Black and grey tattoo designs are one of the most popular styles today. There could be a number of reasons but if you look around you will undoubtedly find plenty of tattoos that only have shades of black throughout!
What is Black and Grey?
The style is said to have originate in prisons. Inmates most likely had limited resources so colorful ink was not an option. Guitar strings were used as needles and pens were the sources of their ink. It is even said they could make machines with the motors in tape players.
Inmates were not allowed to tattoo in prison so they have to work in secrecy. I’m sure getting caught was the least of their worries!
Different shades of black and grey can be created in a couple different ways. The first is by diluting the black ink with water. This is how my artist created the lighter shades of grey on my traditional Japanese sleeve
Another way, is to mix in some white ink with the black. This might produce a brighter, thicker result. This will allow the tattoo artist to shade which is important in black and grey tattooing because it provides contrast as the tattoo fades over the years. This allows the tattoo to stand out.
It requires a high level of skill and talent to produce delicate layers of shading.
How is it used?
Black and grey tattoo designs can be used through any style of tattooing. Whether it is realistic, old school, Japanese, etc. no color needs to be added. Black and grey shading is even used in color tattoos to provide the shading underneath the color application.
Black and grey tattoos resist fading better than color and the also heal quicker.