Blackwork tattoos, the way we understand them today, are a slightly new visual tattoo style. However, its roots come from the traditions of tribal black ink tattoos. Today’s contemporary artists reinvent this old style, interpreting it into new forms of tattoo art. Often close to minimalist and geometric tattoo styles.
Below we’ll look into the specifics of blackwork, and show you some of the amazing tattoos created by just a few of the skilled blackwork tattooists out there.
What are blackwork tattoos?
Well obviously the name of this style speaks for itself, blackwork means a tattoo completed in black ink only. Blackwork tattoos are bold, often heavy and leave a strong impression. They don’t always have to be large-scaled, but the bold appearance of these tattoos often very striking and stand out like a much bigger tattoo.
Some artists use the effect of negative space in their blackwork designs and even put white ink to further increase the contrast. The bold contrast of these tattoos let tattooists to create a so-called stamp effect. These techniques are great for portraits, faces, and figures.
Fully covered large areas of blackwork are increasing in popularity with many people blacking out large areas, like full sleeves. They are often combined with geometric, floral or tribal elements.
Ideas for blackwork tattoo designs
If you start to search for blackwork artists, you’ll be amazed how many varieties of blackwork designs exist. This probably goes some way as to answer why this style has gained in popularity. Starting from traditional bold tribal tattoos, to geometric designs with basic shapes, blackwork tattoos are recognisable and engaging immediately.
You can find tattoos, which imitate woodcuts, ink pen drawings or etchings. Blackwork style can often be very artistic even with the simplicity of one colour ink.
Here are some of our favorite ideas for blackwork tattoos, using a lot of negative space and rhythmic iteration of geometric shapes. There is so much beauty in the simplicity of this style.
Blackwork tattoo artists
The artists ROXX and Hanumantra are famous with their large scaled strongly bold tattoos. You can also check Thomas Thomas and Nazareno Tubaro for some mind-blowing blackwork patterns.
Other artists like Huston Patton, which we’ve mentioned many times use blackwork to create beautiful illustrative drawings. Don’t miss Antoine Larrey’s stamp tattoos or Ilja Hummel’s blackwork designs, which remind of classical graphic etchings.