Tattoo Cover Up’s

One of the challenges working on larger designs or bigger pieces is incorporating tattoos that will be covered. If you are looking to cover up older work or a scar, you are going to want to work with an artist who knows what they are doing – not every tattooist is capable of doing this well. Most often a new tattoo will not fully cover older work and could show through the new design if that older tattoo or scar is not taken into consideration. Over the years, I’ve seen so many coverups that are just rough – and have even been asked to coverup a coverup where you could see the first tattoo through the new. Often, I can work with what you have, but depending on what you want covered, it could hinder the creative process or restrict you from achieving exactly what you had in mind. 

In some cases, the tattoo we are covering will have dark lines, too much shading, or the skin has been over worked in that area, making it difficult to cover.  When this is the case, I work to create a design that will flow with the older work. By working with what is already there, we reduce the risk of the older tattoo distracting from what you want in the end. Unlike creating something new without restriction, cover ups take patience; there is so much more thought and skill that goes into creating the design and working to building up coverage in an area that may not take color well. You should be prepared to spend more time on a coverup than you would otherwise.

I recently met with a client who was wanting a half sleeve of an illustrative owl, which I was super stoked about. Now, in the early 2000’s he had a small tribal owl on that arm, with super dark, thick lines. So to prepare for our first session, where the client sees and approves the design, I began by using a photo of his arm. From that image I created a basic shape around the older work that I could build off of, making the owl twice as large as it once was. As I began to add detail, what was once the original owls eye, became apart of his beak, the bottom of the original owl became a row of feathers, an so on. Taking the time to incorporate what was there before, I was able to create a strong design with depth, that will not allow the older work to distract from the new.

When the client and I met again for his first three hour session and design reveal, he loved what I had worked up and we got started on the outline. We have a few more sessions to go before his half sleeve will be done, but once complete he will have something he can be proud of. 

I can’t stress enough to do your research before making an investment in art that you will carry with you forever, but if for whatever reason you do decide to make a change feel free to stop by for a consolation.