Best Tips for Tattoo Color Shading

Posted by Dragon Tattoo on

There is a demand for high quality, artistic "alive" tattoos. People are wanting them, and as an artist, perfecting color shading is going to widen your client base. It's also going to allow you much more range to express your own unique abilities and that may mean a little more money in your pocket. It can take years of practice to perfect the penultimate shading technique and the best approach will vary from artist to artist, so it's a good idea to learn and try several techniques until you find what works best for you. Here are some tips on how to do the best tattoo color shading for you to consider:

*Speed - Run your machine on a higher speed than you typically use for outlining.
*Needle Depth - Adjust the needle depth according to what type of shading you're working on. Lighter shade effects will require less needle depth than the darker ones.
*Shading Before Coloring - Application of inks go from darkest to lightest. The shading step is after outlining. Use varying washes of black or the color of your choice to lay the foundation you'll work from. It can help with keeping the darker ink from affecting the lighter, but you'll have to plan your design ahead a bit.
*Shader Bars - Shader bars allow you to cover more space when shading. The needles are positioned in a row allowing you to cover more area efficiently than with a round liner.
*Creating Consistency - Tilt the needle and move it across the skin with a paintbrush-like motion. The more quickly you move, the lighter the shading will be, and conversely move more slowly for darker effects. Sometimes lubricating the skin beforehand will help your needle move more smoothly.
*Using White - White ink can be used to add highlighted areas and to smooth out the transition between shaded areas.
*Study - This is, of course, done away from the station, but take some time to really study the play of light and shadow on different objects. This will help you clearly visualize your finished work and may help to make it a little more automatic.

These are some suggestions. You may want to experiment a little to see which techniques work particularly best for you. Building depth is what makes a tattoo come to life. It's also a good way to cover mistakes or freshen up an old tattoo. Mastering color shading is what's going to propel your work into masterpiece range. 

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