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Shading Techniques for a Color Tattoo

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Monday 18 November, 2013 Written by tattoodiy

The ability to do good shading is a skill that can really make a difference in the quality of a tattoo.
There are multiple ways to get a shading effect on your artwork.  The perfect approach for one artist may not give the desired results to another.  It’s a good idea to learn a variety of techniques and then choose the one that is best for a given situation.
It’s a good idea to research the tattoo process and learn as much as possible about tatto shading techniques. There are many available resources, including tattoo books, websites and online vide tutorials.Tattoo shading can be added to either “black and gray” or colored tattoo designs.
These are the basic steps used for tattoo shading with a tattoo machine.
1. Dip the needle into the black or colored ink. If a lighter shade is desired for a particular area of shading, then the needles should next be dipped in sterile water.  A 50/50 blend of black ink and water will create a medium gray wash. More water should be used to create lighter shades of gray or color.  Some tattoo artists prefer to create washes ahead of time by mixing ink and water to create the desired wash.  There are also tattoo artists who prefer to use witch hazel or some other substance instead of sterile water to dilute the pigment.

2. To create consistent tattoo shading, the needles on the tattoo machine should be tilted and moved across the skin like a paintbrush. For darker shading, the needles are moved more slowly.  For lighter shading, they should be moved more quickly.  Many tattoo artists cover the skin with a lubricant before applying the ink to help the needle move smoothly across the area being shaded.

3. Needle depth should be adjusted according to the type of shading that’s being done. Darker shading should be injected with more depth and lighter shading with less.

4. Before dipping the needles into more ink, the area of the tattoo that was just completed is wiped clean of excess ink. This lets the tattoo artist see the finished effect before moving on to the next area to be shaded.  Additional shading can be applied in the same area if a darker effect is wanted.

5. Many tattoo artists use white ink to add highlights to a shaded tattoo. White ink can also be used to smooth out the transitions between shaded areas.

While these are the basic steps for tattoo shading, there is room for variation in each step.  Most expert tattoo artists have an individual set of preferences and tricks of the trade for creating different shading effects.  The only way to get a feel for what can be accomplished is through practice and experience

Mastering the art of tattoo shading is one of the biggest challenges for a tattoo artist. A high degree of skill in tattoo shading is one of the things that sets a tattoo artist apart and establishes his or her reputation.  Tattoo shading is a skill worth learning, since it separates a simple inked design from a real masterpiece of body art.

Tattoo artists spend years perfecting their shading skills in order to make their designs really stand out. Are you learning how to do shading for color tattoos? If so this video is for you. Check out the excellent technique displayed in this video,there are some basics that every tattoo artist should learn early on.

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