Dotwork Tattoo Design Ideas

The name of this tattoo style speaks for itself. While other styles use different techniques, a number of needles and concentration of ink to get the desirable result of shading or lines, Dotwork designs are executed with dots and black, gray or red ink. Rooted in the iconic pointillist paintings of French post-impressionist Georges Seurat, Dotwork has revolutionized the whole tattoo industry and brought the brand new tattoo designs.

Dot Work Tattoos – Symbolism and Meanings

Most of Dotwork designs are tattooed predominantly for aesthetic purposes, in other words, to please the eye of a tattoo bearer or other people. Often there is no hidden symbolism behind Dotwork tattoos. Nevertheless, since you can implement almost any idea in Dotwork style, whether it’s a portrait, an animal tattoo or a geometric pattern, the meaning of each Dotwork Tattoo can vary a lot.

Dot Tattoo – Possible Variations, Placement and Features

The graininess of the image is the main feature of Dotwork Tattoo style. The size, texture and saturation of dots make a difference. A tattooist can reach more or less intense shading depending on how close or how far the dots are bunched together. Some tattoo artists prefer using hand-poking, also known as stick and poke, technique because it’s a way better to reach this stippling effect. Though Dotwork tattoos are ones of the least painful you can get, they age badly. The dots may blend and the image may look blurred.

As for possible designs you can get in Dotwork, here are some of the most common ones:

  • Mandalas
  • Animals
  • Geometric patterns and figures
  • Flowers
  • Portraits
  • Mountains
  • Trees
  • Landscapes
  • Butterflies, dragonflies and other insects
  • Birds
  • Arrows and feathers
  • Skulls
  • Crystals, etc.

Dotwork is the style where multiple elements work together impressively well creating unrepeatable designs of any possible size. It is the size of a tattoo that determines its placement on a body. The shape matters as well. Bigger circular mandala tattoos look gorgeously on the bicep, on the nape of the neck, on the thigh or arm. Dotwork geometric patterns can cover the sleeve or half-sleeve. Smaller Dotwork inks perfectly fit the wrist or ankle. Ultimately it’s only up to you to decide where to get tatted up.

It doesn’t rarely happen that Dotwork complements other tattoo styles such as Blackwork, Linework, Trash Polka, Realism and Watercolor.

Even if you haven’t heard of Dotwork yet, you will definitely love this awesome style after these 35 great pieces that we’ve rounded up for you.
Nice gentle black dot tattoo for girls

As far as the boldness of outlines goes, the overall image looks balanced and stands out. It is so nice and smooth tattoo of the deer with flowers on the arm.
Impressive dot art tattoo of Medusa on the back of arm

According to Greek mythology Perseus needed to get Medusa’s head. However, it was a dangerous thing to do because Medusa Gorgon could turn a man into rock with a just single look. This dot tattoo depicts beheaded Medusa after Perseus defeated her.
Spectacular Fornasetti face in dot design tattoo

Inspired by Piero Fornasetti’s “Tema e Variazioni” series of portraits, this spectacular Dotwork back tattoo reveals all precision skills of the tattooist. The dotted texture of shading works amazingly well with the bold black color of background, hair and binoculars and makes this piece come out of the skin.
Wondrous dot pattern tattoo on thigh

This thigh tattoo is such readable thanks to the good detail work including expression on bear’s face, bear’s hair and petals of flowers that put the whole piece together.
Fantastic dotshaded tattoo of mountains

Just take a look how precisely the lines are pulled on the skin to form this incredible mountain range tattoo on the bicep. Dotwork shading creates good depth and dimension.

Pretty Sunflower Tattoo on the Shoulder
Super clean tiny dragonfly in dot style tattoo

This one-color design of dragonfly wouldn’t have looked this beautiful if there hadn’t been light dot wings of this insect.
The perfect dot style tattoo on ribs

With some image edges that remind smoke this wolf side tattoo looks so cool. Heavy black dot shading creates the awesome contrast between light and dark areas and makes this piece pop.
Impressive arrow dot to dot tattoo design

There is no better tattoo design than arrows if you want to show off your good sense of direction through a tattoo. Nicely decorated with feathers, flowers and most importantly with dots, this arrow arm tattoo really hits the target.
The ideal dot work flower on forearm

This gothic-like X-Ray flower tattoo amazingly fits the arm. The smooth and soft transition from dark to light values makes this piece very beautiful and catchy.
Elegant simple dot work mandala near the elbow

As you may have noticed mandalas are by far the most sought-after designs done in Dotwork. Small dots may blend with age yet even after that you can be sure that your Dotwork tattoo will look flawless.

