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How To Do Good Tattoo Cover-Up Work: Tattoo Techniques

Selina Medina has been tatttooing since 2002. She's from North East Florida, currently based in Jacsonville, and has ample experience fixing tattoos.


1. What elements of the original tattoo should the tattoo artist doing the cover-up work evaluate?

How easy or how difficult depends on everything from your

  • client's skin
  • placement
  • how the ink has healed
  • the number of colors used
  • whether there's space around it or if it's fit tightly among other artwork


2. What's the most important tool to fix a tattoo?

The first secret is densely saturated inks, like World Famous


3. Talk us through how you approach a cover-up! 

In my experience, the durability and success of a cover-up really depends on the quality of ink selected.  My design choices for this cover-up [below] were limited as the client wanted a long sweeping image to span a thinner area across her body.

All the color pigment is gone in this blue-based black, making leaves a convenient option for coverage.

Selina Medina's tattoo coverup client, sun in the lower back covered up by the stencil of a rose and stem

So a long stem rose was selected, with foliage to be used for the cover-up portion. The existing tattoo image was a blue based black pigment, with all the color pigment gone making leaves a convenient option for coverage.

Selina Medina's client with the coverup finished, red rose tattoo with stem on lower back

White and blue-based greens are ideal for the job; heavy greens to fill in the dark spaces and a lighter, white-containing green for the highlights.

Cover-ups are simple in this type of a setting, she is pale, the tattoo is clear, but uniformly the same color, and there is plenty of skin around it to cover the existing image.

The design was drawn on to ensure the follow of contours of the body and achieve the goals of the client, a sweeping image of a rose on her back. 

World Famous Tattoo Ink used: Vegas Green, Iceland Green, Outlining Black, Sailor Jerry Red and for richness: Milk Chocolate

These colors are an effective tool used to cover any tattoo.

Most cover-ups are an optical illusion; an artist generally uses the existing pigment from an old tattoo.

See more of Selina's work on her Instagram account.

Since the tone of the existing tattoo is so dark and the existing ink has a blue appearance to it, a cooler, blue-based green with some white in the lighter pigments was chosen. Since foliage is the cover-up heavy greens were chosen to fill the dark spaces, and a lighter white containing green was used for the highlight section.  

In the centerpiece of the tattoo, the rose. It was important to ensure it contrasted effectively against such dark petals. My selections of ink were to be warm as a contrast, and to use minimal black to keep the tones from being lost from petal to leaf. My effort to offset the darkness of the tattoo portions used for a cover-up, I used a bright high saturated red for the majority of the red rose and to give a rich effect with minimal black, I used milk chocolate.


Final Thoughts:

Cover-ups do require additional planning and thought, but with color-dense inks, ease of flow and great, low-reacting formula, my clients are stunned at the results and I am able to create beautiful tattoos.

How To Do Good Tattoo Cover-Up Work: Tattoo Techniques