White over black tattooing

Danny had a tribal tattoo on his shoulder he wanted to “upgrade”, so he had Johnny at Skinworks in Holland first tattoo it totally black, and after it was completed, the lotus and cherry blossoms were added over top using white ink (see also: a white dragon chestpiece over black done using a similar method).

55 thoughts on “White over black tattooing

  1. nice tattoo.the only problem with white on black is it tends to lose its brighness and the white goes a dirty beige colour over time as i found out

  2. I can’t help but be impressed with white on black tattoos. They look great and prove that you can put a lighter colour over a darker one =D

  3. That is so cool. I’d really like to see how it ages, but in general I just love the idea.

  4. depends on the ink and the artist when it comes to puttin whitte over black. luckys look pretty sweet now lats time i seen him. and over white he has red and green on him as well. and it looks fine

  5. i love it… but i would do it in scarification, that way there would be no problem with the white fading… just my 2 cents

  6. That’s beautiful. I think I might well be looking to get some white over black work done sometime!

    If one did this with scarification, how would one do it? Would you do the scarification first, then tattoo black around it, then fill in with white on the lines? Or would one tattoo black, scarify, then let the scars heal white? (Somehow, I wouldn’t expect scarified black to heal over white — at least not 100% perfectly. But I don’t know much about scarification.)

  7. i have a question: since u can put white over a black ink tatto, can you put white on very dark skin?

  8. @Maya – I’m not exactly sure *how* the white remains visible ontop of black ink, I can only guess that the white ink literally sits above the black.

    The reason why white (or any lighter color) won’t show on black skin is that the ink literally sits under the skin pigment. Same reason tanning affects your tattoo.

    I may be a bit off, but that’s my general understanding.


  9. Ok. After i saw this I ran to my local tat studio and the man said it takes about 7 tries, give or take, to get that white to stay on the blackwork. Now I just moved to Florida, Naples to be exact, If there are any artists in the area who can help me out with this because I’d like to get a design like it for my next ink.

  10. Quick question, I have a lot of trouble work down on my leg, running from my thigh to my ankle. All the work that was done on my knee to my ankle was done when i was young, much to young to appreciate good work and i want to black it all out.

    Now I’m very darkly skinned. I’m of latino descent but nearly look black. Would white over black show up on me?

  11. neat! i drew something very similar in my school notebook earlier last week.

  12. I like it… fresh inked anyways.

    Wonder if it will end up fading or discolouring much?

  13. 14 – The scarification that was mentioned is doing some branding over the black work. This is not really intended to leave a scar, but instead grow new skin that will be the original skin color. And as far as why the white ink comes through better over blackwork is because the blackwork acts as a base for the white ink to stand out against. As #16 said, the ink does sit under the top layer of skin and in darker skinned people, that layer is darkened with pigment. This makes it much less likely that the white ink will show through. However, I am not sure if doing black work first on dark skin, and then applying white ink over it, would allow the white to come through. My guess is no, because of the pigment that makes it harder to see tattoos in dark skinned people. Awesome tattoo by the way.

  14. I would like to see a whole sleeve of this, I’ve seen black sleeves but not with white on it

  15. wow, and I’ve always been told that white never really works on top of the black:( it looks amazing!

  16. WOW that looks really awesome! I’ve been wanting to try something like this since that dragon done the same way was first posted…
    But I’m wondering something – I hope someone can excuse my ignorance and clarify this:

    Is the white put on directly after the black is tattooed? Just after the black is healed? Or can this white be tattooed on fairly old black work and still have the same effect?

    Thanks to anyone who has answers!!

  17. To #7 Carlovely, #18 Brad # 34 Meiju:

    The white linework is done in one session after the old tattoo was totally covered black and healed.

    Special thanks to Johnny!

  18. Well, it is beautiful and amazing. Please keep us updated on it’s condition after awhile. I hope it stays as sharp from just one session.
    Thanks Danny…and Johnny!^^

  19. awesome im glad i saw this because i have a greek god tattooed on my arm and i wanted to get some white lines made over some black parts but the artist was like OH NO THATS IMPOSSIBLE well looks like its very possible judging from this picture ill just go to a different artist that actually knows what hes talkinga bout

  20. does anyone know of an artist that does white on black in toronto? i’m looking to get a piece covered on my arm that another guy messed up on me…

  21. wow this is really beautiful!
    i recently got a small tattoo in black that i am not at all happy with now, but i dont want it to completely disappear. would putting white over this tatto have the same effect?
    and if anyone lives in the NYC area and knows of someone who will do it, let me know!

  22. if you can get white over black can you get white over red , and does white tatoo glow in u.v .

    any answers

    thanks xx

  23. This looks like a very rare thing,now all the idiots with terible work are going to think that this is a fix all,I don’t see this as a very viable way to fix all the crap without a coverup.I’ve seen plenty of artist’s try to cover screw ups with white,and they look like s–t.I’l file this with rings on fingers,and tattooing the bottoms of feet.

  24. This is a very strange question, but has anyone heard of tattooing over a skin graft? Both on the doner site and the grafted area. Or tattooing over scars in general. I would assume it would be really painful. Let me know, thanks.

  25. Hi, I have a really large black tattoo that started when I was 15, Im now 26. It was done as a coverup but it ended up really solid black. I decided to break it up with some white lines and patterns through it, this worked really well and i began to like the tattoo again. However it has been around 2 years since and where the white was done it actually looks like my real skin colour as it has faded a lot. Im now thinking of choosing a section and basically getting it done over in white out line, with lots of sun could it possibly disappear. If this works it would be cheaper than laser removal or at least it may fade it and that could help the removal process. Any one out there who’s tried this????????????????

  26. I have a tribal phoenix tattoo and I would like to put some grey to white effects on it.
    Is it possible to do this over black? My tattoo is almost two years old and still quite dark.
    I just want to give it a softer touch.

  27. I have had an angel on my lower back quiet large . But the hair has been done in back lines and given a fringe which wasn’t on my picture. Also the hair each side is to thick and long.I hate it at the moment and only had it done yesterday. The tattooist has another session of shading to do in 3 weeks as will have a little white and grey shades no other colours just my. skin color.

  28. The tat is still looking nice after 4 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    White ink can cover black.

  29. Danny, do you have any current pictures of how your tattoo has aged? Looking at getting something like this done and wondering how it looks after a couple of years.

  30. Any recent pics? I want to do something similar. Anyone in the Chicago area doing white on black?

  31. I think this is absolutely amazing….I recently had a tatt covered up, but it had to be done in black. But now I am excited to at least try to gove the new tattoo some white areas to break up the blackness. What kind of ink was used in Danny’s? Like what brand and shade?
    Thanks for any help, lol!! Great job!!

  32. I’m not sure how it is gonna work but I’m covering my intire left arm shoulder and chest pece with black and going back and doing a white tribal so we will see how it turns out give me a website I can pot the progress on

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