How to shade with a rotary tattoo machine

How to shade with a rotary tattoo machine
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Proper and perfect shading can make a perfect and brilliant tattoo but if your shading is not perfect then your tattoo will look dull. That’s why it’s essential that tattoo designer should be masters of tattoo shading and make the tattoo designs come alive. If you don’t know how to shade with a rotary tattoo machine that makes your tattoo design perfect, then this post is only for you. Because after reading this complete post, you will be to shade perfectly with a rotary tattoo machine. Shading not only made your tattoo beautiful or look more 3D. It also covers your all mistakes during the tattoo design in the process of outlining. 

If you are you are new in this field after reading this post you will be an expert in tattoo shading because this is the right post for tattoo lovers. In the following details, we’ll talk about some basic and important techniques for making a shade for tattoo design. So, without wasting your time, let’s start to learn how to shade with a rotary tattoo machine. 

Practice of Shading

Maybe you thought just after reading this post you will be able to make good shade on your tattoo. But it’s not true everyone knows that practice makes a man perfect. When you repeat the process again and again you will be an expert in shading tattoos due to this practice. After reading this post you will know how to shade. But for perfection, you need to work on daily practice. After the practice of tattoo shading on different mediums other than your client’s skin, you will be able to make a perfect and accurate shade on your client’s body. So, here are a few methods that will help you practice the art of shading on tattoos without any loss or harmful consequences. 

Practice on a paper 

As we talk about practice practicing on paper with a pencil is a very common and popular method of many experts. The tattoo experts suggest the practice of shading on white paper with a pencil. Draw some designs on white paper with a pencil and start shading this design. Do this daily and practice this work repeatedly because practice always makes the man perfect. 

Learn Shading with online art classes 

As you find the posts or articles on google that how to create shade on tattoo designs. Same like this, you can find online tutorials or classes of arts. In this way, you will learn how to shade and how to practice this work for perfection. These classes are arranged by senior and expert tattoo designers. You can easily find online classes moreover you can also find different courses which define how to shade the tattoo. 

These courses and types of arts are especially for the purpose of understanding the whole process of making shading. No doubt the majority of trainers provide complete information about tattoo design or shading, but they also charge a payment or high budget. But if you don’t have enough budget or have a very low budget then you need to search through Facebook, Youtube, etc. There are many videos about shading on these platforms. You can increase your experience after repeating all the processes again and again.

Practice on synthetic body

One of the best ways of practicing more efficiently of your tattoo shading is that they try to utilize the designs on synthetic body or skin which you prepare on white paper. This practice will give you the realistic sensation of tattoo shade on actual skin. For this practice, you need to have a real tattoo gun and fake skin. Your fake skin or synthetic body parts of humans you can buy from amazon. You can also buy a pork belly for cheaper and pork belly is almost similar to human skin and it gives the actual sensation of human skin. The pork belly is also affordable rather than fake skin. 

Speed and needle type 

To the difference between a good design of a tattoo or bad tattoo shading, you need to know about speed and needle type. If you want to shade perfectly on your tattoo then you should know the right speed, right needle, and the effect you’re going for. If you know about these steps then your design will definitely be perfect. It is very necessary to know about all the types of needles which needle will for which type of shade what speed should be with different needles. The speed directly affects shades for a lighter or darker shade, if you know very well about the speed then you will achieve certain shading effects that you want. After knowing the right needle and right speed you need to make daily practice for good results. 

Techniques ( How to shade with a rotary tattoo machine ) 

How to shade with a rotary tattoo machine

Considering that you’re new in the business of tattoo designs or you’re learning about tattoo shading, we’ve shared the most useful tattoo shading techniques. The professionals and experts use this technique during tattoo design and shading. Here are some main tattoo shading techniques, after reading these techniques you will be able to shade perfectly of your tattoo but remember this practice is the main key. For completer perfection, you need to practice your shading techniques on daily basis. 

Appropriate tattoo machine 

Use the machine which is appropriate to the tattoo and which is made for shading. After practicing on the paper choose the right needle type and size that actually fit and is appropriate for your tattoo shading. After that adjust the speed of the power supply and voltage. For Shading tattoos, experts and professional tattoo artists recommend a lower speed. 

Brush Shading 

Portrait tattoo designers mostly use this technique in their designs, but this is also for those who require blending. A long taper needle is good for this technique, which helps you move like a pendulum, backside and forth after that apply ink at an angle. When more ink is distributed on the skin the shade will be darker gradually. When you shade the tattoo, the tattoo machine will remain in one place but the needle will move back and forth.

The time between lining and shading  

Some tattoo artists start shading instantly after making the line of the tattoo but most of the artists start shading after 15 minutes of tattoo lining. They separate the time of shading and lining. They do lining first then wait for a minimum of 15 minutes for shading and after that, they start shading. This technique will not only make your work easy and simple but it will provide the chance for the customer for thinking about their shading that how they want their shading on their tattoo. 

Whip Shading 

Whip shading is one of the main points of this question that how to shade with a rotary tattoo machine. For whip shading, you need a 3-round liner needle. This shading technique is used for a bunch of different types of tattoo styles. This technique is perfect for sketches and flowers because this technique provides effects like a pencil drawing. If you want to get whip shading then you need to make a very fast, curve movement for releasing the pressure of the needle when its motion reaches the end. Because of this pigment will be released more and the tip will be lighter. 

Work with the machine in a circular motion 

When you start the shading then first start the center of the area of tattoo lining and then move outward means work in a circular motion. For making a good feeling you need to make good practice so remember that the dark areas of the tattoo require more pressure than the lighter areas and this will make the design perfect. 

Remove unnecessary ink 

During the design, if you see unnecessary ink on the surface area of the skin you need to clean it with the work. During shading the tattoo you need to examine your work and notice the areas where you feel the excess ink. If you don’t remove the excess amount of ink from the tattoo then your design may look ugly. So you need to remove any extra ink from the tattoo during the design and after completing the tattoo design. 

Stipple shading method 

When we talk about how to shade with a rotary tattoo machine then stipple shading is also one of the most common techniques. This shading technique is used for dotted lines for different types of tattoos, of course. For this technique, you will need a 3-round liner needle-like whip shading. If you want the difference between the dots then your movement should be fast but if you want the dots close to each other then your speed should be slow. 


I hope you understand very well how to shade with a rotary tattoo machine after reading this post. But remember that after reading this post now you need to get practice because practice is the only thing that will make you an expert and professional. Make sure you practice daily on the fake skin and on the paper.

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