33 Beautiful Tattoo Ideas for People With Darker Skin (Black Skin/Brown Skin)
It’s a common misconception that people with darker skin tones can’t get a tattoo. We’re here to show you that not only is it possible but that the possibilities are endless. Color? Black and Gray? Blackwork? Dotwork? Yes, you can have any and all of those if you have darker skin, and we’re here to offer you some amazing ideas for your next piece.
But before you go and get your own tattoo, let us help guide you in choosing the perfect piece of ink. Below we’ll show you the boldest, most beautiful and most captivating tattoo ideas of 2023. You’ll surely be inspired with the perfect idea of which tattoo style to get, as well as where to get tattooed on your body.
With that said, let’s begin.
Exquisite Black and Gray Half-Sleeve On Arm
If there was ever evidence that people with darker skin tones can get a tattoo, it’s this one. I love the use of white highlights to create the look of moisture and the splash of golden brown in her eye. This is a spectacular tattoo. On darker skin, the black and gray shading can sometimes be difficult to distinguish, but clearly, this artist knows what he’s doing. For more realism inspiration, take a look at @kockotattoosstudio.
Colorful Feminine Galaxy Warrior Thigh Tattoo
Further proof that darker skin tones can get bright and vibrant color tattoos. This is such a phenomenal tattoo, and the artist Adriana Hallow specializes in tattooing melanated skin. I love the galactic theme of this piece and how the composition of it flows evenly with the shape of the client’s thigh. To see more amazing tattoos on darker skin take a look at Adriana’s IG @adrianahallow.
Soft Fineline Floral Tattoo On Woman’s Triceps
This soft Fineline tattoo is gorgeous and very feminine. The white highlights are a good idea as they help distinguish darker shaded areas from the client’s skin tone and really make this piece pop. Because it’s an elongated design, it angles nicely with the length of the client’s arm. There’s more where this came from on @tattoos_ondarkskin.
Beautiful Feminine Butterfly Hand Tattoo
The light yellow in this tattoo is what helps it stand out so well against the darker skin tone. It’s important to use lighter tones if you want to get results like this. I love the drop shadow under the butterfly; it creates a 3D effect making it look as though this butterfly is getting ready to fly right off the client’s hand. There’s a lot more inspiration for darker skin tones @melanin.with.ink.
Colorful Pixar-Inspired Calf Tattoo
This tattoo rendition of the animated movie “Up” is gorgeous. Many individuals think that because you have black skin, that automatically means you can’t get color tattoos, but here you have it; look at how vibrant the colors are! I love the white highlights which accentuate the angles of the house and balloons.
Pretty Black and Gray Fineline Butterfly Tattoo
I love above-the-knee tattoos; they’re very out there and always work so well with the shape of the knee. Here we have a lovely fFneline butterfly, as you can see, there’s quite a bit of swelling around it, but this doesn’t mean the artist went too deep. In actual fact melanated skin is prone to swelling and keloids, and the swelling will go down as the tattoo heals. The dainty lines are consistent, however, I feel like the shading isn’t done well. I also feel as though the solid Blackwork doesn’t appear solid. Great design and placement, the shading needs some work, though.
Sexy Feminine Rose Tattoo on Black Woman
The hip is a trendy spot to place a rose tattoo, another feminine area because there are many delicate curves to work with. There are tiny highlights in certain parts of the tattoo, which I can see were added to create depth and make darker areas stick out. That’s a good choice when working with darker skin tones.
Feminine Black and Gray Floral Tattoo On Woman’s Ribs
Floral designs are always such feminine pieces, and what a sensual way to adorn your skin with a soft Fineline tattoo that flows with your womanly curves. The lack of solid outlines adds to the femininity of this piece, although I hope it heals like this. Sometimes when there isn’t enough black ink in a tattoo, fading can happen rapidly, and you end up losing a lot of the design.
Gorgeous Fineline Flower Design Arm Tattoo
Another lovely floral tattoo, they are quite a popular choice of tattoo, especially for women. Here you can see that the client has a much darker skin tone and how the artist made up for it by leaving a lot of the flowers naked and countering it with the dark shading in the leaves. This brings the flowers to the foreground and means there’s no need to pack a lot of white ink into the piece.
Floral Fineline Arm Tattoo
The client has a lighter skin tone, so this Fineline floral design is a lot easier to see. The contrast between the dark and the light black and gray shading is stunning; it creates depth and a noticeable light source. I love that it’s on the arm and that the tattoo moves with the form of the client’s arm. Credit to the artist for doing such a great job and proving that dark skin is both beautiful and capable of receiving black and gray ink.
