When you start the path to getting a new tattoo, maybe its your first or maybe your 10th, you might have a very clear or vague idea of what color scheme you’d like. 

Are you looking for color or black and grey? 

Depending on the style of the design, you’ll lean one way over the other, lets break it down. 

There’s various styles of tattooing;

-Black and grey, which can combine with any style below

-Color which can combine with any style below


– Fineline


– New school/old school traditional

– Print block/ illustrative

-Dot work


 and various styles in-between and combined  thanks to thousands of creative tattooers all over the world.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, lets talk concept and artist specialty.

If your goal is to get a portrait, you’d be hard pressed to ask a traditional artist with no examples of portrait work in their portfolio, to do your portrait. 

You could, however, ask a black and grey realism or color realism artist to do your portrait. It’s very likely you’d be a good match for them. 

Do you want a traditional lady head in full color? Lets reach out to an artist whose got good examples of this in their portfolio. When your needs as a client match the talents of the artist you’re

1. More likely to get an appointment, and

2. Likely to be a good match and get your needs met, ultimately leaving with a great tattoo and a good experience. 

Moving on from these points lets talk about color and how to decide if you want color for yourself? If you have color tattoos already you can skip to the next part. If you’re a first timer or on the fence, keep reading.

1. Is color a good option for your design? 

-Maybe you want a Grim reaper, or something that is naturally very dark in design, black and grey is likely to be a better option for this.

On the other hand, If you want a bouquet of flowers, color would be a great option for this.

2. How will color look on my skin? 

-Color theory, first a foremost, if you’ve never had color, OR, you’ve been told color won’t look good on your skin. 

Please, believe me when I tell you, that is NOT TRUE. 

Color looks good on all skin tones, what more important is the artist ability to figure out what colors will look best with your skin with its undertones and ability to predict, (based on experience) what something will heal like. 

Another option for clients who have never had color, but would like to test it before taking a big leap is using a color spot test. This helps my client determine if the colors they choose will heal well. 

Most tattoos look vibrant when they’re first applied, but the true tell of a tattoos quality if how it looks healed. 

For a color test; We can pick 5-10 colors you might like in collaboration with the artist of what they think will heal best and make small circles of color. Think a color swatch but with a tattoo. We’ll tattoo it in an inconspicuous area, allow it time to heal and discuss during a second appointment what you like and don’t like and how well apply this to you’re goal tattoo. 

Black and grey tattoos have a timeless look, this is just an opinion however, not a fact. Black and grey tattoos only have grayscale tones in them so this means you’re less likely to have multiple tones missing when color fades. 

With color tattoos depending on the area and aftercare you may need touch ups over time, just like a black and grey tattoo over 10-15 years you may need a touchup too. Lighter colors like yellow orange, pink and of course, white, fade much faster because they are in fact, lighter colors. Blacks, blue, green, red and purples tend to hold strong over time. 

When it comes to whether you’d chose color or black and grey, its truly a personal decision. A good artist will help you get to your goal and or recommend an artist who can help you achieve this goal. 

As with anything in life as committed as a tattoo, arm yourself with research, look at portfolios, ask questions, bring references and a good idea of what your tattoo goal/s are. 

Thanks for reading, I wish you lots of luck and good tattoos.


If you liked this post, check out my other post on LET’S TALK ABOUT BODY MODS BABY!

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