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The Best Colors for an Anime Tattoo

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In the world of anime tattoos, color is essential to the final product. That isn’t to say that you need the entire rainbow in every anime piece, but just that the color behind anime images can carry a lot of sophistication. Some anime tattoos are black and grey and are still extremely effective at utilizing color to create a feeling.

Generally speaking, simple black outlines tend to leave something behind when it comes to anime tattoos. You can drastically enhance the impact and vibrancy of an anime tattoo through saturated color and detailed shading that bring your image to life. Color can bring out a certain depth and beauty to your anime tattoo which is perfect for many anime pieces!

Understanding Color Theory

A fundamental component to color in any artistic sphere (tattoos being no exception) is the color wheel and the relationships between colors therein. For example, complementary colors like purple and yellow can be combined together for a high-contrasted, dramatic impact. In order to get more depth and shadow, a monochromatic color scheme in some areas is a great way to stay within a certain shade, but change the saturation and brightness of the color.

Each color combines into the overarching color scheme, which can carry a lot of emotional associations along with symbolism and cultural significance, especially in the context of anime.

Warm Colors

For a feeling of warmth and positivity, warm colors like magenta, pink, red, orange and yellow do the job. These colors are generally associated with positive, comforting things like romantic sunsets and hot summer beach days. They are the light in the darkness. These colors in anime tattoos in particular can really set the vibe for your piece.

Cool Colors

While you sit by a lake on a sunny day and look out at the water, you see a deep blue of the cool water. Shades of blue, along with shades of purple and green, make up the cool colors of the color wheel. These colors give off a colder, often more reclusive feeling to them. Naturally, warm and cold color schemes are opposite each other; when used in contrast with each other, they can provide a tremendous amount of contrast and depth to a piece.

Cultural Significance

Beyond just the feelings subconsciously associated with colors as outlined above is the cultural significance and symbolism of colors. Naturally, your personal culture and the local culture will apply meaning to the colors of your tattoo. For example, in the United States we have three major colors associated with the flag that have taken up a larger cultural significance.

  • Red - Valor and Bravery

  • White - Purity and Innocence

  • Blue - Perseverance and Justice

Anime Significance

Beyond just the cultural view on colors, the anime community itself has specific color symbolism that can add another layer of depth to a piece. Some examples of the anime-specific color symbolism include:

  • Red - Passion, Energy, and Power

  • Blue - Calmness, Loyalty, and Tranquility

  • Green - Nature, Growth, and Balance

  • Yellow - Happiness, Optimism, and Intellect

  • Pink - Femininity, Innocence, and Romance

Choosing Color for Your Anime Tattoo

Understanding color is one thing, but applying these colors to your anime tattoo is a little different in practice. Generally, there are some classic color schemes that work wonders in an anime tattoo design. These color schemes include:

  • Bold and Vibrant Primary Colors

  • Soft and Pastel Color Palette

  • High-Contrast Black and Grey with Accent Colors

Another extremely important aspect to selecting the colors for your anime tattoos is to accurately reflect the mood and tone of your character/specific anime. This, harmonized with the overall design, is the best way to bring your design to life and add layers of depth to the piece.

You should also consider your specific skin tone, your so-called undertone, and how colors will present. Your skin provides a filter over top of any tattoo ink that can slightly change the presentation of that ink. These aspects should be considered during the design of your tattoo.

Incorporating Special Effects with Colors

Within each color lies the ability to apply special effects to add yet another layer of depth and display to your piece. Some of these special effects that can be produced by a skilled artist include:

  • Gradient and Ombre Effects

  • Glowing and Neon Colors

  • Metallic and Shimmering Accents

All Different Genres Work

Despite what you may think at first, there really are no restrictions on where you can go with the design of your anime tattoo. Any genre of anime (which is a lot of them) can be tastefully designed and applied in a tattoo format. Some of these popular genres that inspire anime tattoos include:

  • Fantasy and Magical Anime Tattoos

  • Mecha and Sci-Fi Anime Tattoos

  • Horror and Dark Anime Tattoos

  • Cute and Kawaii Anime Tattoos

Maintaining Colorful Anime Tattoos

Just like any tattoo, the design of an anime tattoo will last longer and look better with proper aftercare. This starts immediately after getting inked, making sure the skin is moisturized and healing properly. Keep the new tattoo clean to avoid infections. Use sunscreen to prevent the erosion of ink via the UV rays from the sun.

Down the road, plan to get touch-ups and color restoration. Even while implementing the best tattoo aftercare, overtime it is inevitable that there will be some degree of fading in your tattoo’s color as the ink is slowly broken down. Getting quick touch-ups here and there will go a long way towards the longevity of your anime tattoo.


In short, the colors behind an anime tattoo hold great significance. Between the cultural significance of colors to the anime-specific color associations, there can be deep meaning tucked into the colors selected for an anime tattoo design.

These colors can also go a long way towards personalizing the tattoo to your and your personality. Either way, deep saturated color is a fantastic way to infuse deep meaning and beauty into an anime tattoo design. Don’t shy away from the vibrant; embrace the beauty and expression of colorful anime tattoos!

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