French Script Tattoo On Man’s Throat
I think this tattoo is awesome, if you didn’t know, Noir is a French word and translates to “black” in English. That’s a cool play on the fact that the client has darker skin and decided to place this script on a noticeable area of the body; it’s definitely the first thing you would notice when talking to him. He’s owning his ethnicity, and I think that’s such a powerful move!
Dainty Floral and Moon Sternum Tattoo
The sternum is a beautiful place to get tattooed, it’s very intimate and only visible if you’re naked or wearing something revealing. In a sense, it’s a tattoo for you to enjoy. I love how soft the design is and the way the artist uses gradients of gray shading; the lack of solid lines is lovely. If you’re wanting to adopt something similar, make sure your artist is familiar with darker skin, otherwise, your piece could end up over-saturated.
African-Inspired Dotwork Tattoo On Woman’s Arm
This African-inspired tattoo looks absolutely incredible! The whip shading is smoothly done, and the solid black has been packed beautifully. Adding the white highlights to accentuate certain areas of the tattoo is a good decision because it takes a flat tattoo and makes it stand out. I love this tattoo so much; the lines are clean and the placement is perfect to show off, nice!
Colorful Traditional Japanese Dragon Tattoo
Here’s the perfect example of how beautiful color tattoos can be on dark skin tones. The artist uses vibrant colors and white highlights to accentuate the design and create a striking piece of artwork. Oriental tattoos are a great addition to anyone’s collection, and the Korean artist behind this did a stellar job at bringing the client’s idea to life. I adore the positioning, and the way the dragon is twirling creates motion, giving this piece movement and flow. Kudos to the artist.
Amazing Blackwork Woman With Dreads Forearm Tattoo
Blackwork can be tricky to perfect on darker skin because sometimes it can look smudged as it heals. However, the artist allowed a lot of open space that contrasts nicely against the solid black ink. Using lines for shading also allows there to be less black ink saturation while still giving the impression of shading. I adore that this design reminds me of Medusa. Mayara Marques is a tattoo artist in Brazil that focuses on Blackwork and Fineline tattoos; go check out her page @mayaramarquestattoo.
Anubis Head Dotwork Tattoo
Anubis, the Egyptian god of death who was later overshadowed by Osiris, is represented by a man with the head of a jackal that’s often misinterpreted as a dog. The whip shading here blends well with the line work and solid black ink. I’m not too sure where this tattoo is on the body, it looks like a calf or outer forearm; either way, this piece would look amazing on any part of the body that has a length to it.
Masculine Blackwork Sternum Tattoo
The symmetry of this tattoo has me feeling all kinds of good things. It’s basically perfect. The positioning is even better, the design fits between the client’s pecs so well. The solid black packing is really well-done and works with his skin tone. As simple as the piece is, it’s amazing and a fantastic design for anyone desiring something masculine.
Awesome Masculine Blackwork Mask Tattoo
Here’s another one by the talented @fabriciodart00; as you can see, he’s fond of doing these kinds of tattoos. The mask is amazingly done, I like how the blackwork transitions out to a lighter gray. He’s also perfected his whip shading, it’s so smooth. This is one cool tattoo to have on your outer forearm. People can admire it as you walk by, and you get to look at it every time you lift your arm.
Dotwork African Woman Forearm Tattoo
Another amazing African-inspired tattoo that is incredibly inked! The whips are clean and symmetrical, and the linework has hardly any inconsistencies, which can be a difficult element of a tattoo to get right. Loving the white highlights that accentuate the face and jewelry. What a gorgeous tattoo; the design is clearly made for the forearm because it fits perfectly, an astounding job. @fabriciodart00 is an artist from Brazil who knows his way around melanated skin. Go give his page a follow, you might find what you’ve been looking for.
Gorgeous Dotwork African Woman Arm Tattoo
The positioning of this tattoo works really well – the composition fits the shape and size of the client’s arm, leaving enough of a gap on both sides. Regardless of the style, any design on the arm looks really good, as you’ll notice it instantly. The pepper shading is gorgeous, but the texture of her dreads is the part of this tattoo I love the most. You have to be really good at what you do to get such a realistic feel. I think the African earring completes this design because it portrays a strong connection to the client’s heritage.
Trio of Woman’s Portraits On Man’s Chest
Three’s clearly the charm with this lovely portrait chest piece. The abstract Sketch style works for this piece, but I feel as though it’s a bit naked and random because there’s nothing joining the three portraits together. If the artist had created a background, it would be the perfect tattoo. Regardless, the style and placement are wonderful, and the artist did a stellar job with the shading.
