Beginner Tattooing - Lining and Shading

Posted by Dragon Tattoo on

If you are considering becoming a recognized tattoo artist, you will need to learn different styles and techniques in the art. Topping the list is a clear understanding of basic skills in tattooing. You can build on these as your abilities and confidence grow.

With a proper training and an apprenticeship, you will develop skills in all of these areas. You will also learn and adapt all kinds of fascinating techniques that others are using to make their art stand out and to make their customers happy.

You need to learn both lining and shading techniques because most tattoos cannot be created without both a liner needle and a shading needle. Depending on what type of tattoo is being created, flat and round needles are available for both lining and shading. One of the hardest techniques to learn in tattooing is shading. Perfecting the use of a liner needle isn’t easy either, but perfecting both techniques will certainly pay off at the end.

Lining is considered to be the basic skill in tattooing but that doesn’t mean it’s less important. Lines are necessary for creating a smooth and professional tattoo. The technique of lining gives important definition to the design. Like the outline in a coloring book, lining does not always need to be only done with black ink. Using color with your round liner to define a particular area of a design is also done.


When it comes to tattooing and techniques, shading is one of the things that can really make a tattoo artist. A tattoo artist that has mastered the technique of shading is able to create images that have depth and are interesting to look at. Shading is most often done with black ink. There are also different techniques you can use to create darker or lighter shadows. It is recommended to start with heavier pressure at the beginning of a stroke. You can do this by lightening your touch as you lift the needle off the skin at the end of the stroke.

Other methods for creating lighter shade exist too. Some artists choose to add more water or other fluid to their black while others add white to black to make a custom gray. Shades are important but the artist’s understanding of how light falls and how to translate that into a tattoo is even more important.


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