There are many reasons to cover an old tattoo. Your BFF slept with your boyfriend or vice versa, those three pitch black punk rock stars are no boring AF or you simply don’t believe that motivational life quote you got when you were sixteen. Some of the most common reasons out there are things like – not enough research done on artists or you might have got the tattoo from your Cousin Frankie’s part time mechanic friend because he just wanted a bottle of brandy in exchange for the chappie. Some of you might have been a little intoxicated or lost a bet of some sort, but like I said, there can be many reasons you would need a tattoo covered up. There are a couple of things to know before doing this, so listen up…
First off, what you want might not be possible! Skin isn’t paper and so simply “Tipex-ing” over the bad part won’t work. The best thing to do would be to discuss your ideas with the artist. They will be able to tell you if your plan will work or not, how they can make it work or provide you with solutions to your problem. This always seems to be bit of a sensitive point to some clients, but remember, a good artist will never put something on your body that they are not comfortable with and or know will look good, work as a cover and last a lifetime.
Another fact you will have to deal with is size. A general rule of thumb is that your new piece will be at the very least double the size of the original. The tattoo artist does not only have to hide your old tattoo within the dark, shadowy or “contrastie” bits of the tattoo, but they will also have to distract the attention away from the original by creating a different focal object.
You would think it common knowledge; however we still get clients who want a pitch black Chinese symbol for eternity covered up with something very light and dainty like script or a frangipani flower. Tattoo artist will have to use colours like blue, purple and greens to cover an old tattoo. Warm colours like yellow or red aren’t always dark enough to cover the mess underneath. There are other factors like the opacity and contrast that also plays a part in the colour palette. That being said, they might use bright colours to distract attention away from the old one, so don’t worry too much and think that they are going to cover your old tattoo with a big black blob.
Some old tattoos that might not have been done with the right amount of panache will be scared or raised. Generally speaking, going over a piece of scar tissue might be a little bit more painful than what the original tattoo was. This is the time to pull up that big boy underwear and hold tight. It will be worth it at the end of the day. In some cases we have even seen that raised skin will somewhat return to its original flatness once it has been punctured with a needle a little.
In some cases, a cover up isn’t necessary and all that needs to be done is a little bit of a touch up. In this case, the artist will just rework some of the dull areas, fix the lines and add some contrast, “easy peasy”! In other cases, the artist might suggest one or two sessions of laser treatment to lighten up the tattooed area. This is usually the case when the area that needs to be covered is very big and saturated to the point of dark matter! Laser treatment can be extremely expensive and has (in my opinion), a very small success rate. When done wrong, or again at Cousin Frankie’s part time mechanic friend’s place, it will result in the scarring of the tattooed area. Do your homework people!
It is very important to find the right artist, not the right price to do your cover up. Covering a tattoo will take longer and cost more than the original one did, so save up, sit still and you will walk away with a brilliant piece of art that will truly last a lifetime.