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Blackwork tattoos are a classic. Popularized with Polynesian tribal tattoos, with roots centuries deep, blackwork has come to involve a variety of design styles.

Today, blackwork comprises a variety of tattoo designs that use only black ink for drawing and shading. The solid black ink is a bold look that is striking in any style.

We take a look at some of the most popular blackwork tattoo designs in Toronto & Vancouver:

  • Tribal
  • Geometric
  • Blackout
  • Negative Space
  • Cover-Up

 

Tribal Tattoo Patterns

In Toronto & Vancouver, tribal tattoos have fallen out of style over the past decade. However, we included them on this list, because of the importance of tribal influence on blackwork tattoos.

Some of the patterns used in tribal tattoos date back as far as 2000 years ago. They can be simple with thick stripes and patterns, or intricate fine line tattoos.

Tribal Blackout Tattoo

Today, they are most commonly worn as half sleeve tattoos. However, Polynesian tribe used to have full body tattoos that would tell a story of the person, their origins, and life. Unlike full body Asian tattoos these are not designed as a single tattoo. Instead, they were several individual patterns that compliment each other and were added over time.

 

Geometric Tattoos

Geometric tattoos have had an upswell an popularity over the past couple of years. They are simple in appearance using geometric shapes. They make use of lines, circles, squares, and triangles to create beautiful, minimalistic designs.

Tattoo artists need to have a thorough understanding of design for geometric tattoos. They break an idea or image down to just geometric shapes while still communicating the intended meaning. Done right, the results can be stunning.

Mandala Tattoo

They are commonly used in mandala tattoos and are sometimes combined into realism tattoos for a stunning effect.

 

Blackout Tattoos

Blackout tattoos contain large areas of solid black ink, often contrasted with fine line patterns. Because they have large areas of solid ink, these tattoos can take a long time to complete, although they can be any size.

Armband tattoos are one of the smaller versions of a blackout tattoo. They are one or two solid bands of ink that wrap around the arm. And then, of course, there are more intense examples. Skateboarder Scott “Blackarms” Bourne has pure black half sleeves tattoos on each arm.

Blackout Tattoo

 

Negative Space Tattoos

Negative space tattoos are the reverse of a standard tattoo. Instead of the ink being the image, it creates the background and the bare skin (or negative space) is the subject. They are a form of blackout tattoo that is rising in popularity.

Black Cat Tattoo

The background can be a complete blackout, or a pattern using thick black lines or sections. They may use black and grey tattoos as a background rather than a full blackout.

 

Cover-Up Tattoos

Blackout tattoos are often used as a cover-up tattoo. Often, Downtown Toronto tattoo artists will ask clients to get a round or two of laser tattoo removal before performing a cover-up. For most cover-ups, this is the best way to give the artist free reign for an awesome new tattoo, instead of one that looks like it’s just covering an old one.

With a blackout tattoo, however, the solid ink makes it an ideal cover-up tattoo. The old tattoo will not show through a sheet of solid ink.

 

Getting a Blackwork Tattoo in Downtown Toronto

Some of the best tattoo artists in the world can be found in Downtown Toronto. No matter what style of blackwork tattoo you desire, there’s an expert who can match your style. Contact Chronic Ink Tattoo today to schedule a tattoo consultation in Toronto & Vancouver.