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Which set up for colour blending?

Posted by pistolerosha on 12/07/10


I've been tattoo for roughly eight years now and after reading several posts on this forum I've got a question.

Not to make a whole long drawn out story but the person that taught me (using that term loosely) didn't really know what they were doing apparently so most of my learning has been from working with actual talented artist and self improvement by searching it out.

I feel like by and far my strongest talent in tattooing is doing gray scale tattoos. I can achieve soft gradations and many textured effects working in just gray tones. My weaker point is doing soft colour blending. Don't get me wrong I can blend colours quite well but I just don't feel quite as satisfied with my colour tattoos like I do my gray scale ones. After reading several posts on here I'm starting to get the impression that maybe I should be using bug pins and my machine I use for gray scale instead of using shorter tapered needles with my colour packing machine. To clarify my B&G machine is a fast but softer hitting machine and my colour one is a slower harder hitting machine.

After actually writing that out it even seems like the answer is obvious but I was just wanting to get a reassurance.

However if that is the case then my colour machine should be used only for solid colour work (like tribals or areas of flat colour) and possibly traditional colour work?

Any help would be appreciated.



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RE:Which set up for colour blending?

Posted by JRoma on 12/07/10


my advice is just get medium machine(medium speed,hit,stroke,,,) adjust ur hand for different ton.i mean press hard if you need to get dark ton press lighter for lighter tones.fast and slow hand movements,low and high volt,,, you adjust this things instead of using tons of machines.one of the best artist of the world he tattoos everything with one machine! maximum 5 ink caps! here his space
http://www.myspace.com/519934773


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RE:Which set up for colour blending?

Posted by hendricksontattoo on 12/07/10


i always hear people having soft machines for soft blending color and i disagree. If you have a harder hitting machine you can place that color in at the layer you want fanning the dots out tell they are barely there. When a machine hits hard you control the needle depth at the end of the stroke. When a machine bogs down you do not control it as much your letting the machine work like a shock absorber putting the ink in as the machine wants to. Also starting with your mid tones and mixing in the tube and color theory all play a role in smooth blends. Putting more opaque lighter colors over dark gets rid of the small dark dots helps. Black and grey i feel works using a soft machine because your using thinner pigments and it allows you to layer more times.


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RE:Which set up for colour blending?

Posted by stephen on 12/07/10


hendrickson, I totally agree, except that I feel a more correct way to word it would be that instead of saying a harder hitting machine, I would say a faster machine, as it can be fast (not crazy fast) and still not hit hard. To me that's the one thing numbers can't really show, how hard it's hitting. And though you can use all the other numbers to tell you how fast, efficient and how many holes a second your machines making, the hardness with which it's hitting is the one part that just comes with experience, as far as I'm concerned. And a machine that's hitting too hard is gonna swell up the skin and actually push ink back out. Again, this is just my opinion and most of my work revolves around color blending/theory/etc, and most of these opinions have been formed recently while using FKs (I don't know why, it's probably just that they're so consistent and have the ability to run fast while still hitting pretty soft, possibly due to the fact that they run on extremely low volts and have amazing springs on them. But I used to think the same thing as a lot of people did. Just turn back the contact screw, run it as low as possible, and cause as little trauma as possible. Then I realized that I could run faster and saturate more while still not hammering the skin and layer things 2,3, even 4 times if I'm real careful and get the blends I was always looking for with the healing to match. As far as the original post, I don't know what you're looking to accomplish with your own art, but if you've found a niche with your black and gray, there's nothing that says you have to do color work. As far as machines, I use the same machine to do color as I do black and gray and I know a lot of artists don't do that, (and I won't be either once I get another Fk) but I've found that it doesn't take too much adjusting to make it work. Especially after talking to Gaston and realizing that the only real difference in his black and gray set ups and color packing set ups is the armature bar and the setting of the contact screw. ( he might move the rear coil back a little and change the springs around, I can't remember right now). So, anyway, sorry to ramble (as usual) but hope it helped a little.


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RE:Which set up for colour blending?

Posted by JC on 12/07/10


correct Stephen. Numbers help with tuning a machine
or building one but cant tell how hard its hitting. To me if your tattooing and buying machines you have the experience already on how hard it should hit. You can only know how fast it runs by numbers though not by feel so numbers have there place but only during tunning. Once you have the machine in your hands from a reliable builder you then can go by sound, feel and experience. Thats my 2 cents but i do agree with you Stephen nice reply A+


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RE:Which set up for colour blending?

Posted by jay from IP: 71.172.215.220 on 03/29/11
nj, nj United States - website


so just to clarify stephen.....for B&G you would want to move the armature bar closer to the rear mount, and for color blending, move the a-bar further away from the rear mount?? i plan on buyin an FK, but onli have enough $$ for one. and i want a soft shader, but say i wanted to do some vivid colors? all i would have to do is move the a bar?


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RE:Which set up for colour blending?

Posted by Eriksenn from IP: 76.102.188.226 on 03/29/11
Novato, CA United States - website


Jay, that is not what you want to do. What Stephen means, is that when setting up and building a machine, small things like Abar weight and length, spring tension, and contact screw angle make a big difference when achieving certain results. If you move your Abar further or closer to the spring deck, you would have to adjust the entire setup.i.e. : springs, abar length, to get the machine aligned. If you get the soft shader from FKI, you should have no problem with B and G or color blending. Also, everyone's handspeed is different, so a setup that was awesome for me, may be too fast or slow or soft or hard or etc.


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RE:Which set up for colour blending?

Posted by Stephen Griffin from IP: 68.27.80.105 on 03/30/11
Ventura, California United States - website


Yeah sorry if that was confusing. I just meant changing the throw by way of the contact screw. You're definitely not gonna want to mess with the a bar on an fk, or on any other well built machine. My point was that I use my color packers for color, b&g, and even lining on occasion. It's all in how you use it and what works for you. And I run all my machines between 90 and 100 cps, just so I don't over work anything and can get heavy saturation. But what eriksen said is true, you mess with one thing and you're gonna have to mess with all of it (aside from the contact screw). Fk is a highly versatile machine, and no matter which set up you go with I think you're gonna be more than happy with it.


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RE:Which set up for colour blending?

Posted by will from IP: 74.179.4.171 on 04/05/11
gallatin, tn United States - website


Sounds like you may be moving your hand too quickly. BnG machines tend to run faster because of the thinner pigment. Color machines tend to run slower so they don't just 'punch' through the color, but pick it up instead. If your black and grey is good but your color blending is choppy, you're probably moving too fast during your whip shade. try slowing down and actually seeing the blends happen in the skin instead of going through a motion and expecting it to be there. I don't mean to sound harsh there, hope it helps!


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