Advanced Tattooing Techniques

Tattoo Shading The Black & Grey Wash Style Guide

Black & Grey Wash Tattoos is a helpful guide for tattoo enthusiasts that teach them how to perform tattoo shading in demand style. This program will focus on answering some common questions relating to tattoo, how to do proper shading and ink mixing, the kind of needness learners should use, etc. The tips and guidelines given are well written and explained in a simple yet informative manner. Knowing The Grey Wash Technique Can Make You A Lot More Money! Discover insider tips it takes to know how to perform this in demand style. For instance how to do proper shading, ink mixing, what kind of needles you should use and much more. This one of a kind guide is an interview with a top professional tattoo artist that reveals some of the most common questions asked from aspiring tattoo artists. With this guide you'll discover how: Common questions about tattooing shading. Gives you the confidence for giving this style a try. Read more...

Tattoo Shading The Black & Grey Wash Style Guide Summary


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Author: Timothy Miller
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Grey Wash and Color Shading Basics

To understand the technical side of shading, you must understand that shading with a tattoo machine is a combination of times gone over, dilution of pigment, the speed you follow through with, and depth. Think of the skin depth the same way you would a light and dark line, in percentages. Unlike with a pencil where you get a darker line by pushing hard, tattoo pigment is as dark as it's going to get. If you push harder you will dig and scar the skin. Instead, we get lighter by diluting the pigment with water, witch hazel, or distilled water. The act of diluting the pigment to get a lighter affect is called washing. When you hear someone say I got a grey wash tattoo that means that the artist used only black and washed out the pigment to shade the image. There are two main methods of washing pigment, this would be pre mixing wash, and on the spot washing. To have an affective wash you need at least four main pigment densities. This includes solid black, dark wash, medium wash and light...

Advanced Tattoo Technique

Color Blending Tattoo

There is nothing better than taking a talent and honing it into something better then you ever thought you could. In this section I want to cover a few advanced techniques to better help you become a true artist. The problem is never seeing it inside your head, just putting it on skin. One of the best ways to improve your skill is to set up in your color work. Custom colors will defiantly make your mark in the tattoo field. Tattoo pigments mix very well together. Play with different color combinations to get some unique colors. Color blending is another technique that will bring your art to life. Currently there are about sixteen million color hues that the human eye can see, use them all. Take a plain old kanji (Japanese calligraphy) for example. Not every thing you do has to be solid black. One of my more popular color combinations is magenta and dark purple. You fill the kanji in with the magenta then wash the purple starting with the bottom as the dark line and Grey Washed Color...

Solid Color and Black

Solid color will be the exact same process. You should have one cup of water per color. When you change colors dip and run the machine in the cup of water up to the washout. Hold it running under the water until most of the pigment comes out. You may have to wipe the tube and needle off with your paper towel to clean it off all of the way. Tattoo pigments mix, so if you don't wash out all of the blue and dip in the yellow, you will tattoo green. This is also why the pigments should be set up in the order of darkest to lightest. If your tattooing a gnome with a blue hat and a yellow vest then you will want to fill in the bulk of the blue using small circles, then do the blue edge work to smooth it out. Next you would rinse out the machine and apply the yellow in the same way. Blue is darker and thicker pigment than Yellow. If you tattoo yellow first, then the blue will soak in the opened skin and dye the yellow to green permanently. Red will turn yellow to orange, and red will also...

What Springs Do I Use For A Tattoo Liner

Ball System Chart For Tattooing

The term Ball system is used in reference to the appearance of the needle bar nub to look like a bouncing ball, when seen from the front and the machine is operating (p. 59). We are using the distance from the centers of these moving balls as general guide lines for stroke distances and how they apply to each machine use. These are our recommendation. A machine used as a liner should have these balls bounce closer together than a shader would, and closer than a machine used to line with larger needle groupings. This is because the needles will hit the skin at closer proximity, (this is important) so that while moving the hand quickly to line, the line is consistant and solid. No matter the distance the balls travel, these should never get closer to eachother when the power supply is running at lower setting for smooth gray shading or when the power supply is turned to a higher setting for color and lining with larger groupings. The armature bar will reach a maximum stroke when the...

Bugpin Needles For Tattoo Advantages

Tattooing With Flat Needles

The standard sizes for needle groupings are rounds, flats, stacked mags and standard mags that are also known as weaved mags. With rounds the individual needles are soldered together in a round shape, this makes a smooth line, and is also fair to shade with larger rounds such as a 14 round. Flats are soldered one beside the other in a flat pattern. This is strictly a shading tool. It also requires some practice. If you go to slow or at the wrong angle you may just cut the client like an electric scalpel instead of tattooing them. Mags are some of my favorite configurations. They are oscillating needles. This means that if you stack up four soda cans on a bottom row and then three on the top like your making a pyramid, this is the shape they are in. they only come in two rows but get very large. They are the best for coloring and grey shading in my opinion. The difference between a weaved mag and a stacked mag is that a mag is soldered with all of the needles flat then using a single...