Tribal Grizzly Bear Tattoo
Beautiful dotted peony flower tattoo for women

Clean, bold outlines surely make this peony piece stand out on the skin. Thanks to beautiful soft dot shading this tattoo draws the eye.
Inspiring and unusual dotting tattoo on forearm

The beauty hides in details. We are one hundred percent sure that this phrase applies to this amazing dot dividers tattoo on the arm. Nice tattoo option for people who have to deal with technical drawings.
Nice Dotwork flower tattoo on arm

Saturated black makes the light spots pop even more and adds this unbelievable depth and dimension to the design. This is the super clean tattoo of two roses in Dotwork style.
Dynamic Dotwork geometric tattoo of howling wolf

We are amazed by this cool transformation of the howling wolf from the half-dotted part to the half-geometric part. The dynamic image is complemented by the circle made of dots and the arrow.
Really cool Dotwork mandala tattoo on back

Here’s incredible balance between shape and size of this grayish Dotwork mandala tattoo piece on the back. Slightly reminds of complex kaleidoscopic images, doesn’t it?

The Female Sternum Tattoo
Awesome Geometric Dotwork sleeve tattoo

The transition from darker to lighter areas of this awesome geometric Dotwork sleeve is very well executed. The tattoo really comes together thanks to that. Though lighter elements will need some touching up with age.
Recognizable Dotwork bird half sleeve tattoo

Playing with a concentration of dots a tattoo master can make a tattoo look darker or lighter. This moon and the bird sitting on the branch tattoo presents the darker version of Dotwork style.
Creative skull ink dot tattoo for boys

We love the way a tattoo artist made this image of the skull overlap the image of the moon using dots and values for this purpose. It is creative, visually well seen and beautifully executed.
Perfect line and dot tattoo of the landscape

The perspective is so important when it comes to tattooing landscapes. Here we can see the perfect execution of the landscape tattoo in Dotwork style.
Trendy Trash Polka dot tattoo design of skull

Heavy contrast between bold black and the red color makes this Trash Polka skull tattoo pop off the skin. Dotwork background nicely complements the whole design adding the trendy look.

Eternally Best Friend Tattoos on the Wrist
Interesting Dotwork rose tattoo with geometric elements

Chaotic lines that cross the dot-shaded rose tattoo grab the whole attention. The tattoo graininess is reached by grouping numerous dots and specks without some clean outlines so the overall look is amazing.
Incredible Dotwork birds tattoo idea

This couple of birds sitting on a tree branch symbolize love and devotion. The tattoo of birds’ silhouettes is made up of tiniest dots that fade to the skin on the ribs.
Gorgeous minimal Dotwork style tattoo of dandelion seed

Even though the image of dandelion seed is made of the tiniest dots that tightly put together with wispy lines, the tattoo doesn’t look messy or flat.
Fine Dotwork style tattoo design

Since women have this unexplainable special connection with the moon, this big bold, saturated tattoo depicting the woman with the crescent above her head is a great design to show that connection. The transition from darker values to lighter is perfect here.
Inspiring circular Dotwork hand tattoo for men

Here’s the simple dot by dot circular design. The preciseness is great starting from the lighter dots at the center to the heavier dots at the outer circle. Yet the simplicity of this tattoo is misleading because it is really hard to execute so the tattoo would be geometrically perfect.

Incredible Peacock Bird Tattoo
Breathtaking black deer with geometry tattoo in Dotwork style

Depicting the deer that is decorated with incredibly intricate Dotwork mandala pattern in the background this awesome tattoo slightly reminds the Jgermeister logo.
Astonishing gray Fornasetti Dotwork tattoo on inner bicep

Here’s the beautiful, clean take on one of Piero Fornasetti’s famous plates that depict a face of an opera singer Lina Cavalieri. The heavy use of gray dots and negative space creates this incredible depth and contrast.
Truly impressive wolf in dots tattoo

The awesome detail work of this dainty dot wolf tattoo steals the eye. Fine lines of different geometric figures work well with tight dot shading and the rest of the design. Game of Thrones fans will definitely appreciate this impressive piece.
Intricate Dotwork crystals tattoo around the wrist

This is exactly what you are looking for in a Dotwork tattoo. Heavy dot shading and bold black outlines work well with mandala pattern below and softer crystals in the background.
Fantastic Dotwork match and smoke ankle tattoo

If you are ready to explore the brand new tattoo style, Dotwork can help you to express your personality the best. Even the simplest designs like this burning match Dotwork turns into a masterpiece.

“Supernatural” Anti-possession Temporary Tattoo
Inspired by Rene Magritte Dotwork tattoo on arm

This Dotwork take on Rene Magritte famous surrealistic painting “The Son of Man” is amazingly precise. We can see how nicely dots set here forming this soft stipple gradient of shading.
Strong Dotwork tattoo of a bird near the elbow

Strong shading along with good rich values create the wondrous image of the flying magpie bird. Even without background or other complementing elements, this is the complete-looking tattoo.
Inspiring flower in dots tattoo for women

Smooth transition from heavy black all through to nothing gives depth to this crystal clean flower tattoo. Dotted leaves and shades on petals soften the look and add values.
Precious Dotwork pearl tattoo on body side

We can’t get enough of this fantastic pearl in the shell tattoo. The incredible dot transition from black to gray builds the depth of the tattoo and catches the eye.
Mindblowing surrealistic Dotwork tattoo on forearm

It must have taken hours, and much of tattoo artist patience to create such complex dot design yet this tattoo is worth the efforts because the final product just blows the mind.

Harley Quinn “puddin” Tattoo