27 Daring Blackwork Tattoo Ideas for Men & Women in 2023
Blackwork is a style that’s been on the rise in popularity recently. The style lends a hand from Black and Gray but focuses more on using solid black as opposed to a gray wash for shading. This style is perfect for both micro and big tattoos, and suits almost any design, if the artist knows what they’re doing, of course.
But before you go and get your own Blackwork tattoo, let us help guide you in choosing the perfect piece of ink. Below we’ll show you the most awesome, most intriguing, and coolest-looking Blackwork tattoo ideas for 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.
Masculine Decaying Blackwork Skull and Forest Tattoo On Man’s Thigh
There’s something very masculine about this tattoo, it could be the saturation of the black ink or the badass skull, whatever it is, this tattoo is super cool. The placement on the thigh is a great choice as this is a nice large area, not only that but the design itself flows beautifully with the shape of the thigh.
Amazing Blackwork Hanya Mask and Cobra Thigh Tattoo
Welcome to another tattoo inspiration list. Today’s focus is on Blackwork, not to be mistaken with Blackouts or Black and Gray.
First up is this cool Hanya mask and cobra thigh piece. There’s a lot of Blackwork present, most of it in the background, but also in various areas of the snake and mask. I like that the artist uses solid black ink to shade this piece; it showcases a great understanding of shading techniques. The cobra almost looks like a crown, very cool.
Unusual Blackwork Statue Thigh Tattoo
Another thigh tattoo, only this one is slightly lower down, above the knee, and smaller than the previous skull piece. This one has a rather feminine feel to it, but that could be because the statue is a female. I love how the staircase has been done in a very three-dimensional way. What a unique tattoo!
Dainty Blackwork Key Tattoo On Outer Forearm
What a lovely dainty tattoo, I really like how soft and smooth the shading is. The outer forearm is a great place for this piece, and it fits between the existing tattoos perfectly. You may be wondering how this is a Blackwork piece. Well, the proof is in the shading; the artist uses solid black and the whip shading technique to whip out the lighter areas.
Abstract Blackwork Statue Half-Sleeve
The abstract brush strokes in this tattoo are lovely and give this tattoo movement. I like the shading and how the artist creates the folds of the fabric using various shades of black ink. This piece flows beautifully with the shape of the arm, and the fact that the statue is placed on the outer forearm is perfect because it’s on full display.
Micro Blackwork Tattoo Back Of Triceps
Here’s another unusual tattoo that I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing before. Is it a woman’s body or a man’s body? Who knows? What I do know is that the black is packed consistently. I like how the artist used negative spacing to distinguish between the arms and legs, very cool.
Unique Blackwork Abstract Statue Head Forearm Tattoo
I love how abstract this Blackwork forearm tattoo is, it almost looks like it was done with a paintbrush. The details in the beard, hair, and eyebrows are a lovely little touch. What really draws your attention is the way the eye has been done, the darker shading around it makes it stand out, which with any portrait is important because the eyes are usually your focal point.
Badass Blackwork Snake Tattoo On Man’s Neck
Neck tattoos are an exceptionally bold statement, especially in the case of this client as it seems he doesn’t have any other tattoos. What made him decide to go all out, only he knows, but it definitely looks super cool on him.
Brush Stroke Blackwork Leg Tattoo
I can tell what the top part of this tattoo is, but the bottom swirls are a bit harder to define. Regardless, the way these tattoos have been done is extraordinary; the flower is beautifully abstract, while the bottom half almost looks like water swirling down a drain. I love the lack of solid lines; the artist was going for a more realistic look and that can only be accomplished by using proper shading techniques, and the artist did exactly that.
Gorgeous Blackwork Kitsune Portrait Tattoo
The detail and shading in this Blackwork tattoo give it such a beautiful realistic effect. Look at the soft, smooth shading that gets progressively lighter as it reaches the Kitsune mask. I love the tiny white highlights, especially on the mouth, it gives the illusion of moisture and really adds an extra realistic touch. Absolutely breathtaking!
Masculine Blackwork Hanya Mask Thigh Tattoo
There’s nothing more satisfying than a really clean tattoo. From the Linework to the shading and solid black packing, this Hanya mask is perfection. The placement on the thigh is also a great decision as the size and shape of the design fit the area like a glove. I give this piece a solid 10/10!
Soft-Shaded Blackwork Snake Hand Tattoo
The placement of this tattoo is absolutely divine, and not only that but the smooth shading and layout of it as well. I like that the artist aligned the head and tail with the middle finger, the center-most point of the hand. Another cool aspect of this piece is how it wraps around the wrist, something you’d expect a real snake to do. Keep in mind that this positioning is very visible and if you work in an industry that doesn’t support visible tattoos, it could be an issue.
Stick ‘Em Up Cowboy Blackwork Tattoo On Guy’s Arm
Stick ’em up! This awesome cowboy tattoo is extraordinary and so well done. The addition of white highlights distinguishes the patterns in the cowboy’s clothing which is a smart move as opposed to using negative spacing. I like the placement of this piece, although I feel there is too much open spacing at the top of the design, this could be closed up by adding a background. Regardless of that, this is a beautiful addition to this client’s arm.