Tattoo Aftercare and the Healing process

The first thing I want you to put on your tattoo is pure acetone and used engine oil. What, you don't like the sound of that That's what everyone has been doing for years. Maybe not those chemicals but they have been putting crap that pulls out the pigment causing fading, and seals bacteria in the skin, and you as an artist tell people to do this every day. Lets use our heads here a little. Tattoo pigments are a chemical housed in a carrier solution. For the exact nature look back at the pigment section, but the most used carrier solution is water, and glycerin. Tattoo artist are telling people to put chemicals like A+D Ointment , Neosporin Bacitracion, Vasoline , Petroleum Jelly, Triple Anti-Biotic Ointment , and Other chemicals like brand name Tattoo Goo . Every one of these chemicals are oil based. Have you ever mixed oil and water They don't mix. The oil base in these chemicals pull out the pigment of your tattoo. You say I've used that for years and mine are fine. , then good for...

Chapter Seventeen Coloring

If the area that is to be a solid color has skin showing through, (it is not solid, but is sketchy looking and has pockets of skin that aren't colored) something must be done to correct this problem. The easiest solution is that the tattooing circles are not small enough. Make littler circles, cover a smaller area and slow down a hit. Another reason is that the needles are not in contact with the skin at all times. This means that in all the tattooing excitement, the machine is not kept steady and the needles are being lifted up off the skin in some areas. This doesn't mean to press harder, but to just keep the needles in the skin. Let the machine sink the needles, you keep the machine in line. Another reason for open pockets in the coloring is that the color itself was not properly mixed. Be sure to shake the bottles of ink good before using. This will maintain an even color value within the bottle. Stick to the small flowing circles, letting the machine take care of the tattooing...

Is It Ok To Mix Baby Oil With Tattoo

What makes a tattoo tick Let's look at pigments. Tattoo pigments use to be made from natural chemical and dies. A lot of the older inks were harmful to humans, but we used them anyway. The pigments changed over the last few years into healthier chemicals made for human skin. To understand where pigments are now we have to know where they came from first. Jail house black was the ink that you see in all the old prison tattoos, the ones that turned green over the years. A lot of guys I know still swear by it but they are mostly scratchers. In prison you have very limited supplies from the outside world so they had to use what they could get their hands on. Vasoline was always on hand. The old way of making black was the prisoner would take a piece of cloth or string and push it in the middle of the vasoline jar, making a kind of candle. Then they would light the candle and let it burn for days. This cooked the vasoline into a black sludge. After a few days they would scrape off as much...

Rules for Mixing and Blending Colors

Any color can be blended with the color next to it on the rainbow Different color values of the same color can be blended also. In between the two colors will be a zone with the two colors being mixed together. This is where the two colon meet and blend. For example, let's color in a leaf. The outline for the leaf is done and it has black shading by the stem. The darkest color is done the black and black shading) and now some green must be added. It will go from black shading by the stem to a dark green, fading to a light green, and then a little vellow on the very edge- It's all right to color over shading as the black shading will show through. Wash out the machine and needles very good (prescribed elsewhere) and tattoo in the dark green around the shading, right over the shading and feather it ou toward the edge. Leave space for the other green Wash out the machine and tattoo in the light green. Color in slightly over the dark green and color in the leaf almost to the edges, maybe...

The Science of Tattoos

Early tattooing techniques seem quite barbaric by today's standards. South American tribes scratched or pricked at the skin and then smeared it with dye or dirt. The Inuit punctured the skin and passed a needle covered in soot through the open wounds. The Maoris pierced the skin with a tool used for cutting bone and then smeared ash and other dyes over the cuts. Today traditional Japanese tattoos are still created by manually puncturing the skin and wiping the wounds with dye. Fortunately, tattooing techniques have become much more sophisticated thanks to O'Reilly's electrically powered tattoo machine.

Lining and Shading

Fruit And Vegetable Tattoos Pictures

I tell my students to practice on a spaghetti squash and a banana. The banana will fell just like human skin down to the damage over working causes, this way you can get use to the cutting sensation. As you tattoo human skin you will feel a very slight vibration from the resistance of the needle touching the skin. After time you will get to know what feels right and what doesn't. The best way I can explain this is that when done properly, lining feels smooth. It just feels right. When too light, lining feels squirrelly and unstable, and when lining too hard, you fell like your machine is choppy or running roughly. The banana will help you find this, and the skin on a banana is about as thick as human skin so you can better prepare for the proper depth of the needle work. The spaghetti squash feels nothing like tattooing human skin, but it does take pigment the same. You can use spaghetti squash to practice shading, grey wash, and even mag work. It blends...


