I’ve probably made more cover up tattoos than portraits lately. Many want to cover over their old tattoos. Our reception receives many requests for cover-ups, and many unfortunately do not know what is physically possible and not. I will try to explain this to you today.
The ink sinks after 3 months.
The first thing that is important to understand is what really happens to the ink in the first place. When getting tattooed, the ink will be placed in the middle skin layer. At the same time, the tattoo process will leave ink completely up to the surface of the epidermis.
As the skin grows, there will no longer be ink in the epidermis but have sunk down to the skin. That’s why the tattoo automatically looks blurred after about 3 months. You’ve got a new skin on the top that works like a frosted window. The darker the pigments you have in your skin, the darker this window will be, and less ink will look through.
A drawing on top of a drawing
When you tattoo a coverup, the new ink will lie on top while the old tattoo is under, for about 3 months. Then the new tattoo will have sunk down to the old one and blend together. It, therefore, becomes like drawing a drawing on top of another. Without any possibility of priming or eraser first.
So what Coverups are possible?
The simplest way, and what most experienced tattooists experience is to make the coverup somewhat bigger than your existing tattoo. Then the old tattoo will stay inside the new one.
The darker you go with the new, the smaller the possibility of seeing the old one. It is possible to make it somewhat brighter, but it takes many sessions for a long time and thus it becomes very expensive.
Lots of Ink
You can not just make some dashes or dots over the old one, like a mandala. It needs a lot of ink, preferably solid, to be able to cover. Black and white, which is not black and white, but black and skin, is not solid, and thus difficult to cover. But it’s possible if you go big enough and dark enough.
The more details you make in the new tattoo, the less you will notice the old one. It is impossible to make a light rose on top of an old Japanese symbol. But a darker rose with water drops or other details works so much better. All new details will help to break the history with the old tattoo, so we do not manage to see it anymore. It takes more time and patience, but you do not have to go that dark.
Check out my more detailed video on Coverups – where I explain more about how the ink works, and I show examples on how I plan Coverups:
So how do I proceed?
Find pictures of similar tattoos of those you dream of getting tattooed. Don’t think about what’s possible, that is the artist’s job. Save these images to an album on your mobile, PC or memory stick.
Contact the studio and the reception will find out which tattoo artist best suits this task. It is also possible to wish for a specific tattoo artist if you want.
You most likely will have a consultation with the artist, and then you find out what’s possible and what’s right for you.
Check out my studio: Attitude Tattoo Studio in Oslo
And be sure to read 7 things you need to know before getting tattooed
Here are some Cover Up Tattoos I have made over the years: