Tattoo Techniques

Our pro tattoo artists put together guides on different tattoo techniques including proper lining, shading, and packing, as well as more advanced techniques.

Click on the techniques you’re struggling with to get tips you can apply to your tattooing right away.

Learn Linework Tattoo Techniques

tattoo needle staying above the fat layer

Leaving a gap between your cartridge and the skin keeps ink from pooling onto the skin. Learn more on our Tattoo Linework article.

Learn Shading Tattoo Techniques

Learn Shading Tattoo Techniques 3.0mm stroke is best for shading. We recommend using round liners for stipple shading, round shaders for packing tight areas, and magnums or curved magnums for whip shading and pendulum shading. Learn more in our Tattoo Shading Techniques Article.

New to Tattooing?


Kick start your new career as a tattoo artist and begin your tattooing education TODAY with with our Beginner’s Guide to Tattooing. 

New to Tattooing?


Kick start your new career as a tattoo artist and begin your tattooing education TODAY with with our Beginner’s Guide to Tattooing. 

Learn the Fundamental Techniques of Tattooing

How to Tattoo Black and Gray

January 26, 2023

Black and gray is one of the most popular tattoo styles in ...

How to Tattoo Black and Gray

How to Do a PERFECT Tattoo

December 2, 2022

A perfect tattoo is one that is done with perfecttechnique. This means ...

How to Do a PERFECT Tattoo

How to Saturate Solid Areas for Beginners

November 21, 2022

Being able to get good saturation in your tattoos is important because ...

How to Saturate Solid Areas for Beginners

Hand Speed and Machine Voltage Tutorial

November 1, 2022

How fast you move your hands while tattooing and how fast your ...

Hand Speed and Machine Voltage Tutorial

How to Improve Linework for Beginners

October 19, 2022

Being able to create professional-level linework means having good saturation, perfect needle ...

How to Improve Linework for Beginners

How to Tattoo Color on Fake Skin

October 18, 2022

One of the biggest problems new artists face when they start tattooing ...

How to Tattoo Color on Fake Skin

How to Tattoo Without Linework

October 6, 2022

Linework is usually the first step in most tattoos. However, when you ...

How to Tattoo Without Linework

How to Tattoo Fine Lines

October 5, 2022

Fine line tattoos are designs made of very thin lines, often done ...

How to Tattoo Fine Lines

How to Tattoo Script

September 21, 2022

Script is one of the most popular tattoo styles in the world. ...

How to Tattoo Script

How to Set Up Your Gray Wash

September 21, 2022

Putting ink in your ink caps is a pretty straightforward process. However, ...

How to Set Up Your Gray Wash

How to Tattoo Thick Lines

September 14, 2022

Thick lines help your tattoos stand out and “pop” off the skin. ...

How to Tattoo Thick Lines

How to Tattoo Fruit

September 12, 2022

Tattooing fruit is a cost-effective way to practice using a tattoo machine. ...

How to Tattoo Fruit

Get the knowledge you 
need to excel 

Discover the Tattoo Artist Accelerator Program and become a tattoo artist in just 90 days. 

Join the Tattooing 101 Community

The Tattooing 101 Community is about bringing artists together, no matter where they are in their tattooing journey. Our encouraging online community supports emerging artists with advice, inspiration, and personalized feedback.

YouTube Channel

Learn tattooing tips and tricks from professionals while they demonstrate new techniques and challenges. From our shop to your living room. 

Private Facebook Group

Get personalized feedback from experienced tattoo artists and network with other online tattooing students all over the world.

Email Newsletter Sign Up

Get daily tips and advice you can apply immediately sent to your inbox every week. 

Discover Tattoo History

The long history of tattooing spans thousands of years. From Ancient Egyptians and the single needle hand poke technique to modern tattoo artists and the electric tattoo machine, uncover the richness of this art form.

Our Best Tattoo Artist Technique Guides

tattoo machine moving in small concentric circles

In these five tattoo training videos, our Lead Instructor Nathan will cover:

  • Tattoo design
  • Creating and applying stencils to human skin
  • Line work techniques
  • Shading techniques
  • Color packing techniques

These are the foundational tattoo techniques you need to become a successful tattoo artist. The better you are at them, the more success you’ll see as you create your own unique style.

tattoo machine moving in a pendulum motion

In a tattoo, shading is what creates depth by blending black ink out to a person’s skin tone. A tattoo without proper shading techniques will look flat.

If your tattoo shading looks choppy or is healing patchy and you don’t know why, changing your technique can set you on the path to smoother blends and perfect contrast.

Almost every tattoo style requires creating fluid line work on your client’s skin. 

From knowing how to stretch the skin surface to creating the bold lines used in traditional designs, understanding the correct techniques makes line work much easier when you first start tattooing. And after reading this technique guide, you’ll be ready to tattoo lines like a professional.

skull tattoo

Learning how to draw tattoos that work with the basic shape of the body isn’t too hard once you know a couple tricks. 

By the end of this article, you’ll know how tattoo artists create drawings that look great on skin…and how to draw tattoos yourself.

animal bones flash sheet

Most tattoos you’ll do as a new artist will be small flash designs. 

In this article, we’ll cover different techniques for creating a flash sheet that draws eyes and gets you new customers.

ink in the dermis layer

As a tattoo artist, knowing how far into the skin tattoo ink should go can make or break your career. If you go too shallow, your tattoo will fade in just a few days. If you go too deep with your tattoo needle, you can cause scarring, blowouts, and extra pain for your client.

To help, we’re explaining where you should be putting ink - and how to tell you’re doing it right.

If you’re an aspiring tattoo artist, perfecting the fundamental techniques of tattooing is what will take you from an average tattooer to a master artist.

Learn how to hold electric tattoo machines, use different line weights, apply ink colors correctly, color blending, and other techniques.

tattooing yellow ink

Being able to correctly pack color is what brings a color tattoo to life. 

In this article, you’ll get an in-depth tutorial, including which tattoo machine to use, how to create additional colors in the tube, which needle is best for packing ink, and more.

A perfect tattoo is one that is done with perfect technique. This means that your client not only gets a design that looks great on their skin, but also a long-lasting tattoo that has no healing issues.

In this article, we’ll talk about the tattooing techniques you need to know to master all different styles.

Roses are one of the most popular tattoo designs. If you’re new to tattooing, getting the hang of such a popular design will help you prepare for clients faster. 

In this article, we’ll walk through all the methods you need to know to master the art of tattooing a rose.

Our Best Tattoo Artist Technique Guides

tattoo machine moving in small concentric circles

In these five tattoo training videos, our Lead Instructor Nathan will cover:

  • Tattoo design
  • Creating and applying stencils to human skin
  • Line work techniques
  • Shading techniques
  • Color packing techniques

These are the foundational tattoo techniques you need to become a successful tattoo artist. The better you are at them, the more success you’ll see as you create your own unique style.

tattoo machine moving in a pendulum motion

In a tattoo, shading is what creates depth by blending black ink out to a person’s skin tone. A tattoo without proper shading techniques will look flat.

If your tattoo shading looks choppy or is healing patchy and you don’t know why, changing your technique can set you on the path to smoother blends and perfect contrast.

Almost every tattoo style requires creating fluid line work on your client’s skin. 

From knowing how to stretch the skin surface to creating the bold lines used in traditional designs, understanding the correct techniques makes line work much easier when you first start tattooing. And after reading this technique guide, you’ll be ready to tattoo lines like a professional.

skull tattoo

Learning how to draw tattoos that work with the basic shape of the body isn’t too hard once you know a couple tricks. 

By the end of this article, you’ll know how tattoo artists create drawings that look great on skin…and how to draw tattoos yourself.

animal bones flash sheet

Most tattoos you’ll do as a new artist will be small flash designs. 

In this article, we’ll cover different techniques for creating a flash sheet that draws eyes and gets you new customers.

ink in the dermis layer

As a tattoo artist, knowing how far into the skin tattoo ink should go can make or break your career. If you go too shallow, your tattoo will fade in just a few days. If you go too deep with your tattoo needle, you can cause scarring, blowouts, and extra pain for your client.

To help, we’re explaining where you should be putting ink - and how to tell you’re doing it right.

If you’re an aspiring tattoo artist, perfecting the fundamental techniques of tattooing is what will take you from an average tattooer to a master artist.

