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How To Color A Tattoo

For tattoo artists, learning how to color a tattoo takes some good amount of time and practice. The process of shading a tattoo can be a bit complex. Hence one needs to have extensive knowledge on how to actually shade a tattoo. If not done well, the result would be a messy and unaesthetic tattoo or even, to make matters worse, a damaged skin which forms a scab that would take forever to heal.Experts in tattooing typically advice upcoming artists to take their time to learn the art of shading. One of the ways suggested is to draw an image on a piece of paper using a pencil so as to learn how to shade drawings. Also, one can practice the art using a piece of pig skin which equally resembles the human skin.

Why should you color a tattoo?

# Shading your tattoo enhances the look of your tattoo. You can consider your client’s need before you begin tattooing him or her.

# While drawing the tattoo’s outlines, one can make mistakes. Thus, shading helps eliminate unwanted areas by filling them with a solid color.

How do your prepare for a shading session

Many experts suggest to artists to separate the outlining session to the coloring session.The artist requires the client to come back within two to four weeks after the outlining session. However, with some, they usually let the skin dry up for about 15 minutes or so, then the shading process begins.
Get to know what colors your client would want. As the customer decides, you can take that time to prepare the inks in time for the coloring session. Some artists, however, prepare the colors as they shade. For instance, if you want to create a gray color, you simply dip the black ink in sterile water depending on how much darkness or lightness you require. Wash the needles thoroughly as you use it in between colors. If you do not do so, the result will end up with a muddled tattoo.
While cleaning needles ensure that you use hot water to drain leftover ink in the machine’s tube. Wipe water in a backward motion to ensure you do not leave any of the tissue paper residues behind.

How do you color the tattoo

Before you begin the coloring process wash the skin with water and soap. Cleaning the skin will remove residues of ink, skin, grease, and dirt on the skin. Also, it will make the shading process easier. Then apply some lubricants on the skin.

Pick the right needle for shading. If the area you want to shade is small, then use a needle with a small gauge. Use a larger gauge for a larger area as well. For a more darker solid color, move the needle slower and for a lighter color move swiftly. Wipe off the excess ink on the applied surface to check the result.

However, caution should be taken while shading. Do not press the needle against the skin as you do not want to damage the skin. But ensure that the whole needle lies on the skin as you color.

Move your tattooing machine in the area in circular overlapping movements. Do not stick at one point for long to prevent skin damaging. Keep the needle in movement while on the skin.


When shading, start doing so with the lighter colors first then finish with the darker colors. For instance, yellow, purple, red and so on. White can be used to highlight different parts of the tattoo to show the transition between colors. Remember to keep your needle clean at all times for better results.

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