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Reworks and cover ups – The Tattooed Way

Reworks and cover ups

As I mentioned earlier in the post about tattoo trends, people have regrets about these kind of tattoos on a regular base. But this is not the only thing that people regret. I can hardly estimate how often I hear the words youth sin when it comes to unwanted tattoos. I am talking about, among other things, names of exes, tramp stamps and extremely bad executed tattoos.

Once you have decided to search for a tattoo parlor that wants to help you out of your misery and want to rework or cover up this tattoo, you suddenly realize that many tattoo parlors are rejecting this project. Why? You just want a tattoo, right? To say it the hard kind of way, no one likes to draw on a dirty paper. Also, not everything is possible and customers often have way too much and unreal expectations.

Cover ups

Cover ups are annoying, every artist will tell you that. In addition, they are not always possible. A first aspect that you will have to keep in mind is that you will have to go darker than what is on there now. So if you have a black tribal from the nineties above your buttock, then you will have no other option than to cover everything that was black with black. Putting a color over black will just not work.

Knowing that you will have to work with black over the tattoo and that at all costs you want to get rid of that drawing, you will also have to go a whole lot bigger than your original tattoo, to avoid ending up with a big black spot.

If your black tattoo has already been faded a lot over the years, or wasn’t completely colored in black, you obviously have a bit more options, but even then this does not mean that you can go for a lightly shaded black&grey tattoo.

The only option that you have to know what is or is not possible with your tattoo is going to a decent tattoo shop. These tattoo artists will give you a whole lot more information.

Three tips that I can give are the following:

  • Don’t be too picky. A cover up is difficult enough, if you have 101 expectations about how it should look like and how big it should be, then this will most likely not be possible and tattoo artists will easier reject it.
  • Don’t be disappointed if your artist rejects the project. As I said before, many artists and shops reject such kind of projects. On the one hand this can be because they do not see the end result, on the other hand this can be because they have too little experience with this.
  • Try to make a mild estimate yourself which style is suitable to cover and which is not. For example,  you will most likely not be able to cover a tribal with a mandala without shadow.

If you finally found a good tattoo artist who eventually accepts your project, you can actually better just let him do his thing. Eventually he will use his insight views and experience to get rid of your blunder and give you a great tattoo. The more you start to interfere, the more difficult you will make it and the greater the chance will get that eventually he will reject the project.

If you really don’t find anyone for the project and it just turns out that it is just too big, too dark or too complicated, the only solution is possibly to have a part lasered away. By undergoing a few laser therapy sessions, you will end up having a lighter tattoo and the options for cover ups will increase a lot.


Reworks, unlike cover ups, are not meant to completely cover up the old tattoo, but to keep the concept and only improve execution  with 200% or more. So this is for example the case with sleeves that, due to a lack of money, were very badly done by a bad artist at extremely few hours.

Just like with cover ups your skin is no longer free and therefore not everything is possible anymore. Even harder than with cover ups you will only find an artist for the rework if you’re completely open to letting him do his own style. The artist will already have trouble making everything neat and will want to put his style completely in the tattoo.

If you are really dissatisfied with your current tattoo, you will be more than satisfied that the artist wants to put his style into the rework, at the end of the day it is also the intention to only approach artists whose style completely what you yourself have in mind for your tattoo.

Just like with cover ups, do not be too critical about what it should be, you just don’t have the option to be a pain in the ass for the tattoo artists with such projects.

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