Black and grey tattoo shading techniques. There are just as many methods for creating different variations. Its good shading in the tattoo as there are ways to tune a tattoo machine. This text will cover a few of the commonly accepted practices for mixing up the shading inks.
Grey wash is a common technique for creating smooth black and grey tattoos.
Another common technique is the correct grey pigment method. With the accurate grey ink method, grey inks are mixed using tattoo white and tattoo black pigments. These are a lot thicker than the lining inks.and should more than likely be diluted with an agent as well. Different ratios will obtain different shades, just like with the grey wash.
While the grey wash is more forgiving, the black and grey tattoo pigment can be a little more difficult to achieve reliable results. By using grey dyes (made from white and black pigments), the artist can produce a darker overall tattoo.
Grey pigment process would entail the artist to lay down a light grey first, and then go back over the light grey with the darker mixes, and even black. It is important to remember that tattoo inks will cover each other up, and mix in the skin as well.
Grey is The Key
It is possible to have a light grey area colored in, and then by dipping the tip of the tube into the solid black, go back over a portion of a light grey area in a flicking motion. While using slightly more pressure in the area that the artist wishes to have a darker color, and lifting the needle a little more off the skin as he prefers the shade to lighten.
Traditional tattoo methodology would have the artist work from darker to lighter areas of the tattoo.building up shadows and more shaded areas. This is not always required, but it is good practice. As a new tattoo artist, one should not get frustrated if the ink does not appear to be going into the skin properly. How easily the grey values will build depends on a lot of variables. These things require time, patience, and practice. It is also possible to overwork and ultimately damage the skin.
How to tattoo shading techniques black and grey?
One always rinse your tube out when you go from a dark cup to a lighter cup; if you don’t, you will contaminate the more luminous bowls too quickly, and all your containers will become the same shade of grey very shortly.
1 anytime you want an in-between shade of your two cups, always dip into the lighter bowl first before, the darker.
This will slow the contamination of each cup.. thinks of it like this. If you have 1 cup of black and one cup with three drops. If you dip into your black and then into your bowl with three slips. You have just done is add 25% more “black” to your three drop cup, it won’t take very long before your light cup becomes a very dark tone.
Now if you dip into your three drop cup first and then into your black cup, you have only diluted the black by about 1-2%. You can tattoo for quite sometime before your black becomes too diluted. Now, this is an extreme example because you would not do this, but I just wanted you to understand a little better. But the principle still applies to all your cups, your drop system tones will hold out longer if you dip from light to dark. If you want just to lighten a specific tone, just give it a dunk in the cup of water. Make sense?
2 stretching the skin:
Think of the skin like a balloon with writing on it. When the aircraft is flaccid, the letters that were printed on it are very dark, but when you blow it up the writing on the plane becomes more prominent, and they begin to look a lot lighter. Soon as you let the air out of the helicopter the letters look dark again. This principle applies to tattoo the skin as well. Let’s say you are tattooing someone’s ribs.
This area is very stretchy, so if you stretch this area well and put in a beautiful medium tone, once you let the skin go, it will go back to its original shape (like the balloon). The now tattooed skin will be closer together, and thus your medium tone has now turned darker than what you had hoped for make sense? What I’m trying to say is that you have to consider this when doing black and grey tattoo;
in some cases, you will not stretch the skin at all to get a specific tone. In others, you will reach hard and put in a light tone to the actual medium tone you were looking for. Over time, this becomes a natural feel, and you begin to stretch according to how the skin is behaving as you go…
3. The taper of the needle.
It is essential when you go from solid fill or scrubbing to surface shading. If you have the needles buried during a fill of a specific tone. You are using the bulk of the thickness of the needle a so your “dots or holes” will be at their maximum. When you begin to switch to surface shading and to blend out tones with a softer hit. And getting less of the depth of the needles, so in turn, your dot or “hole” is far smaller.
Keep this in mind when tattooing areas that need more pressure to get the ink in and areas that take ink well. What I’m saying is that you will black and grey tattoo some areas with a med tone to get the ink in by burying the needles. And in some areas, you can get the same effect by surface shading with a darker tone because the ink flows better.
Just a part of being able to adjust to the always-changing skin, if you get what I mean. This is why some have a hard time getting smooth blends in some regions of the body. Some can put a butter blend on the forearm but are ready to shoot themselves when it comes to the ribs.
4. needle groupings.
The number of needles you use plays a big roll in getting soft blends. Think of a person lying down on a bed of the nail. The reason they don’t hurt themselves is that if the number of pins being able to distribute their weight evenly. But put only five nails down, and they’re a dead person. The same principle applies to tattooing if you use larger mags when you shade, it will help with smoothing out the area. Than if you were to use a five mag. you can use both.
Still, it will take more experience to be able to do so. Also keep in mind that if you are using both a 17 mag and a seven mag to smooth out an area, you will need to adjust the amount of stretching to compensate for the smaller needle grouping. Make sense?
5. machine to hand speed.
This is the biggest and most important thing that i have learned in my career and has helped me smooth things out in difficult spots. I noticed this specifically when I had the opportunity to sit and watch one of the best black and grey tattoo artist on the planet. I was into my 5th or so hours before I even realized what he was doing… The machine speed to hand speed ratio is one thing that will always give you the perfect blends, no matter what the tone is..
I know this seems obvious, but I realized there was a whole new level of depth to it. The key is moving your hand in a specific speed or frequency to the speed and frequency of the machine.. I noticed that with each tool he was using the rate was different. Also in some regions of the body the soul