Feminine American Traditional Blackwork Triceps Tattoo
Here we’ve got a mix of styles that come together pleasingly. The design itself is very American Traditional while the solid black ink ties into the Blackwork style. It’s always great when an artist can take two styles and bring them together to create a stunning tattoo. The lines are bold and crips, which will hold up nicely over time, and the solid black is packed consistently, which tells you the artist knows her way around a machine.
American Traditional-Inspired Blackwork Coffin Forearm Tattoo
Something you will notice with the American Traditional style is that the shading is often very bold and there’s usually a lot of solid black packing, just like this awesome coffin. I enjoy how clean the entire design is, the solid black is saturated smoothly, while the Linework is bold and crisp, something you should always look for especially when it comes to American Traditional tattoos.
Illustrative Hanya Mask and Dagger Blackwork Tattoo
Hanya masks are quite a popular design and have gained a large fan base in the tattoo community. Here we have a badass Hanya mask turned dagger tattoo. I love the shading used; it’s dark and rather edgy, and the addition of the white highlights adds depth to a tattoo that could have been seriously flat.
Amazing Death-Inspired Full-Sleeve Arm Tattoo
Okay, this sleeve is incredible, there is so much going on but it just works so well! I love the various styles of shading and how soft the whip shading is, it adds a gentleness to an otherwise dark and eerie tattoo. The glow of the eyes is so creepy, but so cool at the same time.
Blackwork Lucky Paw Tattoo
Who needs a real lucky paw when you can get one tattooed? The pepper shading in this piece is so satisfying to look at, and complements the Blackwork beautifully. I love how ornamental this piece is, it gives it a very feminine feel. Placement is also very well thought out as it fits between the original work really nicely.
Impressive Abstract Blackwork Outer Forearm Tattoo
This can be considered both a Blackout and a Blackwork tattoo. I really like the brush stroke effect, it breaks away from a traditional Blackout. The saturation of the black ink is impressive and showcases the artist’s ability to pack ink smoothly and consistently.
Adorable Cozy Castle Blackwork Tattoo
This is one of the most adorable tattoos I’ve ever seen and it’s done beautifully too! The Dotwork shading is done consistently and works perfectly with the darkness of this piece. I also like how the artist uses white highlights and white ink for the stars, the contrast against the black ink makes them stand out. If you like this style check out needle.mistress’s Instagram page for more inspiration just like this.
Retsu Unohana Bleach Anime Blackwork Forearm Tattoo
If you’re a fan of the anime Bleach, then this is the tattoo you’ve been looking for. In the world of anime, a lot of fans end up getting their favorite character tattooed and here’s a perfect example. The way this tattoo has been done is almost in a Watercolor style which is pretty awesome because it breaks away from the norm when one thinks of a Blackwork tattoo. I like the placement on the forearm, a popular spot for portraits or tattoos similar to this.
Stunning Blackwork Sorceress Tattoo On Man’s Arm
I love the way this tattoo has been done, it’s truly unusual and macabre. Konrad Krajda is the artist behind this extraordinary piece, and he reigns all the way from Poland. The style of shading reminds me of something you would find in a fantasy storybook, and I’m loving it. If you ever find yourself in Poland and want some beautiful blackwork, he’s your guy, or you could go give his Insta some love. Who knows, you might find something you really like.
Impressive Abstract Blackwork Neck Tattoo
I love a good neck tattoo, they’re bold, loud, and right in your face. Nothing says “look at me” like a neck piece. What’s nice about this one is that even though it’s bold, the abstract aspect of it softens it slightly. The way it extends up onto his face slightly is really cool, great design and even greater placement.
Gorgeous Blackwork Tiger Chest Tattoo
Is this not one of the coolest tiger tattoos you’ve laid your eyes on? I love how smooth the linework is, and how there’s not a single inconsistency. The whip shading is to die for and complements the style and solid Blackwork. Chest tattoos are a great addition, just be prepared for how painful they can be because they’re not for the faint of heart.
Contemporary Blackwork Heart Design Tattoo
Blackwork mixed with soft Dotwork shading is always a winner in my books as the contrast of harsh black ink accompanied by subtle, smooth shading complements each other and truly gives a tattoo a unique touch. This piece as a whole is extremely unusual and the placement is charming. Absolutely gorgeous!
Beautiful Chalice Blackwork Forearm Tattoo
Geometry, Dotwork, Blackwork, Abstract, what more could you ask for in one tattoo? I love how simple the design is yet so intricate at the same time. Like many of the tattoos on this list, this one is uniquely the client’s, which is something you want. No onw wants to share a design with a complete stranger. The flow of this tattoo is so energetic, perfect for an abstract piece.
Black and Gray Tiger Rose Tattoo on Forearm
We’ve reached the end of the list and our final tattoo is a banger. The Dotwork shading is lovely and elegant, and melds well with the lack of a solid outline. Unfortunately, the lack of outlines also makes it difficult to distinguish the circular shape from the chalice because their shading is similar. Either way, this is such a cool tattoo, done in an even cooler style, credit to the artist!