Tattooing has been a cultural tradition for centuries and in modern times, has become a contemporary art form. There are many different techniques used by tattoo artists worldwide, and there are proper ways to shade tattoo designs.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- A tattoo machine
- Sterile needles
- Sterile water
- Desired colours of ink
- Damp cloth
Dip the tattoo needle in the ink. The type of design you are creating will determine what colour or colours to use. If you are trying to achieve a vibrant shade or dark black shading, apply the non-diluted ink to the skin. For lighter and more subdued shades, lightly dip your needle in sterile water or witch hazel to minimise colouring.
Hold the needle at a sideways tilt. For neat and accurate shading, the tattoo gun needles should be moved across the skin as if you were painting. The darker the colour desired, the slower the needle should be moved. For lighter-coloured shading, move the needle faster.
Adjust the depth and pressure of your needle. The tattoo needle must be applied with pressure levels corresponding to the desired effect. Darker shading requires slightly deeper penetration, while lighter shading calls for a lighter amount of pressing.
Clean off the flesh before re-dipping your needle. When shading tattoos, a considerable amount of excess ink will be left at the surface of the skin. In order to clearly see your outlines, be sure to wipe the skin with a damp cloth periodically throughout the tattooing process, and before each time you dip the needle in fresh ink.
Add white ink to create highlighting effects. Adding a small amount of white ink to other tattoo colours can help to bring out the shading effects of the artwork. A small amount of white ink to black shading may add grey effects; adding it to coloured shading may brighten or lighten the artistic effect.
Tips and warnings
- Holding the skin taught and stretching it slightly helps in creating neater and cleaner lines and shading. Always use clean sterile needles and equipment and provide a sanitary work area.
- Never re-use needles or tattooing equipment without exercising proper sterilisation procedures.
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