Tattoo Bold Lining

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...

Machine Tuning

Setup Machine Tattoo With Nickel

To set a machine up for lining you want to adjust the front binding post all the way down, as far from the top of the frame arm as possible. Make sure to pivot the contact screw tip to the dead center of the tube vice unless you choose to use a cutback. For a liner, if the machine is sitting on the yoke and you are looking at the frame side, the contact screw will be at about six o'clock, where a shader will be about four o'clock. Some machines are made specifically to accommodate these angles, and some are universal. If your front spring isn't touching the contact screw just right then loosen it and move it up till it fully touches the screw tip. To properly tune your machine you

Tattoo Sterilization

Autoclave uses heat and pressure while on a timer. Most hospitals have a six week course to learn how to properly use one of these while tattoo shops are only required to read the instructions. You have to pre-clean the tube making sure that all biological matter is gone, and know how to properly run the autoclave before you have sterilization. This means that you have to trust someone that works in a tattoo shop with your life. I just don't see this happening. There are new advancements to the industry everyday. For the last few years they have made a disposable tube that's plastic. It comes pre-sterilized and pre-packaged. You open it, you use it, and you throw it away. Not only is it safer, but you don't have to waste hours a week cleaning tubes. Most artists bitch and say they can't use them, or it doesn't feel the same. I have used hundreds of them honest, they work just fine. Although metal tubes do seem to be a little better for grey wash. They are not as heavy so your hand...


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 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. 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...

Setting Tubes

Difficult Pictures Color

When using an eye loupe to check for correct needle motion, it is also a goixl time to check the needle tips for bad points. (See Section on needles.) This should be a habitual thing because this entire procedure has to be performed before each and every tattoo on both the outliner and the shader. If you tattoo with a side wobble, the needles will rip up the skin pretty badly, tearing it and doing damage that will make insertion of the ink difficult, and while it's healing, scabbing and loss of color will result. With experience, this total operation lakes only about two minutes anil it will save a lot of time and aggravation later when putting color in and when it's healing.


Tattoo Machines - At least three are needed, later building up to as many as ten. Some are exclusively for shading, others just for lining. Put your personal marks on each machine so as to always put liner tubes on lining machines and shader tubes on shading machines. Tattoo Parts - An assortment of parts for any repairs. Tubes - Extra tubes for machine, stainless steel. Needle Bars - Liners and shaders. You will need many of both. Preshaped at supply Three Glass or Stainless TYays (With Sealing Tops) - One tray containing liner and needle bars. (I s point one way - 3's point the other way). One tray containing shader needle bars - (4 s point one way, 6 s point the other way). One tray containing shader and liner needle tubes (shaders point one way. liners the other way). Glass Quart Jar - One filled with sterile ink caps.

Marking Bar Amd Coil

Tattoo Coil Core Washers

On liner tips there will be one groove. On shader tips there will be several separate grooves, like railroad tracks. On the round tips, usea round Swiss needle file to smooth it back out. On flat shader tips and your one needle liner tip, use a square Swiss needle file. If you have to file a tip to get it to stop splattering, be sure to clean it out good with a brush. Sterilize it before you use it again

Dipping into the ink

Other needle types could be 6 needles soldered in a row, flat, this is called a flat 6, commonly used as a shader. There are many variations on needles including singles tight and semi-tight 3,4,5s flat 3,4,5,6,7 up to 14, magnum 5,6,7-15, floppy 8s, round shaders, etc. Refer to making needles for more information. Check the contact points to ensure they are in good condition. Pitted or worn contacts should be replaced. If you are using this gun as a liner, set the contacts approximately the width of a dime apart (width of a nickel for a shader), and tighten the screw, which holds the contact screw in place.

Single Needle Group

Making Tattoo Needle Jig

Let's move on to shaders, It may sound strange, but one of the most useful tools for Constructing shader needle groups is a rectangular hone. Measuring alwut 1 x 3 * L1 inches, they a re in ex pensive and can be purchased from your Latu., suppllerwhoalsu has a shader needle kit available A leveller can be made from plastic, plexiglass or glass and measure about one square inch. These two Items art- used in conjunction with each other. In making the sis needle shader. first select six good needles and double check them with an eye loupe. Lay them Hat on the stone bunched tightly together, hut tlat. one next to the other. The sharp points should extend ahout i, inch off the end of the stone. While still holding tight the needles on the stone with the thumb, take the leveller and very carefully push theneedles in slightly. Make sure you touch all six. This ensures that all six arc in alignment with each other This ts important so none of the needles are sticking out more than the rest....

Tape wrapped coil

If points don't meet to make a perfect contact, you can move side-arm in or out and on most machines fore or aft a bit - be sure the base is tightly gripped in vice when doing this. The significance of this is that shading machines perform better with longer fore and aft springs - even of an inch can make a remarkable difference.

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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