Here is a before and after of a cover-up I did on a recent client Rich. He got this old tribal tattoo done around ten years back and it wasn’t done properly (gratefully for us now he regrets the tattoo 10 years later). It was very faded, the black was almost more of a grey and the red was more like a dark pink. Anyways when composing an idea for a cover-up you generally are not looking for just coverage as much as you are looking for manipulation of what you are looking at. For example if you have a scratch the size of a dollar on the bumper of your new car, you wouldn’t just get a can of black spray paint and paint half of the bumper with no masking or design. You would most likely try and find a sticker than would cover the scratch perfectly and then apply, unless you have insurance and in the world of tattoo, the only insurance you have is going to a high quality artist with a great reputation, and portfolio of his work and not a backyard mechanic who “slingin ink” for a discount until he gets good.
So first step to a good cover-up is to think of many different things you could want on your body for the rest of your life, because let’s face it, no one wants a cover-up of a cover-up anymore than I want to do one. So have a list of some idea’s, it’s then working with your artist and relating your ideas to the shape of what needs to be covered. For Rich’s case he wanted a giant spider eating brains from a human head. It couldn’t of been a more perfect idea for a cover-up considering the could be a lot of black with out looking like a cover-up. A lot of times you see this in bad cover-ups, just tons of black with no real reason. Second thing that is important to remember is to keep an open mind of composition. It might be laid out different than you want but your tattooer is the professional, not you, so listen and trust him. It’s very challenging in doing a tattoo like this because you have to trick people who look at the tattoo to look else where than the center of the cover-up. Generally I think it is best to utilize some of the remaining skin that is fresh and open for other points of interest. For example Rich wanted a severed head with the brains being eaten with a spoon. Gross but okay because 9 times out of 10 that is what people see in that tattoo before they see the huge butt with tons of black and textures and bright color accents. Last realize your tattoo in order to cover properly and manipulate as best as possible, the size is most likely to be greater than you existing tattoo. It needs to be a lot bigger to add those other details to accent the big black spot. If you can’t afford to get the whole tattoo at once, the either wait or break it up in multiple sessions. Because of price alot of people get themselves in this predicament in the first place. Last Last …Always remember this… When in doubt black it out! Rich now wears tank tops again.