To tattoo the nipples or not?

The tattoo on the left (where the nipples are visible and untattooed) is the actual tattoo by the very talented Jeremiah Barba at Last Rites in New York. The tattoo on the right is one where I’ve Photoshopped off the nipples. What do you think? I think on my tattoo, I’m going to tattoo over the nipples.

50 thoughts on “To tattoo the nipples or not?

  1. Absolutely. Even if you can see them through the work it makes it more complete.

    Some work has been carefully designed to avoid the whole issue and that’s great if that’s an option.

    I always envy your photoshop skills.

  2. I think it looks way better in the photoshopped pic. In the first one I just keep on looking at the nipples and it takes away the focus of the tattoo.

  3. The nipples make the tattoo look like it’s got rosy cheeks. It contrasts a little bit with the ‘scary skull’ vibe, but I think it’s kinda cute.

  4. It’s much better without nipples.

    What’s the reason that people don’t usually tattoo over nipples? (I don’t know too much about tattoos!) Is it because of the pain, or something else?

  5. would it really look like the pic on the right if tattooed over though? i would think a person would have to get the nip’s surgically removed before the tattoo to get the full effect of the pic on the right.

  6. I don’t know. I kindof like the nipples in there, because they remind me of the fact that this is a body, not a skull…if you get what I mean. Especially with the forehead working so nicely with the guys’ collarbones, I need that reminder. The tattoo pictured seems to take the nipples into account, as well. The below-eyes part seems a wee bit too long without em nipples visible.

    I also doubt the photoshopped one is how it will look irl. I’m guessing tattooed nipples will hold color badly, n look very wrinkly. I’m guessing that’s why a lot of people won’t bother with tattooing their nipples…

    ..or could that be because of good ol pain after all?

    As I said, I don’t know. Depends on the design n body involved each time, I guess.

  7. I agree with #8, I don’t think you’d get the same effect if they were tattooed over than with the pictures.

    However, I still think it’d look better if they were tattooed over. The nipples are the sole reason I don’t like very many full frontal chest pieces. It just throws it off too much for me.

    The piece is fucking sick, though.

  8. The nipples should be covered. I think it just looks odd to have those bright pink nips busting out of an awesome black and grey piece.

  9. It definitely looks much better without, but I doubt it would look like that.

    I mean, nipples are much more “pulpy” per se and they’d probably be awful to tattoo over, especially since it probably would work. I mean, skin under your arm near the pit and stuff is of similar consistency and it’s prone to splitting.

  10. You could get the exact same effect by enlarging the eyes. I would have just enlarged the eyes, dropped the sockets and pushed the nipples into the orbits myself. The skull already looks “long in the face” so it wouldn’t loose anything. The problem with photoshop is you’ve gotten rid of everything, and with grey work, you are not going to get that kind of opacity in the coverage on a nipple regardless. Even so, I think I would want them tattooed over as they REALLY draw your eye away from the design, unless that was what they intended.

    What a HUGE piece though! Ow!

  11. i personally wouldnt have put it on my chest only because i dont want to tattoo my nipples (as of right now) but it does have a cleaner look.

    saying that, i have a mole on my back that is in an unfinished portion of my backpiece right in the middle where two lines interceptlike this: “| O —— ” and i wonder what the artist is planning for that?! cause it really stands out. maybe i will post some pictures of it when its done, i hope that he gets as close to it with color as possible to allow it to blend in, or tattoos over it….

    does anyone have moles tattooed over? and how is that…can any comment on that? tattoo makers opinions are very much appriciated. i dont know if that’s something that people do.

    sorry back to the original – the nipples stick out like a sore nipple! i would tattoo over them, or do something very clever to allow them to blend in a little more naturally.

  12. Toser- Just get the mole removed. I’ve had a few removed and it’s really no big deal. Outpatient procedure, takes about 20 minutes and doesn’t hurt at all (they number you up first). Then you won’t have to worry about it ever again.

  13. The nipples creep me out on that tattoo.. They are so out of place, and eye pulling, that it takes away from the tattoo as a piece of art.

  14. Over the nipples, definitely.

    (really, it depends on the design. If the design is nipple friendly, then leave the nipples alone. but not in this case or in the lion case)

  15. Does anyone know how well nipples can be tattooed, and how an artist would need to adjust pigment color to compensate for the change in skin tone? (I’m assuming that you couldn’t stick with exactly the same color, since some of the pigmentation from the skin should show through, darkening those areas of that tattoo. Unless you have albino nipples.)

    Come to think of it, how well does tattooing over pierced nipples work? If you have stretched nipples, could this damage the fistula, like a certain paper-cut I’m recalling?

  16. Shannon, a suggestion, to make it a little more realistic – copy the nipples from your original photo and paste them on a separate layer in your doctored version, set that layer to “multiply”, then play with that layers opacity %. You should then get a version of nipples that look tattooed and not surgically removed.

    Then again, there probably more than a few people around this site that WOULD just surgically remove their nipples….

    I’m not a judge, just a photoshop jockey.

  17. Tat the nips, when I first glanced at this tattoo I mistook the nipples for the eyes of the skull and damnit I laughed hard, it looks retarded that way. The tat in general looks really stunning but as someone stated earlier, the nipples (and navel) takes the focus off of the tat.

  18. Did anyone notice the eye in the left socket? or is it just my imagination?
    oh yeah … down with nipples! (in this case :))


    but than again, i see penises everywhere i look…..i wonder if it’s only us……

  20. In general i like your photoshop work, Shannon
    but on this case i like more with nipples

  21. That’s the way to do it! Spot on with the nipple coverage, although there would still be that original nipple texture to contend with.

    Gives a good idea of what can be achieved with a little bit of forethought and a lot of pain. Nice.

  22. Keep the nipples! I mean, badass skulls are cool, but badass skulls with nipples on their cheeks are cool AND funny.

  23. I have my nipples tattooed. (I had large black X’s tattooed over them) As for pain.. it sucks. As for how it holds ink, they hold just as well as any other part of your body. IAM: The Milkmaid did mine. You have to get in all the grooves and whatnot and that just plan hurts and bleeds a ton. Healing took a while too..and mainly because I have a hard time healing tattoos anyway (that coupled with some hard knocks and an incident with egyptian cotton) I have to get a bunch touched up..but I’ve been putting it off since it sucks so bad to get done…but it is possible and it holds just fine (in my personal experience)

  24. Tattoo over the nipples or whatever to obsure them. Nipples don’t serve much of any purpose on men anyhow, so for artistic reasons I say go for the tattoo to cover them. I’m considering it myself.

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