Blackwork: The Simple-Yet-Elevated Tattoo Trend That Only Uses Black Ink

While colorful tattoos are beautiful, you'd be surprised at how much you can do with just black ink. There's an entire style of tattooing known as blackwork, where the artist only uses black ink on your skin. This is slightly different from the black and grey style of tattooing that uses varying shades of black ink by diluting it. Some of the first instances of blackwork can be dated back to ancient Polynesian tribal tattoos. These are comprised of solid black symbols and geometric imagery, and according to historians at My Modern Met, they were first used as a way to express identity, including social status, family lineage, and beliefs among the tribes. They are still worn today, and the tradition of using solely black ink has evolved into the many different blackwork styles we see today.

Blackwork requires incredible skill and attention to detail, and it makes for some stunning pieces. From minimalistic fine-line tattoos to complex and intricate designs, black ink can do it all. If you're thinking of getting a blackwork tattoo but you're not sure where to start, we hope that these designs will give you the inspiration you need.

Plant and floral blackwork

Among the many tattoo trends that come and go each year, floral designs never go out of style. If you're not a fan of tattoos with color, a blackwork flower tattoo is a beautiful way to wear florals on your body. They make stunning collarbone tattoos, as seen above, but you can really place them anywhere. 

Snake designs

Snakes are another popular choice for blackwork tattoos. Black ink does a fabulous job highlighting every small detail, especially the snake's scales. A tattoo can hold any meaning you want it to, and snakes commonly symbolize strength and transformation. You might find meaning in the way a snake sheds its skin, as this can symbolize a new beginning in your own life. 

Geometric blackwork

Looking for a bold and eye-catching tattoo? Geometric designs are perfect for blackwork, like this mandala piece. Maybe there are certain shapes and patterns that have meaning in your life, or you simply enjoy looking at them. Solid black ink and the steady hand of your tattoo artist will give you a tattoo with sharp and clean lines that you'll be proud to wear. 

Black patchwork

Tattoo sleeves have become increasingly popular over the years, with some people choosing to mix different styles or stick to one main style to show off their ink collection. Blackwork is a great style to use when building up a sleeve because you can either choose simple and fun designs like the artist above, or you can go for more complex and geometric designs. Whatever you choose, you'll have a cohesive collection of tattoos on your sleeve that all share the blackwork style.

Dark art

It's very common to see blackwork tattoos that are inspired by dark imagery: skulls, daggers, mystical creatures, tarot cards, and anything Halloween-inspired. If you're a fan of all things spooky, blackwork will certainly give you an edge. You can have a realistic image or something more cartoony. Go heavy on the ink for a dark background, or go for some fine lines like the skull tattoo above.