Patch Tattoos Are The Perfect Way To Get Some Unique Ink

Tattooing has come a long way in terms of techniques. Something that once only had one color option (black) and very limited styles to choose from, nowadays allows for pretty much anything; there's nothing a truly skilled tattoo artist can't do. This is exciting news for those of us who love the imagery that ink can create, as well as the unique power of tattoos

One of the more realistic styles that emerged recently is patch tattoos. Also known as embroidery tattoos, these adornments came into the mainstream thanks to Brazilian tattooist Duda Lozano. "In the middle of 2010, I decided to look for my own style, where what I wanted was for people to look at one of my tattoos and know who had done it," Lozano told Killer Ink. "It took nine years of studies, and in 2019 I had the idea of making an embroidered Garfield character — from then on, I just didn't stop." Lozano's tattoos look just like the patches you may have had on your backpack as a kid, or the kind you might find on people's clothing in the 1970s. These tattoos are so realistic in appearance, that's it hard to believe that they're not actual patches. 

Bright, 3D, and super colorful, patch tattoos are for those who are bold and want their ink to be noticed. If you've always had an affinity for patches or embroidery work, patch tattoos might be for you.

How patch tattoos are created

Patch tattoos are a form of realism. Each stroke of the needle must produce a "thread" that looks like it's been sewn into the skin, with the same textured look as a patch. The style involves both modern and ancient techniques, as well as being able to aptly play with and manipulate light and shadow through the layering of color. Because the details are so important for this type of tattoo, artists use smaller needles than they usually would to create the imagery of the patch being made of thread instead of ink, per Tattooing 101.

But when it comes to making something look real, you also need to take into consideration making it imperfect. "I wasn't the first to start inking people with embroidery tattoos, but I was the first one to make it so realistic, leaving 'broken' strings and other imperfections," tattooist Duda Lozano told Awesomebyte. It's those broken pieces of "thread" that have become Lozano's signature touch.

Best designs for patch tattoos

Although you can request any type of design for your patch tattoo — your body, your choice after all — what works best are cartoon-like images. "A patch is like an emblem that shows who a person is, where they belong or what they really love," tattooist Min Zumi told My Modern Met. "I have also worked on sticker tattoos and they are a similar concept which shows our personalities and our fun or creative side. It has been common for me to create around the characters and animations that we love."

A good place to find inspiration for designs is in your favorite picture books, movies, cartoons, or other pop culture references that have impacted your life and meant something to you. If you can't come up with something specific, you can talk to your tattooist and let them lead the way in creating the perfect tattoo for you, one that truly is something that represents you. 

Just remember, as much as patch tattoos may be all the rage now, it doesn't mean the trend will last. If you're thinking about getting a patch tattoo to be trendy, you may want to reconsider. No one should ever get a tattoo with the thinking of, "I'll just have it removed when I don't like it anymore." That's simply the wrong way to go about tattoos.