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Mixing Styles with Fine Line Tattoos

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Throughout the history of tattoos, individual styles have typically stood alone. These styles come with their own unofficial regulations that distinguish them and their origin points from one another. However, as people from all over the globe are mixing together, so are many pieces of our cultures. Mixing culture includes mixing tattoos, which was once considered taboo. These days, mixing tattoo styles is on the forefront of tattoo innovation! In this guide, we will highlight one specific tattoo style, fine line tattoos, and discuss what styles you could mix with to create a unique tattoo all your own!

Mixing Styles

When combining tattoo styles, there are typically two ways that it takes place. Either the two different styles are combined in the design phase and inked onto skin at the same time, so called mixing by design. And there is mixing by proximity, which comes from adding a new tattoo of a new style next to a piece you previously received, essentially mixing the two tattoos.

Both ways can find success provided that proper planning is taken by you and your artist to ensure that the final product will look good. The simple fact is that not all tattoo styles mix well together. Let’s dive into what exactly fine line tattoos encompass before selecting styles that go well with it.

Fine Line Tattoos

Fine line tattoos are appropriately named; the tattoos are entirely comprised of fine lines, typically applied with just a single needle. The results are delicate, yet intricate designs that often feel soft on the eye. The small lines allow these tattoos to vary in size from miniature finger-sized pieces to larger ones that can occupy an arm. And the small lines allow for a tremendous amount of detail within the confines of the piece. These tattoos are done entirely in black and gray and are akin to art that you would see in a professional sketch book.

Mixing Fine Line Tattoos

When mixing fine line tattoos, there are some features that add and some that take away from the overall look of a piece. For example, the right amount of well-placed color can really bring a fine line piece to life whereas thick, bold black lines might take away from the feel created by the fine lines. Below we will highlight specific tattoo styles and how they mix with fine lines.


Watercolor designs provide a tremendous opportunity to add soft, delicate color to a fine line, delicate black and gray tattoo. The color of watercolors tends to be light and free flowing, which fits perfectly in with fine lines. The color won’t dominate and there is no need for thick outlines like some other colored tattoo options. Mixing both by design and by proximity works well with watercolor and fine lines; both styles allow each other to breathe while doubling down on the soft, delicate nature of the tattoo.

The one thing to note if you want to mix fine lines with watercolor is that you need to take good care of and protect the piece. Both styles individually tend to fade when exposed to harsh sun rays or over long periods of time. The lack of outlines or bold lines means that the design will fade faster.

Color Realism

In a similar vein to watercolor pieces, color realism tattoos also have the potential to mix well with fine lines. Again, a fine line piece can be spiced up with color if mixed properly with a color realism piece. And fine lines can provide another level of detail and beauty to a color realism tattoo. Proper planning is especially important here; you don’t want the bigger, bolder color realism piece to completely dominate and wash the fine lines in the vicinity.

Japanese Traditional

As far as tattoo styles that don’t mix well with fine lines, Japanese traditional is a good example. The bold, dark outlines with the deep, saturated color of Japanese traditional pieces tend to dominate the thin lines and lack of deep saturation with fine lines. Japanese traditional tattoos are seen more as strong, outspoken designs whereas the fine line pieces are soft and delicate. These styles, while perhaps not impossible to mix, have many opposite features that can cause them to clash if mixed together.


At the end of the day, there are no hard rules to tattooing and it’s your body. If you want to mix two specific styles, then absolutely do so and follow your heart. Talking with your artist is a great way to get firsthand experience on what works and doesn’t, if you want a piece that looks truly unique and fantastic. But whatever sends you home happy with your new tattoo is most important!

Contact First Class Tattoo Today to Get Inked!

For everything from tattoo advice to professional tattoo application, to the healing process and anything thereafter, First Class Tattoo is the one-stop shop for you! The premier tattoo shop in NYC, our team of artists can design and bring to life anything you can imagine. Here, we are on the forefront of tattooing; nothing is too tall a task. Come mix tattoo styles with Fine Line or get a traditional piece. Contact First Class Tattoo today to get started!

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