If you’re on the hunt for smoke tattoo filler ideas, you’ve come to the right place!

Tattoo fillers are an extremely important element in any tattoo design. With larger pieces like sleeves, they help tie the design together. Of the various kinds of filler designs, smoke tattoo fillers are some of the most common and versatile.

Here are a few ideas for smoke fillers that you can incorporate in your next tattoo.

Photo: Unsplash

Smoke Tattoo Filler

Smoke tattoos are sometimes confused with cloud tattoos since the two can look a little similar, but generally, clouds have a rounder shape to mimic the fluffy look of clouds while smoke tattoos are thinner and mimic the motion of floating smoke.

Smoke Cloud Filler Tattoo

As such, both cloud and smoke tattoos make great fillers. But where cloud tattoo fillers work well as backgrounds or blocks in between a piece, smoke tattoo fillers are easy to adapt to designs since they can snake in and out of your piece.

In some cases, elements of both cloud and smoke filler tattoos are incorporated into a design.

Japanese Irezumi tattoos use a classic motif seen in East Asian art that represents smoke but looks a little similar to clouds. These tattoos incorporate smoke cloud filler tattoos into the background, making the design look remarkably similar to traditional Japanese paintings.

two tie dye silicone dab rigs on wooden table in the desert with blue cloudy skies


Irezumi-style tattoos have, over time, been paired with other designs. This one incorporates Japanese background smoke cloud filler tattoos with blackout and new-age designs.

Background smoke cloud tattoo filler with Irezumi blackout design
Tattoo filler (Source: Unsplash)

So if you’re looking for unique smoke tattoo filler ideas to fill out your existing design, try blending them with other motifs such as clouds or even waves to come up with something that works with what you’ve already got.

Black Smoke Tattoo Filler

While smoke fillers are usually white and set against a black tattoo for contrast, the reverse can also make for a fascinating tattoo.

In recent decades, particularly owing to the rise of new-age tattoos, artists have elected to stray from the traditional black and white smoke and are electing to use more colorful alternatives.

While red appears to be the most common choice, you can incorporate a variety of colors when coming up with smoke filler tattoo ideas for your next session.

Tattoo Sleeve Filler Smoke

Smoke filler tattoos are, of course, most commonly seen in sleeves. Whether this is a half or a full sleeve, smoke is the perfect element to tie the whole design together.

In some cases, smoke filler tattoos are a natural choice, such as when the tattoo design includes fire.

In other cases, it can serve as a connection between two distinctly different design aspects, tying them together into one larger tattoo design.

This is most popularly seen in tattoos featuring casino elements, such as roulette tables and playing cards.

This method of using smoke fillers works just as well in a minimalist design, such as this one where linework art and a block of text are linked using smoke.

Smoke fillers also pair beautifully with nautical designs and are a popular addition to sleeves that feature compasses and similar travel-themed elements.

There’s something for everyone out there, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your smoke filler tattoo idea!

Shading Smoke Tattoo Filler

Smoke tattoo fillers can also be used to add depth and intrigue to a design.

The use of smoke fillers in popular tattoos, such as tigers or lions, can make it rather unique.

Smoke fillers also feature in the shading used for backgrounds in larger pieces, once again adding depth and tying it all together.

Smoke Skull Tattoo Filler

Outside of nautical designs, skull tattoos often feature smoke fillers. The pairing of skull and smoke – which sounds like the perfect name for an underground metal band – is one of the most popular designs for sleeve tattoos.

And it’s easy to see why – a smoking skull is a timeless design. Some artists will even get creative with it and take this classic design and turn it into something fresh.

Additionally, you can opt to switch things up with different colors, such as this skull featuring a black smoke tattoo filler.

The Allure of a Smoking Gun

Smoke motifs have been featured in art throughout history. It’s no surprise, therefore, that they’re just as popular in tattoo art, making smoke filler tattoo ideas one of the top queries from ink lovers worldwide.

Within the tattooing community, smoke tattoo fillers have found a place as one of the most sought-after ways to complete a design. In most cases, the design just needs a little pizzazz – something to elevate it to the next level. In other cases, smoke simply adds a sense of motion and allure to an otherwise completed piece.

Whatever your reason for wanting one, though, there’s no doing that smoke tattoo fillers make for a gorgeous addition to any piece!

Looking for more filler ideas? Check out Tattoo Filler Ideas.

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