Peony Tattoo On Woman’s Forearm
I love floral designs on the forearm; there’s so much space and so much you can do with a design for this area. Unlike the other flower tattoos on the list, this one has a dainty little butterfly, which is a beautiful addition because you’ll often find butterflies on flowers in real life. I wonder if there is a significant meaning behind the tattoo or if the client just really likes flowers. Either way, the artist created something elegant the client can be excited to show off. If you need more flower power inspiration @tattoobyjeein has all the floral designs your heart desires.
Elegant Fineline Script Tattoo On Woman’s Neck
Simple script that has meaning behind it are such awesome tattoos to get. Especially because a lot of the time, people will ask you what it means, and you get to tell them the story. This script is feminine and suits the neck because it’s been designed to flow with the anatomy here. Just keep in mind if you decide to get something similar, make sure you’re ready to commit to a tattoo that is very visible and can possibly harm your possibility of getting a job.
Superhero-Inspired Dotwork Calf Tattoo
Where are the DC comic fans? If Static is your favorite hero, here’s an awesome rendition for you to enjoy. What’s really cool about this piece is the fact that Static is of African ethnicity, and the client is dark-skinned too. Again, I love the white highlights and how they separate the gray shading so that the design isn’t overly saturated with black ink. Good choice to put this on the calf, it fits without wrapping around, so there’s no part of the tattoo that’s lost.
Soft Feminine Thigh Tattoo
The French artist is a connoisseur of fi\Fneline tattoos and has proven over and over again that she truly has talent. Soft shading and fine lines are criteria for a feminine tattoo. Looking closely, you’ll notice that this tattoo incorporates a sun and a moon, a nice play on the concept of day and night. I think this tattoo would have looked a lot better on the forearm or calf because it doesn’t flow as nicely on the thigh.
Two Sunflowers Outer Forearm Tattoo
The artist did a terrific job with the white ink in this tattoo which adds a layer of depth and contrast. There are a few inconsistencies with the linework in the leaves; some of them are too thick and almost seem faded. A forearm tattoo is one of my favorites because there’s so much you can do, and there’s enough space for a gorgeous design that flows with your arm.
Unique Dotwork Portrait Arm Tattoo
Sanzala Lab has many examples of this style on their page. The composition of this tattoo is stunning – and works well on the client’s arm. Whip shading can be seen in this piece, it’s so smooth and consistent. Hands are a very complicated form to draw, nevermind tattoo, but the artist showcased their abilities and created a magnificent tattoo.
Fineline Peony Tattoo On Forearm
Peonies represent love, happiness and beauty; perhaps having this symbolic flower tattooed on you will bring you all of those things. This piece is stunning, it almost looks like it was pencil drawn on the skin. The drop shadows on the flowers are amazing and create depth, along with the silky whip shading. I think it’s lovely that a male got this tattoo, it shows that floral can be masculine too. You can find Rob Santo in Bristol, UK, but for those of you who want to check out his work online, you’ll find him on IG @robsonnsantos.
Abstract Black and Gray Butterfly Triceps Tattoo
The artist did a great job creating this groovy-looking butterfly. The triceps, like the forearm, is usually a popular spot to get a butterfly because of the shape of the arm. I like that the lines are squiggly while also reminding me of flames. Really cool!
Single Line Back Tattoo
If you can’t tell, this tattoo is on the center of the back; the artist placed the faces far enough that they don’t dip into the spine, which you can see dips in. This would have warped the tattoo significantly. I like the different line weights and how solid and crisp they are. This artist definitely has a steady hand and an understanding of how to do linework, slow and easy.
Stunning Black and Gray Peony Shoulder Tattoo
Another masculine floral tattoo, masculine because it’s on a man, not because of the style. The contrast of soft line shading and blackwork in the leaves is magnificent. You’ll notice that this piece goes over his shoulder onto the back and creeps down onto his chest; it’s massive and suits the flow of his shoulder really well. Congratulations to the artist for pulling off a fantastic piece of artwork.
Feminine Orchid Tattoo On Woman’s Arm
The angelic shading on this tattoo almost creates a glowing effect. Her skin tone is not very dark, but it is dark enough that if there was too much shading, the piece would look flat and smudged. The artist left a lot of open spaces to really make the flowers stand out, which is a wonderful artistic choice and shows that she knows how to work with melanated skin even though many of her clients are fair-skinned.
Awesome Masculine Blackwork Snake Tattoo
We’ve come to the last tattoo on the list, and it’s a simple but stunning snake. It’s amazing how Linework and Black and Gray shading can come together to make something as cool as this. I really like the way the snake is wrapped around itself in serpentine motion, it works for the shape of the outer forearm. Have you ever seen such clean linework?
We hope you’re inspired for your next tattoo, remember black is beautiful, and there’s no such thing as “dark skin can’t be tattooed”. Happy inking!