50+ Stunning Negative Space Tattoo Designs That Inspire

Negative space tattoo
Discover the magic of negative space tattoos in our article. Find inspiration in our collection of 50+ stunning designs.

How often have you seen tattoos where it seems like the artist didn’t draw a design but just colored the surrounding space black? Today we will tell you about such designs. This style is gaining popularity nowadays and is called negative space. In this article, we will find inspiration for a new ink adventure in 50+ stunning negative space tattoo designs. In addition, you will learn what to consider before choosing this style and whether you can cover up unwanted ink using negative space tattooing. Get ready to explore an art style where less is more!

Choosing a tattoo artist is just as important as choosing a design, so only trust experienced artists. Here are four licensed tattoo artists who can help you bring your dream design to life:

What Is a Negative Space Tattoo?

Negative Space Tattoo

Using negative space in tattoos is a unique style, often falling into the blackwork tattoo category. Unlike typical tattoos where lines create the image, these tattoos go beyond the lines by using the space around to create the main design. While negative space tattoo artists usually use black ink, some also add a bit of color to make the design more expressive. 

As the tattoo industry evolved, artists have experimented with different styles and techniques, they have realized that negative space can be used to give designs visual depth. Tattoo artists skillfully fill the space around the design with black ink, leaving important areas of the skin untouched, allowing your imagination to be involved in the creation of the drawing.

The beauty of blackwork negative space tattoos lies in the ability to experiment with different styles and designs. Geometric shapes, portraits, and abstract compositions are just a few of the designs used in negative space tattoos. This is a unique tattoo style where the absence of ink becomes as important as its presence.

Negative space blackwork tattoos use not only flat lines but also the play of light and shadow. This technique is called negative shading, which is also an inversion of regular tattoo shading. A tattoo artist punctures the skin less often in negative shading to blend the color of the ink and skin to create a smooth transition. At the end of our article, we will also talk about negative space blackout tattoos and what they are used for.

Negative space tattoo

Best Negative Space Tattoo Ideas in Different Styles

There are many unique negative space tattoo ideas, as this style allows a tattoo artist to let the imagination run wild. Let’s walk through some of the most popular ideas.

Floral Designs

Floral designs always look elegant, and the negative space in the tattoo will add uniqueness to your ink. These tattoos come in a variety of sizes and are popular with both men and women. Whether you choose a single flower or an entire garden, negative space floral tattoos will add a touch of timeless beauty to your body art.

Negative Space Mandalas

These stunning patterns, whose boundaries are lost in negative space, are truly breathtaking. Tattoo artists use negative shading tattoos to create the effect of a weightless veil on the skin. A negative space mandala tattoo is a very elegant design that will look good on any part of the body, but the most popular placements are elbows and knees.

Geometric Designs

Geometric designs embody the swiftness and precision of modernity. Clean lines and clever use of space create bold and eye-catching designs that truly stand out. Geometric tattoos with negative space fillers are a favorite technique of many tattoo artists, as this design is great for covering empty skin areas between drawings. 

You can find several such examples in the sleeve ideas section, and here we take a look at how this design stands out as the main focus of the drawing. 

Small Negative Space Tattoos

The minimalist negative space tattoo is a modern design for those who want to stand out while leaving room for imagination. From subtle symbols to miniature versions of larger designs, these small tattoos can be placed anywhere on your body. But when choosing this design, it is important to keep in mind that miniature tattoos can lose clarity over time and require more care.

Ideas With Animals

Capture the essence of your favorite creatures with negative space animal tattoos. Majestic lions, soaring birds, or graceful aquatic creatures — your possibilities are endless. The synergy of ink and untouched skin gives these animal designs a dynamic feel, making them both visually striking and deeply symbolic.

Starry Sky

Immerse yourself in space with a starry sky negative space tattoo. The black spaces mimic the night sky, allowing artists to create constellations, planets, and celestial wonders on your skin. It’s an exciting way to carry the magic of the universe with you wherever you go.

Elegant Lettering Designs

Turn words into art with elegant negative space lettering. Whether it’s a meaningful quote, a name, or a special word, this tattoo is sure to be noticeable thanks to the black lines around the letters. Such tattoos reflect the character of the wearer with wise words rather than symbols.

Negative Space Tattoo Sleeve

If you love big and bold designs, a negative space tattoo sleeve is your choice. This design allows you to tell an entire story on your skin in a unique negative space style. Creating such a large ink can be time-consuming and may even require several visits to a tattoo artist, but the result is worth the effort. Geometric designs and negative space forest tattoo designs are very popular.

Everything You Need To Know Before Getting a Negative Space Tattoo

If you liked our collection and have decided to get a negative space tattoo, you should pay attention to some aspects. Tattoo artists advise considering the design choice and location of the tattoo, how painful it might be, how long it will take to heal, and how the tattoo will look years later. Let’s take a look at each of these aspects in detail.

