Dutch tattoo artist Mara Koekoek has a soft touch when it comes to her tattoos.
With Koekoek’s abstract sketch style, most of her pieces do not have the usual, complete outline of traditional tattoos. The black linework is applied sparingly, as Koekoek only adds structure to the tattoos where necessary, to enable us to identify the key elements of the subject matter.
While the black ink acts as the pen in the illustrative style, the color inks literally represent the ink used in actual watercolor paintings, or the ink within markers. There’s no coloring within the lines here, and that’s precisely what creates action and movement in a static piece of permanent art.
It’s impressive that such a harsh instrument like a tattoo machine, with electricity and needles, can create such soft and smooth ink on the skin. These tattoos serve as such a beautiful example of Mara Koekoek’s delicate touch and artistic expression.
A trip to the Netherlands is in order if you love Koekoek’s work as much as I do!
Originally published July 2016 for Tattoodo –