Blackout Tattoos – What do I need to know?

Written by Sinéad Kennard

What are blackout tattoos?

Also known as solid black tattoos, blackout tattoos cover a big area of skin fully saturated with black ink. This could also be done with other colours, or breaking up the stark black blocks with smaller details on the top or leaving minimal designs intertwined. White ink over the top of the black, is known as a white out tattoo for example.


Blackout tattooing has extensive cultural roots, linking to Polynesian and Sub-Saharan African body art. They were often common in some tribes and have been used as an expression of body modification for hundreds of years.

Why have they become popular?

They have emerged in more popular culture since around the 2010’s with more tattoo artists exploring the use of blackout designs in their work. As well as celebrities from Machine Gun Kelly to Kat Von D sporting the look. Probably most commonly used as a way to cover up unwanted tattoos, it means you can avoid the even more painful, time consuming and expensive route of laser removal. Each individual will have their own reasoning for choosing this style, it could be that the striking aesthetic of such a strong black piece and the still very unique visual of them is what encourages others to express themselves.


Blackout tattoos are generally considered one of the most painful types of tattoo because of the intense level of ink saturation and extensive tattoo sessions required. You can look into our top tips for tattoo pain expectations here. It is also important to consider that more sessions (depending on your pain tolerance and tattoo size) means it is an expensive decision that will be intense, and somewhat traumatic to both your skin, and bank balance.

Healing process

Whilst the healing process will be similar to most tattoos, as you can imagine, with a bigger area covered, there comes more pain and peeling. It could take a couple of weeks minimum to completely heal, and there is an increased chance of allergic reaction and scarring. It is important you follow the aftercare advice from your tattooist and address any concerns beforehand in a consultation. Due to the volume of ink getting tattooed, clients should expect more swelling, so please give yourself time to rest as the area will be especially sore.

Social acceptance

Changing a large portion of your skin to a different colour cannot be a decision you make hastily. There are going to be individuals who disagree with this extent of tattoo coverage so you need to do your own research and think carefully about the implications a blackout piece may have.

If you’re considering a blackout piece, we recommend booking in for a consultation with our go to incredible blackout tattoo specialist, Dom AKA DVA, here.

Get inspired

Stay tuned on our social media below:

Instagram •  Facebook

Contact us at:

01923 825198

You can subscribe to our Newsletter here to stay up to date with The Old Stables Studios and follow our journey as we expand our space and introduce more fantastic artists.