How do I shade a tattoo?


Quick Answer

The first step in properly shading a tattoo is to choose an ideal needle size as well as adjusting it inside the tattoo gun. The shading begins and is performed by applying pressure to the skin and working in a circular motion. Remove any excess ink after this step and examine the tattoo to determine if any further work needs to be done.

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Full Answer

  1. Choose an ideal needle

    Choose an ideal size for the needle based on the shading that is being performed. Larger gauge needles need to be reserved for larger shade areas and smaller gauge needles for the smaller shades. The needle also needs to be adjusted in the gun to protrude approximately 0.5 millimeters to 1 millimeter at most.

  2. Work in circular motion

    The actual shading is performed in a circular motion starting from the darkest areas of the piece and working to the lighter areas. Pressure is applied accordingly, so darker areas require more pressure.

  3. Examine the piece

    Remove all unnecessary ink left on the surface of the skin. Step back to examine the tattoo from a distance; this will reveal any inconsistencies in the artwork. Alter the shading as needed according to the individual receiving the tattoo.

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