How to approach negative space tattoos
Tattoos are an art form like no other. An expression of one’s artistic nature imprinted on to their body. Tattoos have been around for ages, but the styling and themes are constantly evolving.
Negative space tattoos have become increasingly popular as people continue to look for new creative ways to express themselves. As neo and more modern styles of tattooing have become more popular, so have negative space tattoos. This is because negative space tattoos tend to work quite well with these styles.
What are they?
Negative space tattoos are tattoos that put an emphasis on an image by contrasting your skin with black or coloured ink. They are essentially a reverse image, using your skin as the main subject.
These types of tattoos inspire creativity and originality because it is a newer form of tattooing that has you working through the design process from a completely different angle. Suddenly the main focus of the piece is not the part that’s being inked, but rather the area around it. A great advantage that this gives you however is that you and the artist have a large amount of creative freedom to work with.
Planning for a negative space tattoo
Negative space tattoos require planning beyond what you may be used to with traditional tattoos. Because negative space tattoos rely on contrasting the ink from your skin, it needs the image to have certain characteristics for a beautiful finish. Prior to your decision of choosing to get a negative space tattoo, you should decide what style of tattoo you are looking for. Your tattoo artist will then be able to provide feedback on how that style lends itself to the negative space design style.
Here is some information for which kinds of tattoos may be difficult to be done in a negative space manner.
Points to ponder
Traditional, realistic, hyperrealism and line work are some of the types that negative space may not work well with. While it is still possible, the overall requirements of the styles may restrict your tattoo artist when they try and add in the negative space element.
Traditional is an art form that requires thick, bold lines with limitations on shading and the colour palette. Negative space tattoos rely on shading and thin lines to emphasize the contrasting image. This makes it difficult to get a traditional style tattoo while implementing negative space.
Realistic and hyperrealism
tattoos rely on the image to be heavily detailed, hence the use of the word real. Negative space tattoos are detailed, but not in a way that makes the image resemble reality.
The amount of detailing put into these tattoos makes it very difficult for it to ever be executed as a negative space tattoo. By attempting to add a negative space into a realistic piece, you’ll be limiting your tattoo artist’s ability to effectively represent both styles.
With line work, it is really dependent on the piece. Adding shading to your line work makes it easier to ink in a negative space tattoo. Shading will allow the tattoo artist to better emphasize the negative space within the tattoo.
We saved the good news for last. If you’re considering any from of neo tattoos, watercolour, abstract realism, symbolic realism, or dot work, then negative space tattoos will definitely be an option for you. This is because negative space tattoos rely on the same fundamentals as the mentioned styles. Which are thin detail lining, shading, and use of a large colour palette.
Just like any modern tattoo art form, there is a lot to learn before getting it inked on your body. Feel free to explore and learn more about different tattoo styles and forms through our blog or our work.
If you have any more questions about negative space tattoos, feel free to reach out to our team here
Chronic Ink team.