Shadowing

Tattoo Shading Practice Images

Good tattoo shading requires experience and is an acquired skill. Diligent practice pays off here because sometimes tattoo artists are judged solely by their peers on the quality of black shading that they do. If done too light, it will not stand out. If not feathered right, it will appear blunt and the shading looks as if it ends abruptly. This is called â– dead-heading" and is undesirable.

Shading must be mastered because, not only does it really make a tattoo stand out, but many tattooing errors and tattoo cover-ups can be hidden and corrected by proper shading. Black shading is the next step in the tattoo process after outlining. All the black work must be done before any color can be put in.

The tattooing spectrum goes from dark to light. That is black first, then the next darkest color, etc., and the lightest colors for last. If not done in this order, the dark colors mix with thelighter ones in the pores already made from the machine and a bad smudged mess will result So, all the black work must be done first, and after the outline is finished, that means the shading is next.

Black shading can be so attractive that some tattooists use this style exclusively. They feel that a black tattoo (one done only in black ink, no color) is the only way to show a tattoo and that the addition of color only hinders the design. With some of the quality work out nowadays, especially single needle tattoos, it's not hard to appreciate this point of view. Black tattoos take on an aged "patina" with time, and after a few years, if the tattoo is retouched up with more black, a certain quality is obtained which cannot be reproduced in any other way.

The tattoo machine should have the four or six needle shader bar set-up properly with the corresponding shader tube. Let the needles stand out about 1/32 inch. The two outside needles should touch the sides just enough to eliminate any side to side motion but not enough to make them tight. Check it running and adjust so there is no side quiver (see Machine Set-Up Section for solutions). Now the artist is set-up to do the black shading. Start by washing the outline with green soap and apply another very thin coat of Vaseline over it. Dip the tip of the machine in the ink cap that was used for outlining (being refilled when need be) without letting the needle points hit

SHADING EXAMPLES

SHADING EXAMPLES

Tattoo Machine Diagram Shader

"DeadHead" shading

Good shading

Light Shading

"DeadHead" shading

Good shading

Light Shading against any side of the cap. The machine tube tip will fill up and the ink will gravity flow down the needles and enter the holes your shader needles are making in the skin and at the same time putting in the black.

Begin the tattoo by working on the portions of the design that are to be solid black. Let the machine do the work and do not press down on it. just guide the machine and move the tip in small circles, letting the needle points enter the skin where you want the black ink to go. Never try to run out of ink and try to keep the needles continuously wet with flowing ink. Don't waste dme by tattooing without ink or doing a tattoo that is bleeding excessively. Always work off the points of your needles for best results.

Learn early in your career how to put in solid black (or color) where it is needed. The tip must be kept moving in small circles, slowly covering the desired area. Wipe occasionally with tissue to keep an eye on how it is coming along. Do not over do it because the skin can only handle just so many of those small holes. Remember, all those holes have to heal later. Some people think that the deeper you go, the better the results. This notion is unfounded. If continuously grinding and pressing the machine, the skin will rip and excessive scabbing will occur which will reject ink from the body. If an area is covered way too rapidly, unshaded areas will be left and a very basic rule will be broken, and that is that a tattooist should not go back over what has already been done. Do it the first time right. The skin has to be stretched tightly and the needles should be going into the skin evenly with abouta45" angle measured between the skin and the tilt of the needle and tube

PUTTING IN

PUTTING IN

Tattoo Needle Depth For Lining

With all these small holes being made in the skin, some bleeding is quite natural and should be expected. If it is overly excessive, double check the needle depth and check the needle points. TVy a slower power on the machine. Bleeding would be called excessive when it drips down the arm or when an area is finished and the only thing that can be seen when the tattoo is wiped off is blood.

As sections of the tattoo are completed and wiped, a thin coat of Vaseline might help the situation. Occasionally, carefully wipe away the bottom of the tube tip where excess ink and Vaseline tends to accumulate. Some customers bleed a lot regardless of how well the machine is tuned Some body parts tend to bleed more than other parts due to differences in skin texture. Bleeding must be accepted and do the best possible job, wiping a lot,

To shade properly, make sure the bridge is set and stable (consult Chapter on Holding Machines) as should be always done. With the machine running, set the needles down gently in the skin along the outline. All four or six needles should be in line with skin surface at all times. No one side should be any deeper than the other side, With the machine running and the needles riding against the outline, make sure the tipofthe tube is touching the skin before starting. Right at this point, the machine is swept away from you with a flick type wrist motion This sweeping motion brings the needles up ami away from the skin.

