, run away. Biomechanical pieces and other organic-type designs work well to provide this distraction.

4.  Not all tattooers are created equal.  By this I mean that just because someone can do a good tattoo doesn’t mean they can do a good cover.  Even if you love your current artist, be sure to check for good coverups in their portfolios before making the commitment, a bad coverup is exponentially worse than a bad original piece.

5.  Be ready to pay.  I know tattooers that charge twice as much for coverups, in some places, that’s the industry standard, you’ve been warned.

6.  Don’t get your heart set on what design to use as a coverup.  Once you know you want to get something covered, find an artist and start brainstorming.  A good artist will be able to tell you what will and won’t work for you.  As a customer, you need to be willing to get what will work as a cover, not what you thought would work.  A good tattooer will take your desires into consideration and create something that will look good, but they’re going to need some freedom to do that.  I can’t easily count on my fingers and toes how many times I’ve had to refuse to do a coverup because the client couldn’t understand that what they wanted to do wouldn’t work.  Which brings me to…

7.  You can’t coverup writing with writing (you’d be surprised how many times I’ve been asked to do this.)

8.  You can’t cover anything with a black and gray portrait, don’t be dumb.  Full color pieces with strong line work works best, think BOLD.

These are some very general rules for getting a coverup, just to let you know what to expect before you go into the tattoo parlor, I’m sure you’ll hear some of this again from whomever does the cover.  As with all things art-oriented, some rules can be bent, some broken altogether (thanks Morpheus).

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