Gallery of blackwork style tattoos that can be filtered by subject, body part and size.read more
Black ink is the oldest known tattoo pigment, a key part of indigenous tattoo culture dating back to the Neolithic era. The term blackwork, in tattooing, broadly defines any design using predominantly black ink. By using nothing but black ink the focus is placed entirely on the design.
Black tattoo art can take many forms, used for many styles, from ancient tribal patterns to modern graphic design. The execution can range from loosely dispersed dots or lines to heavily compacted swaths of solid black. These pieces are typically monochromatic and characterized by contrast. Secondary pigments may be present in more contemporary works.
There is no single definition of well-executed blackwork, though tattooers typically aim for consistency in coverage so the black ink heals with uniformity in tone and texture.
The term “Blackwork” is used in other trades, as well. The origin of the name comes from embroidery done with solid black thread, usually silk, thread on white fabric, especially linen, emphasizing contrast. This embroidery type was popular in England during the Tudor period. The term can also describe the work of a blacksmith, as forging heavy metals in a furnace tends to “blacken” both the product and the person with soot.