When this happens, the needles go from full depth in the skin to gradually getting shallower and finally out of the skin at the end of the motion. Hence, when at full depth, full strength black is inserted and while the needles are swept away, the black ink gets toward the surface of the skin and creates grey tones That beautiful effect is called feathering or shading, If the shading is to be light, the sweeping motion should be quicker paced. Don't let the machine dwell on the outline for any length of time, if it is to be dark, a slower mot ion is needed, How much shading is achieved or the quality of feathering is determined by the speed of the sweep and the angle of the machine which is being "whipped11 out of the skin U does require a certain feel or touch, and many hours of practice are needed to fully acquaint oneself with the results that are desired.

You can manipulate a shader in any direction. In shading, you always work off the needles. You must control the action and location of the needles. This is done by attentive looking at what direction is being taken. Black shading can begin on any part of the tattoo, but usually it is best to start at the top ami work down, or from the side, As work progresses downward, the hand and bridge will be resting on unshaded skin and not get all inked up and bloodied.

When all the shading is done and you and the customer are completely satisfied, give the tattoo a green soap spray and gently wipe. Coat with a thin layer of Vaseline and take a short break. Thoroughly wash the black ink out of the tube and off the needles and bottom of the tube tip. Hold the tube under hot running water, this will knock out all excess ink in the tube tip. Run the machine on folded tissue until the needles hitting the tissue show only water. This must be done or any black ink left in the tube will ruin your colors. Just the force of real hot water going into the tube tip does a fine cleaning job,

Wash the tube and needles described above after each color being used so one color does not mix with the next one.

SWEEP SHADING

Wrist movement

up machine

Machine faces toward shading

Notice; angle of tube tip and direction

Back it out and lift, increasing speed up machine

Wrist movement

BRUSH SHADING

Machine faces toward shading

Upward flick motion

EXAMPLES OF SHADING

EXAMPLES OF SHADING

Japanese Shading Tattoos

Shading Tips and Tricks

- Black ink goes in much easier Than colors.

- You might have to run a shader a little faster than an outliner

- Grey shading a Japanese sky is gaining popularity. This is accomplished by havlnga cap filled with black ink diluted with distilled pure waier. The more water the weaker .he tone, creatlnga light, washed out grey effect. Another way of achieving th.s grey effect is by using undiluted black in the machine, and using distilled watei on the skin. You basically wet lhearea(usingasofl brush Jbefore you sweep across it This IS a good way on larger pieces such as the back. Practice this like in anv technique, elsewhere lo perfection before doing it on a customer

- Single needle and ouiline nealies are used to make fine hair and wispy effects. Hotting effects are also achieved by this method.

EFFECTS

- Shading or feathering also work well with some colors too, especially red and brown.

- On human figures, use brown or tan shading to show form, curves or muscle bulges. Use the natural skin tone as a highlight and shade to enhance the natural skin.

- Most of the commercial design sheets have designed shading on them. It is an individual matter to change shading by adding or subtracting to suit one's artistic tastes. This should be done anyway to put an individual stamp on each tattoo.

- Just like the outliner, the needle bar loop must be snug on the armature bar nipple. The shaft of the needle bar cannot come in contact with inside of the tube.

- When you change shader needle bars, you will see a series of grooves in the tip. File these out before putting in a new set of needles. A good tool for this is a specially designed mini file available from Spaulding & Rogers Mfg., Inc. By doing this, it doubles the life of the shader tip.

- When moving the needle bar shaft up and down manually, it should feel smooth and free. If you feel a rub, correct it. The needles may be off to one side and not parallel to the tip or not spread correctly. Another rubber band may also correct this problem. Needles may be bent slightly down to hug bottom of shader tip. Never bend the needle bar.

- You may also wish to experiment with a round shader. These are also available from your supplier and hold as many as 14 needles. In appearance they resemble an outliner with a large tip. They have advantages in that they are not prone to cutting the skin up too bad and they can put in a lot of ink at a rapid pace. You will not get the shading effect with the round shader that you will get using a flat one.

