Should I Get a Color or a Black and Gray Tattoo?

Black and White tattoo on woman
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One of the most important decisions of the tattoo process will be determining whether your design should be in color or black and gray. Perhaps you haven't given much more than getting a tattoo thought. But your body and future both deserve a little more. Not only are tattoos an expressive and artistic statement, they should also coincide with any future work. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like a walking sticker or scrapbook. Sure you can dress that up with "borders" and "frames" but in the real world and over time, your tattoos should tell a story with a purpose. Otherwise, why they heck did you make them permanent? 

Black and Gray Tattoos

Black and gray tattooing has several advantages. There is much less chance of fading, other than to a lighter shade of gray. The largest risk is the realism aspect of this style that many artists strive for, but few can achieve without lots of practice and natural talent. If you want a simple tattoo that will stand the test of time in a more classic sense, I would advise just a few shades of black and gray. Do your homework and check out portfolios and find the artist that specializes in realism.

Making a Statement With Color Tattoos

For every black and gray customer there is a colorful one, and they want nothing more than for their tattoo to make a statement. If you are of that genre, you have likely already begun scouring fine art portfolios, New School, Old School Traditional and other designs. Whether it is a full sleeve filled with mermaids, oceans and shells, or a simple heart tattoo that is vibrant and full of colorful red ink, finding a talented color tattoo artist can be just as labor intensive.

When scoping out color tattoo portfolios, be sure to check out healed tattoos. Most tattoos look their best after being done, so let time tell the true story. Are the images blurry, the color bland or faded? Be wary! Did the artist design a piece with such purposeful details that even now it looks bold and brilliant? She's your artist! Be very selective in the color tattoo genre. Base your decision on the portfolio, experience of your artist, and when possible, their reputation. Any skilled artist should have a few years of mentoring under their belt so find out who taught them their skills and then research THAT artist and their fundamental teachings.


Tattoo aftercare is subjective and opinionated. Some artists recommend Vaseline, others beg you to use products developed specifically for aftercare. The retail aspect of tattooing has grown, and that may mean you are sold something you may not need. Remember tattoo basics. Do not pick your scabs, do not submerge in water, and keep the design covered for at least 24 hours after the service.

Protect your tattoo from fading by wearing a daily sunscreen that contains no less than SPF 35.

Whether you dream in color or black and gray, use Vaseline or spendy skincare enriching aftercare lotions, the end result is yours to bear. Be certain you have considered both the style and aftermath of a vivid or classic design, an you'll be certain a tattoo can become a permanent and gracious addition to your body.

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