A realism tattoo is exactly how it sounds - a piece of artwork that looks so realistic you almost believe it’s a photo! It is full of intricate details with high amounts of shading, and generally takes the most amount of time to complete. So be prepared to sit (or lie) for a while - we guarantee it will be totally worth it though!
Realism Tattoos most popularly depict portraits and animals, however the sky's the limit with this style and they can encompass nature, scenery, objects or detailed fantasy. This style can be full colour, black and grey, or for an incredible visual impact choose a combination of both.
There are varying styles of realism tattoos, each one differing slightly from the other. These include:
Let’s dive into each of these styles in more detail.
This style is a classic! Photo realism tattoos are perfect for capturing something or someone very specific. They come in all sizes, and can be black and grey, full colour, or a mixture of the two which looks unbelievable when done well.
A tattoo artist that specialises in realism has a critical eye for detail, taking as much time as necessary to accomplish the desired effect of etching a photo onto your skin.
Through the use of contrast, shading, and 3D effects, as well as different sized needles and a range of tones, your tattoo artist will utilise their full set of skills to bring your tattoo to life.
Hyper-realism tattoos have depth, shading, and an unreal quality about them (which is ironic given their name!). These tattoos not only look real, but they also look as though they’re actually right there on your skin. So intricate is the detail, each element of this tattoo is carefully shaded into existence, making them truly mesmerising.
When getting inked with hyper-realism you can expect people will stop you on the street to take a look at the impressive detail.
Morphed-realism tattoos showcase a range of lifelike images that are merged together to make up one total design. Whilst they are realistic in their visual effect, they take on more of an abstract view of the world. The images intertwine in a way that takes you on an exciting visual journey.
Any portrait, scenery or object can be moulded together to make up a morphed-realism tattoo. They can be created using shades of black and/or colour. Your imagination is your only limitation with this style!
Another sub-genre of realism is portraiture. This style is all about creating a photo-realistic tattoo of a person.
Great portrait tattoo artists achieve an accurate rendition of real people. Full of incredible detail from wrinkles, freckles and reflections in the eyes, to shadows on the skin and the way the hair falls. There should be no denying who the image is on your body with this style.
Portraiture is a very easy tattoo style to spot due to its photo-like qualities. Portraiture tattoos can be black and grey or made up of colour. They are generally medium to large in size due to their intricate level of detailed shading.
If you are wanting to honour a person in realistic detail then this is the style for you!
By using fully saturated black ink and gradations of grey tones, artists are able to bring black and grey realism pieces to life!
Black and grey ink are an excellent combination for more dramatic tattoos such as timepiece, animal themed, roses and portraiture designs.
This style is one of the most popular realism sub-genres and is a hit for both males and females.
Colour realism has become more popular in recent years, where design options are truly endless! These tattoos are full of varying shades of colour and depth, with minimal use of black and no outlines.
This style is very popular with designs such as animals, flowers, portraits and scenery, giving a 3D feeling to the image on your skin. In fact, you can actually use colour to create a 3D realism tattoo, just pop on some 3D glasses and give your tattoo another level of realism.
Bright, colourful and full of incredible detail, colour realism is your go-to for that undeniable eye-catching tattoo.
There is no denying the level of intricacy to be found in a realism-tattoo. It realistically depicts its subject with hyper-focused detail. Now that you’ve learned more about this incredible style and its sub-genres, we’ll let you decide whether it’s right for you or not.
For more inspiration on realism tattoo designs, check out our gallery here.