Brush Shading

This is a type of shading that is not familiar to everyone in the tattoo business as is common sweep shading. The reason is it's quite a hard technique to master and requires a lot of practice. It also takes a super running tattoo machine. The effect you can get with brush shading on a tattoo is very outstanding and puts the artist in a separate class of his own. After you have accomplished this technique, other artists not so fortunate will look up to you with envy Some will even want you to teach them how to do it. The most unique thing about brush shading is that you don't have to stand on your head or get in a bent out position to do it. You can work your shading forwards, backwards or to the side and get all the same effects with little effort. You can practice with a pencil on paper or if you want to be real technical, you can fasten a pencil to the tube on a tattoo machine. This way, you will have the weight of the machine in your hand the same as if you were actually tattooing. The technique is all in the movement of your wrist as is sweep shading, but the brush shading is done from a very slow movement to a very fast movement. As you pick up the needles from the skin, you must turn your machine sideways, moving slowly, and putting the black in solid to start with. As you want to feather out the shading, you pick up the speed of your wrist movement back and forth and at the same time, picking up on the machine while going away from the solid black area. This can be accomplished by going in a forward or reverse position but must be done fast to get the effect desired. Use a low-power on your machine, and if you must go over it again, be very careful because you can get too much black into it and ruin the effect of the whole tattoo. Refer to diagrams.

Tattoo Shading Techniques

Tattoo Shading Techniques

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.

