White and Black Tattooing over Healed Blackwork

When I saw the healed tattoo on the right in the picture below, I actually thought it was fresh and commented on how much fresh white ink with black over blackwork looks “unreal”, like a sticker or a piece of body painting. To my surprise, the wearer informed me that it was not in fact fresh, but actually a week healed after being done by Gerhard Wiesbeck (timetravellingtattoo.com). You can see how much the colors have settled by comparing the fresh tattoo on the left — it’s more obvious in the white than in the black of course. In time the tones will lose a bit more contrast, but they won’t disappear — the biggest change happens in the first week.

Check out ModBlog’s previous entries on this subject by following the “Tattooing Over Blackwork” tag — we’ve been showing you this technique for over five years now — and of course click the picture to zoom in and take a closer look.

Unblacking the Blackest Man

I assume everyone knows who Lucky Diamond Rich is, but if not, let me pop up a picture from one of his very first appearances on ModBlog, back in 2006, when he was already widely recognized as the world’s most tattooed man — and easily history’s most tattooed man as well.

Not only is Rick tattooed black-head-to-toe, but he’s been fully tattooed something like seven or eight times over. The white lines in the picture above are not untattooed areas. They are white ink tattoos done over top of the field of black. As these would fade slightly over time and Rick set his sights on new a body, changes would be made, sometimes with piercing or scarification, but usually with tattoos. I have made some recent posts about tattooing white ink over black and even tattooing full color over solid blackwork, and I think the time has come to update Rick’s latest stage of evolution.

Tattooist Brad Bako has been covering up Rich’s many layers of blackwork (and more) with a new field of biomech, starting with his arm. The progress has been quite remarkable, to such an extent that many people would think it wasn’t even possible. I really want to emphasize that this is not just being done over black, but over a mottled skin filled with many layers of black, some colour, some white, and probably some residual scarring as well. What Brad Bako has achieved is quite remarkable.



In addition to the bright sleeve work, they are also working on his head, transforming his full-black zen demon sort of appearance into a more traditional biomechanical tattoo icon.


So when people ask you the question, “what will you do when you run out of skin”, now you know that you’ll never run out of skin because you can recycle your tattoos. On a side note, I have to admit that it’s rather amazing that 10,000+ years into tattooing that we’re still figuring new stuff out every year.

White Linework Over Blackwork At Two Years

Following up on the earlier post about tattooing colour over solid black tattoos, Sara Martin, a tattoo artist at Sacred Images in Bozeman, Montana showed me this tattoo, white linework over black. Actually, to be precise, it started as a red tattoo, which was covered up by a solid field of black, over which white linework was done. The black and white photo is the tattoo immediately after the white lines were done back in 2010, and the white lines are of course quite solid and opaque since it sits on the dead surface skin as well as the “mixed ink” living permanent skin layer that all the tattoo ink sits in. The photo on the right, the colour one, was taken today, about two years later. As you can see, the white linework has held up remarkably well and actually looks quite similar to scarification over black. Sara says that in parts of the white you can see the original red, but that it’s difficult to see that in the photo (and it may be something where you can only see it if you know where to look).

Click the picture to see it at higher resolution.


Tattooing colour over black tattoos

If you are a part of various social networks there’s a good chance that today you saw this crazy coverup by Tim Beck of Freedom Ink Tattoo Co in Peoria, IL as it went viral today. This isn’t surprising, because most people would assume that you couldn’t do a tattoo this bright — and this light — over solid black. There’s been some debate on how this is going to look healed, with some people saying it’s going to disappear completely, even though Tim swears he’s done others and although they do darken a little, overall he feels that he can successfully tattoo new art over solid black.


Steve Truitt of Ascension in Albuquerquer, who is no stranger to ModBlog had one of those typical “piercer arms” tattooed solid black. However, instead of scarring over it or leaving it all black like many do, he had Roman tattoo a bold biomech piece over the solid black, with no laser removal or other preparation in advance. Here is how it looked right after they tattooed it.


And here it is healed, a month later. As you can see, it did get a bit darker, but overall it is still bright and bold, and you’d never know that it was over black. Now, I should point out one important thing — tattooing over solid black is very different than tattooing over a tattoo image. When it’s solid black, you have a regular canvas — the way the inks combine across the tattoo is going to be consistent, rather than having to compensate for the variations below it. So the counter-intuitive truth may be that in some cases it’s actually easier to tattoo over solid black, rather than doing a “normal” coverup!


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).

Out of action

I think I’ll have energy for posting tomorrow (and I sure hope I have it on Thursday, because I’m supposed to get my chestpiece finished that day). I’m more tired today than I thought I would be so I’m afraid it’s going to just be this great white on black tattoo is by Yvonne and Hannes at Blut und Eisen in Berlin, Germany.

white on black dragon tattoo