For as long as tattoos, drunk nights, and poor decision-making have existed, I'm willing to bet tattoo cover ups have been on people's minds. Personally, I love the concept of a cover up. It's a way to move on from something you regret without pretending it never happened. That's a pretty good mantra for how to lead one's life in general, really. Not to mention that the process of actual tattoo removal can be painful, lengthy, and expensive, and the too-good-to-be-true painless tattoo removal cream isn't available just yet.
I believe the point of tattooing is rooted in its permanence. Tats are a piece of artwork on your skin that you've had designed specifically to reflect or decorate yourself. By getting a cover up rather than laser removal, we can simply add to what's already there. It's a way to respect tattoo culture while not having to live fully with a choice you don't want to be reminded of.
Oftentimes, IMO, the cover up can even be more beautiful than the original piece. Even if you're just adding a few swirls or evening up a couple of lines of an already-existing piece, the addition can truly make the difference between a stupid tattoo you didn't consider long enough before getting and beautiful art that you can proudly carry for the rest of your life. Here are seven cover up ideas that I love.
1. A Cute Owl
This might have been a pretty small tattoo to cover up, but the much larger piece is just so pretty. I adore how the artist incorporated some blue into the new tat as a little shout-out to the original one.
2. Dot Work
I absolutely adore dot work tattoos, and utilizing them in a cover up is a really clever way to make the new ink seem like an original piece.
3. A Neck Tattoo
I love that this new snake piece has come out of what someone might have felt was a mistake. IMO, it's way more badass than a poorly written "Lisa."
Freehand tattoos always impress me, and they impress me even more when in cover up form.
Much of the time, a cover up doesn't have to completely cover or replace an existing tattoo. It can just even up some lines or add a little something extra to make an old piece feel brand new again.
6. A Traditional Tattoo
These beautiful moths (a phrase I never thought I'd say) completely cover an old, faded tat without even a hint that they're a cover up.
7. Incorporating The Old
This is a cover up of a "scratcher" tattoo — whereby a person has self-taught themselves the art of tattooing rather than learning under the guidance of others. From my experiences, scratchers are often looked down upon in the community for being unsafe and, well, untrained. Thankfully, this artist has managed to salvage the work of a non-professional artist to make something totally cute and original.
If you ever have a lapse of good judgement or totally change your opinion on a tattoo you already have, all hope is not lost. A good tattoo artist will be able to turn your old piece into something you love without having to worry about lasers.
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