Negative space tattooing is a unique style that requires creativity and a lot of experience from the artist. In our handy catalog of tattoo artists, you will find the best professionals who will make your dreams of the perfect tattoo come true.
  • Style choice

As you might have noticed, tattoo artists draw negative space tattoos in many styles. In our collection, you can find both geometric designs and minimalistic, blackwork and colored tattoos. However, there are styles that are not used in negative space tattooing — traditional, and line work. These designs are almost impossible to turn into negative space because of the difficulty of creating them. Realistic and hyperrealistic styles are also considered challenging to create because of the high level of detail and are tattooed only by experienced professionals. 

If you want to learn more about how to choose the perfect design, read our article on how to come up with a unique design. You will find eight simple steps that will help you create the design of your dreams.
  • Pain level

Getting any tattoo can cause some discomfort, but most people agree that negative space in tattoos is more painful. This is because the tattoo artist makes a lot of punctures with a tattoo machine to make a large area of the skin completely black. The sensation can be quite painful, but it all depends on the chosen placement and your level of sensitivity. You can also consult with your tattoo artist about using a numbing cream to reduce sensitivity. Don’t be afraid to talk about how you feel during the process and ask for a break if you need it. 

The level of pain from getting a tattoo depends largely on the place in your body you choose. Read our article where we will talk about the least painful areas and explore the tattoo pain chart to learn more about this.
  • Healing

After inking, caring for your new tattoo is essential for safe healing. Follow your tattoo artist’s advice on tattoo care: keep it clean, avoid sun exposure, and keep it constantly moisturized. Negative space tattoos usually take longer to heal because of more skin damage, so pay special attention to your new tattoo aftercare. Tattoo artists also advise protecting the tattoo space from additional damage. Healing time may vary, but patience in the process pays off.

  • Aging

Negative space tattoos age just like other tattoos. The color will fade a bit over time, and the lines in minimalistic tattoos can lose their clarity. Also, negative space hand tattoos can age worse and lose some color due to the structure of the skin and more frequent cell renewal. Proper care can extend the life of your tattoo, and you can also contact a tattoo artist to bring back the freshness of the design.

Negative space tattoo

Blackout Cover Up an Existing Tattoo With a Neg ative Space Tattoo 

A negative space tattoo is a popular choice for those who want to cover up an unwanted tattoo with new ink. There are several techniques for covering up tattoos, one of which is called blackout. As you might guess from its name, the tattoo artist completely covers the old design with black ink, and blackwork negative space tattooing is perfect for this technique. 

If you are considering a negative space blackout tattoo for covering up, discuss the options with your tattoo artist so that they can help you create a design that is perfect for your situation. 

Blackout Cover Up an Existing Tattoo With a Neg ative Space Tattoo


In this article, we explored the captivating world of negative space tattoos in detail. From the elegance of floral designs to the boldness of geometric patterns, we looked at different designs to understand the clever play of light and shadow in these inks. We discussed what a negative space tattoo is and how it relates to blackwork, as well as what to consider when choosing this style for your future tattoo. 

Whether you are a seasoned tattoo enthusiast or are thinking about getting your first tattoo, we hope our article has inspired you! 


🖤 What Does Negative Space in a Tattoo Mean?

Negative space in a tattoo refers to the empty areas around and within the design. It’s not about what’s inked, but what’s left untouched. The absence of ink plays a crucial role, making the design stand out and often allowing the viewer’s eyes to complete the tattoo’s shape.

⏳ Does Negative Space Tattoos Age Well?

Yes, negative space tattoos tend to age well. Using empty spaces to create the design allows the drawing to maintain clarity over time. While some lines may soften with age, the overall visual appeal of a design with negative space often remains unchanged.

💬? What Is Negative Shading in Tattooing?

Negative shading in tattooing involves leaving certain areas of the skin untouched, creating contrast by using the natural skin tone as a shading element. Instead of adding shading with ink, negative shading relies on the absence of it.

🩹 Can I Cover up a Negative Space Tattoo?

Yes, you can cover up a negative space tattoo, but it can be more complicated than covering up a classic tattoo. It often takes the skill of an experienced tattoo artist to create a new tattoo that will effectively hide an existing negative space design. By using colored ink you can cover up black areas. Keep in mind that the success depends on factors such as the size, color, and style of the original negative space tattoo.

🤔 Why Do People Get Negative Space Tattoos?

People get negative space tattoos for their uniqueness and visual appeal. The use of space around and within the drawing allows for a modern and artistic design. This style allows people to express their creativity and individuality through an unusual tattoo design.


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