Glycerin is the grey wash artist's best friend. You can purchase 100% pure glycerin form any pharmacy. It's used in many, many, many things so it should be easy to find. Pure glycerin is way too harsh to use, so you will need a separate spray bottle for this. You want to mix the glycerin 50% with water. It's very thick so you will need to shake it very well to get the proper mix. Once mixed use this mixture instead of water to do your grey washing with. It's much thicker than water so you have the grey dilution but the thickness of regular pigment. Glycerin will also allow the more realistic smoother shade than any other chemical. Another cool thing your glycerin mix will be good for is to customize your pigments. Say you are using a blue that is just too watery, then add some glycerin mix and shake. It will thicken it right up without loosing color quality. If your pigment is too thick or perhaps the bottle has dried out a little, then apply witch hazel to thin it out. You can bring older bottles of pigment back to life with these two chemicals, worth twice their weight in gold.
Blood and Grey Lining
Blood Lining changed the way I think about tattooing for the rest of my life. Once you figure out the method behind it blood lining will open the doors of tattooing by kicking them down. The idea is this. When you blood line a tattoo the line you go over is without pigment at all. This means you are basically just making a scratch on the skin of your client. After a minute or so this scratch that used to be a part of your pattern becomes red and irritated. This line you made becomes red giving this method its name. The idea is to make an outline that you can see easily but no black. Ok, that's cool but what's it for? Simple, say you're tattooing some realistic flames. You blood line everything instead of hard lining it then you use the blood line as your outline for the shading and color. The entire tattoo has no black outline. Once it heals the blood line disappears leaving the shading and color only. This is the key for realism. Years ago when I first heard about blood lining I though, man that seems like an advanced method, but now I bet I use it twice a day. It really is a basic but little known method of tattoo.
When blood lining, you want to make a note on your pattern. Something that lets you know this is suppose to be blood line instead of hard lined. I personally write a little "BL" right beside each line. Some artists draw the line in the pattern and make little slashes through it so it looks like a train track but with one rail. Use whatever works for you, but make sure it's clear and only use one method so you don't confuse yourself during a tattoo. Just in case you do confuse your self you want a picture of the tattoo with your set up so you can use it as a reference for all the points that are blood lined. Grey lining is the same method but you dip your machine in black and wash out almost all of the pigment leaving just a light grey line. The disadvantage of grey lining is when the shading of the tattoo is light you can still see the grey line after the tattoo heals. The only time I recommend grey line is if you are working on a client that just will not turn red. Just make sure it's as light grey as you can get.
When you blood line you want to do this first, before any black ever hits the needle. If you use black and then wash it out the line will still be a little grey, so blood line first. Blood lining is more painful then normal lining because the pigment acts as lubrication to the needle puncture. This is one reason why you see tattoo artist using five pounds of vasoline during a tattoo, but if you remember Chapter 4, then you remember this is not safe for you. Your best bet with blood lining is to fill a large cap with water or Witch Hazel (an astringent sold beside the rubbing alcohol) to use for the lubrication just like you would tattoo with pigment. Water works fine but you have to clean the small pieces of skin out of the needle tip every few lines to keep your needle working right. Witch hazel is an astringent so it cleans the needle out a little better by its self but you still need to keep an eye on the needle tip for skin build up.
The skin build up will spread apart the needle making you lines when you use black very thick and choppy. You want to blood line a little slower than your normal speed to ensure the skin turns a nice red color. If you use water or witch hazel then be careful not to wash away your pattern so still use your bottom to top method while dabbing the area dry as you go. Don't wipe with a blood line, you will just smear the pattern due to the use of a liquid, just dab. If you are blood lining a larger piece and the bulk of it, like a portrait, then after you blood line, give the skin a minute to turn fully red. This will make tattooing form a blood line much more comfortable. Remember not to use green soap until the entire tattoo is lined, most of the time you will be using blood lining there will still be some black line work. You defiantly don't want to wash away your pattern before you get a chance to tattoo it. Anything that's realistic enough to blood line like a portrait is just to complex to worry about free handing and part of it. Take your time, but don't go too slow. Its blood lining, not scar lining.
Bold lining is fairly new among the tattoo studios. Some artists call this cartooning. It's where you outline the entire tattoo and then when you are done, you apply another outline about a sixteenth or a quarter of an inch away from the initial outline leaving all other lines in the pattern alone. Then the artist will fill in between the two outlines making the tattoo to appear like it has a thick outer line while every other line in the tattoo has a normal width. This gives the tattoo a cartoonish look which is why some artists call it cartooning. This is something you want to practice on paper before you ever tattoo in this method. Once you get it down, you should also pattern the outside line so it's on the stencil. You don't want to be tattooing on skin without a pattern. This method is usually applied on tattoos with bright color or tattoos that are cartoonish by nature. When used with grey wash it holds a certain uniqueness which I personally enjoy although it's not often used. Another cool thing about bold lining is that ones the tattoo is applied to skin it has a habit of making the tattoo look like a sticker on the skin. Other than the basic idea I don't really have any instruction for you on the subject because there isn't much to give. Just outline both lines and fill in the black using the solid black method.
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Black with grey shading tattoo arts are like a representation of who you are and they have a power and magic of their own. This Tattoo tutorial is covering how to do black and gray portrait tattoo techniques. Learn about black with grey shading tattoo art and explore the exceptional techniques of making some beautiful designs.