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Responses

  • robel girmay
    How to get the best result on outlining A TATTOO?
    6 years ago
  • Semira
    Do you have to bend the needle bar when tattooing?
    6 years ago
  • SEMRET
    How to set needle depth for liner?
    6 years ago
  • Peter
    How do you set the depth of a tattoo needle?
    6 years ago
  • isembold
    Do you move in small circles when shading a tattoo?
    5 years ago
  • CARADOC
    How to set needle depth when tattooing?
    4 years ago
  • semere
    How is shadowing of a tattoo done?
    4 years ago
  • learco
    How many inch needle for shading tattoo?
    3 years ago
  • hayley
    When shading a tattoo do you press down on the skin?
    3 years ago
  • Bildad
    Which machine do you use with round shaders when tattooing?
    3 years ago
  • Elisa
    Is it possible to shade with single needle tattoo?
    2 years ago
  • Marcus
    Why different depths for needles when shading?
    2 years ago
  • tiina
    Can you use vaseline when lining a tattoo?
    2 years ago
  • pearl
    What needle to use for Japanese shading?
    2 years ago
  • Ubaldo
    Which needle is best for lining and shading a tattoo?
    2 years ago
  • tesmi
    How to use shading brush tattoo needl?
    2 years ago
  • Tara
    What angle do you go into the skin when shading a tattoo?
    2 years ago
  • omero
    How much do you bend a needle before shading a tattoo?
    2 years ago
  • juha
    How to make a tattoo machine with flowing ink?
    2 years ago
  • Ferdinanda
    What angle should tattoo needle enter skin?
    2 years ago
  • Glen
    How to set tatto needles shading?
    2 years ago
  • earl
    What is the common shading for tattos?
    2 years ago
  • joyce
    How to fill colour in tattoo by single needle?
    2 years ago
  • Dirk Wei
    How much depth are you supposed to go when tattooing?
    2 years ago
  • lempi
    What needle to use for solid black tattoos?
    2 years ago
  • elisabetta
    How to set your shading needle to dark shade?
    2 years ago
  • Maureen Click
    How deep for liner and shader tattoo?
    2 years ago
  • EMILIA
    How to shade tattoos to make depth?
    2 years ago
  • jimmy
    How deep is a tattoo for shading?
    2 years ago
  • yonatan
    How many cirlcles to an inch in shading tattoo?
    2 years ago
  • dimitri
    What is the most accurate tattoo needle depth?
    2 years ago
  • milly
    What are the tattoo machines called that can be set for lining or shading?
    2 years ago
  • garrett
    Why tattooist press vaseline into tattoo during process?
    2 years ago
  • Caradoc
    What tattoo needles to use for blacking out?
    2 years ago
  • orlando
    How to shadow a outline tattoo design step by step?
    2 years ago
  • neil
    Does using round shaders heal bad?
    2 years ago
  • harry vaara
    What tattoo needle is used for coloring and at what depth?
    2 years ago
  • Keith Hernandez
    How to achieve shadowing on tattoos?
    2 years ago
  • prima
    How to do amazing shading its tattoo machine?
    2 years ago
  • melba headstrong
    What is used suitable for shadowing a tattoo?
    2 years ago
  • Abaalom
    How to shade a tattoo with a round shader?
    2 years ago
  • prima
    How to put a outline of a tattoo on the skin?
    2 years ago
  • felice
    How to make tattoo ink spread evenly?
    2 years ago
  • MAURA
    How to give a tattoo depth?
    2 years ago
  • madihah
    How to improve tattoo needle depth?
    2 years ago
  • lorenzo buccho
    How many tattoo machines should i set up for portrait?
    2 years ago
  • giacomo
    How do you shut up your shading needle?
    2 years ago
  • tekle
    How to have a successful tattoo business?
    2 years ago
  • martina
    How should my hand move when shading with a tattoo machine?
    2 years ago
  • helj jantunen
    How to shade solid black with a 7 flat needle hand movement with pictures?
    2 years ago
  • omar
    How to learn tatoo depth?
    1 year ago
  • vanna
    Which needal i use to for shad a tattoo?
    1 year ago
  • Sergio
    How many needles do you use when you shadow a tattoo?
    1 year ago
  • catone
    What is vaseline used for when tattooing?
    1 year ago
  • Berhane
    How accurate is tattoo practice skin?
    1 year ago
  • tom burrows
    Which needle is good for tattooing photos?
    1 year ago
  • Marcel
    How to practice proper depth for tattooing?
    1 year ago
  • aarne
    How to depth in the skin tattoo needle?
    1 year ago
  • Alfredo Calabrese
    How to make dark colours light when u r using tattoo machine for shading?
    1 year ago
  • Antje
    How to learn tattoo shadows?
    1 year ago
  • charlene
    How to put a small skull while shading a tattoo?
    1 year ago
  • Amilcare
    How to improve on you tattooing shading skills and?
    1 year ago
  • Ercole
    How they make a tattoo machine sample?
    1 year ago
  • abramo
    How long does it take for a portrait tattoo shading on the face to go lighter?
    1 year ago
  • meaza
    How To Make Tatto Shadow By Modefik Mation?
    1 year ago
  • sirkka
    Can you shade one needle circle motion?
    1 year ago
  • gerda
    What single needle is best for shading in tattooing?
    1 year ago
  • Bellisima
    How to get better results for a partrait tattoo?
    1 year ago
  • ralf
    How to shader solid black tattoo?
    1 year ago
  • eetu
    What type of tattoo shows motion at different angles?
    1 year ago
  • felix
    What kind of motion do you use to shade with round shader?
    1 year ago
  • jaakko laurila
    How much ink required to make portrait tattoo?
    12 months ago
  • idris osman
    When tattooing black shading bleeding but no color staying in?
    11 months ago
  • Aili
    How to create shader tattoo?
    11 months ago
  • bernd
    Which angle is correct to fill black ink?
    10 months ago
  • uffo
    What neddle to use to shade tatoo?
    10 months ago
  • aaron
    How to shade with linear needle?
    9 months ago
  • FIORI
    How to do a feather tattoo shading?
    7 months ago
  • THEODORE
    How to shade a tatoo on the skin?
    7 months ago
  • ursula
    How to improve tattoo shading skills?
    7 months ago
  • adamo
    How should you position a needle for better tattoo drawing?
    7 months ago
  • ferdinand took
    How to make tattoo shadow?
    7 months ago
  • mauno
    How much dept a tattoo for shading?
    7 months ago
  • bethan
    HOW TO MAKE TATTOO NEEDLE HOLE?
    6 months ago
  • porro
    How to shade a feather tattoo?
    6 months ago
  • ROBERT
    How to setup tattoo needles for shading?
    4 months ago
  • nora fairbairn
    How do i make tatoo ink with tissue and vasaline?
    4 months ago
  • craig
    How to be great tattoo shader?
    3 months ago
  • Marina
    How to use a round shader needle?
    3 months ago
  • Rita Colombo
    How to type tattoo shading needles?
    2 months ago
  • Tony
    How many nidel to use for shadow tattoo?
    2 months ago
  • Patrick Wallace
    How tomake shadow tatto?
    1 month ago
  • anke scholz
    Which needle used in portrait shading tattoo?
    15 days ago
  • furuta
    How to use round shadee?
    12 days ago
  • kari
    How to fill full tattoo with single needle?
    6 days ago

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