A subtle scar, white ink is popular for the barely there aesthetic. It’s a controversial choice among tattooers, though, and many won’t use it because white ink often fades. But this attitude assumes the client needs something dramatic. White could actually be the perfect way to inscribe yourself with privacy. Or perhaps it represents an injury, a loss, a painful memory you hope will dissolve with time. Watching the design fade can symbolize healing and celebrate impermanence. Ultimately, the right tattooer will accept that the client can modify their body however they see fit.
Top: Vertebral column by Madame CHäN.
Chest ornament by Watson Atkinson.
Tribal linework by Andro Zero.
Spiral with shading by Cebecizade.
White ink mandala over blackwork by Easy Sacha.
Mehndi-style sleeve by Watson Atkinson.
Author’s Tip: If you want a white tattoo, find a tattooer who is comfortable with it, and can advise you on aftercare. With age and sun exposure, the color will fade and may disappear. Depending on skin tone, you can ask for small amounts of pink, yellow or brown to be mixed with the white, which will help maintain visibility after healing. Consult your tattooer for more information.