Whether this is your first dive into the world of tattooing, or you’re just here for a refresher, this article will explain everything you need to know to nail down your technique.

tattooing yellow ink

Being able to correctly pack color is what brings a color tattoo to life. 

In this article, you’ll get an in-depth tutorial, including which tattoo machine to use, how to create additional colors in the tube, which needle is best for packing ink, and more.

A perfect tattoo is one that is done with perfect technique. This means that your client not only gets a design that looks great on their skin, but also a long-lasting tattoo that has no healing issues.

In this article, we’ll talk about the tattooing techniques you need to know to master all different styles.

Roses are one of the most popular tattoo designs. If you’re new to tattooing, getting the hang of such a popular design will help you prepare for clients faster. 

In this article, we’ll walk through all the methods you need to know to master the art of tattooing a rose.

Our Best Tattoo Artist Technique Guides

tattoo machine moving in small concentric circles

In these five tattoo training videos, our Lead Instructor Nathan will cover:

  • Tattoo design
  • Creating and applying stencils to human skin
  • Line work techniques
  • Shading techniques
  • Color packing techniques

These are the foundational tattoo techniques you need to become a successful tattoo artist. The better you are at them, the more success you’ll see as you create your own unique style.

tattoo machine moving in a pendulum motion

In a tattoo, shading is what creates depth by blending black ink out to a person’s skin tone. A tattoo without proper shading techniques will look flat.

If your tattoo shading looks choppy or is healing patchy and you don’t know why, changing your technique can set you on the path to smoother blends and perfect contrast.

Almost every tattoo style requires creating fluid line work on your client’s skin. 

From knowing how to stretch the skin surface to creating the bold lines used in traditional designs, understanding the correct techniques makes line work much easier when you first start tattooing. And after reading this technique guide, you’ll be ready to tattoo lines like a professional.

skull tattoo

Learning how to draw tattoos that work with the basic shape of the body isn’t too hard once you know a couple tricks. 

By the end of this article, you’ll know how tattoo artists create drawings that look great on skin…and how to draw tattoos yourself.

animal bones flash sheet

Most tattoos you’ll do as a new artist will be small flash designs. 

In this article, we’ll cover different techniques for creating a flash sheet that draws eyes and gets you new customers.

ink in the dermis layer

As a tattoo artist, knowing how far into the skin tattoo ink should go can make or break your career. If you go too shallow, your tattoo will fade in just a few days. If you go too deep with your tattoo needle, you can cause scarring, blowouts, and extra pain for your client.

To help, we’re explaining where you should be putting ink - and how to tell you’re doing it right.

If you’re an aspiring tattoo artist, perfecting the fundamental techniques of tattooing is what will take you from an average tattooer to a master artist.

Whether this is your first dive into the world of tattooing, or you’re just here for a refresher, this article will explain everything you need to know to nail down your technique.

tattooing yellow ink

Being able to correctly pack color is what brings a color tattoo to life. 

In this article, you’ll get an in-depth tutorial, including which tattoo machine to use, how to create additional colors in the tube, which needle is best for packing ink, and more.

A perfect tattoo is one that is done with perfect technique. This means that your client not only gets a design that looks great on their skin, but also a long-lasting tattoo that has no healing issues.

In this article, we’ll talk about the tattooing techniques you need to know to master all different styles.

Roses are one of the most popular tattoo designs. If you’re new to tattooing, getting the hang of such a popular design will help you prepare for clients faster. 

In this article, we’ll walk through all the methods you need to know to master the art of tattooing a rose.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

  • 500 video modules
  • Professional tattoo artist coaches
  • Private mastermind community
AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

write a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

SUGGESTED ARTICLES FOR YOU

MORE FREE CONTENT FOR YOU

Tattoo Apprenticeships – Las Vegas

November 17, 2021

Las Vegas, NevadaLas Vegas has an estimated 220 tattoo studios and we've ...

Tattoo Apprenticeships – Las Vegas

Tattoo Design Ideas

January 6, 2022

One of the hardest things about being a tattoo artist is thinking ...

Tattoo Design Ideas

How to Build Better Business Cards

January 26, 2023

Business cards are an important tool for getting your name out there ...

How to Build Better Business Cards

Our Community

Join the Tattooing 101 Community today and get free, instant access to tools and resources that take you behind the curtain of all things tattooing. From apprentice to shop owner, we've got you covered.