A few words on painting tattoos by Florian Tuffskull


Tattoos can help to create additional interest upon your painted skin-tone, especially when you have a naked body or at least a large area of exposed skin, which could otherwise look a little boring. However, painting tattoos on your figures can be tricky, even more so in smaller scale, as it can look unrealistic quite easily. So here are a few tips that may help you to reproduce a natural texture.


The choice of your colour is the most important thing. I mix a blue, brown and black. The degree of dilution is relatively high – the colour has the consistency of milk. Pay attention to real life tattoos, reference images etc as you will see despite being described as “black and white”, tattoos are never actually as bold or blocky as this, the colour is in fact much more muted.

Place your figure so that it can’t move and that you don’t have to touch it. Normally when we write we will support ourselves on a table and use suitable writing tool such as a pen or pencil – just changing your tool to a brush is hard enough so the figure has at least to lie in front of you.

painting tattoos

steady hand supported by leaning on the table, preferably on a sponge like material so as to protect paint work

Now start scribing with a small brush – one of the rare moments I use a really small brush. The degree of the dilution should be so high, that you can see the skin through the colour – that is the effect we want to achieve. The rest is only training.

painting tattoos

completed tattoo

In my example it can be a bit “unprofessional” as if the tattoos were selfmade. On larger exact tattoos like on Asian figures take your time and try the pattern on paper before.

Thats it! quick and simple. Like I say most of this is down to practice and observation, coupled with a good point on your brush, a steady hand and patience. Happy painting!

painting tattoos

other examples