Color Packing Tattoo – A Complete Guide | Essential Techniques and Guidelines

Color packing tattoo is also referred to as paintbrush technique. To understand it more clearly, the process of color packing involves the insertion of pigment into the skin leaving no negative space. It is mainly used for color packing and smooth blending. These techniques can be learned by a professional and experienced tattoo designer.

Paintbrush is one of the color packing techniques; we may discuss more on these in the latter part of the article. For now, let us help you to understand what color packing tattoos are in brief.

What is Color Packing Tattoo?

In simple words, a color packing tattoo means putting colored pigment into the skin inside the tattoo design. In most cases, color packing includes black color. The task of color packing is completed using a colored pencil. The design created with the color pencil is then transferred to a tattoo machine.

While using a color pencil to saturate the area and while stroking back and forth, there are chances that the movement may cause some damages to the skin. Thus, such a technique has to be done by a professional only.

The final results also depend on the quality of the lead in a pencil. You must always choose a high-quality lead pencil to have an effective design. Moreover, you need to put constant pressure and work faster at the same time for lighter shade areas.

Where do you use Color Packing Tattoo?

  • Most tattoo artists use computer-generated fonts and take the support of printed words to transfer. Such a method is usually considered as least creative and challenging. Some artists are specialized in various techniques and designs to get the right tattooing script. Thus, they are skilled at the art of calligraphy too.
  • Despite the challenges, they accept the opportunity and execute the lettering designs, shading, and scripts with the help of various tools. With the experience in shading and scripting, they make use of the color packing tattoo techniques on any area of the skin to fill colors. Some people have described their experiences related to this skin area. You must always check the voltage you are using as it is human skin where you will perform these techniques.
  • The ink and the hands both have to be good. Despite the ink is good, if your hands are inexperienced, it can be a mess. The second most important thing to remember is that not every person has the same skin. Based on the skin, the needle position, hands, and color inks need to be chosen. Thus, we now know that it is all a game of needles and tattoo machine.

How to stop needle snagging when color packing a tattoo?

Tattoo needles may result in snagging due to wear and tear or if the cycle is too low. Moreover, any side to side motion may also sometimes make the needle snag the skin.

You must try to move in a linearly backward and forward similar to a pendulum to prevent this from happening. Needles are usually flat and this is why the motions cause the skin to snag. If you find your skin snagging with the needle, slow down your hand speed.

Tattoo Color Packing Techniques

1. Small concentric circles technique

You must begin with small concentric circles. Avoid filling too much color like you do on a drawing paper in this technique. The objective of color packing in this technique is to cover rounds and small groupings of mags.

2. The Push technique

In this technique, the machine is moved back and forth like a pendulum across the skin surface. As a result, the tattoo designer shoves the pigment deep into the skin in a single fluid way.

3. The Pull technique

The Pull technique is used when the shading requirement is more. The tattoo machine is pulled away from the tube tip preventing the excessive flow of tattoo ink to get deep into the skin.

You must know some basics before you begin with the color packing process for your tattoo. These basic tips/guidelines are based on certain factors as explained hereunder;

Essential Guidelines for Color Packing Tattoos

1. Machine

Tattoo color packing is based on the tattoo machine. Similar machines are used for shading too. You need to adjust the shader and voltage as per the skin type and tone.

For instance, a direct hit is ideal for packing solid colors whereas a shallower stroke is used to layer the black and grays.

Our Recommended Machine for Color Packing Tattoo: Dragonhawk Rotary Tattoo Pen Machine Kit

2. Speed

Speed is another common aspect to look at in color packing techniques. Depending on the body part, tattoo area, and type of design, you will need to change the speed of your tattoo machine.

For instance, liners work at a constant speed whereas, for layers of colors or grey, you will need to slow down the speed of your machine.

3. Tattoo area

Shading begins after you have finished outlining your design. We highly recommended that you clean the entire outlined area well before beginning the shading part. It helps to clean any unwanted ink left during the lining process.

Cleaning also helps to get rid of the stencil marks and other sticky leftover ink stuck on the skin.

4. Playing with inks

With the help of constant hand movements, packing in black tattoo ink is completed. The process is the same with solid colors too.

Now comes the tricky part, for smooth blends in colors, you will have to slow down the machine and relax the stretched area too. This helps to give a clean edge and gives some breather, to begin with the next color.   

Our Recommended Inks for Color Packing Tattoo

Color Packing Techniques

We already saw the various ways and techniques of color packing in the tattoo. With the help of various techniques, the tattoo color packing can be done flawlessly. As an artist, the only thing that you need constantly is practice and good research.

1. Needles

Once your shading is completed, you will need to ensure that your needles are very nicely cleaned. Even before using those needles, you will need to clean those needles properly before they touch the skin.

Other than the needles, you would need to clean the tubes and tips well too so that there is no residue of other colors that may mix up with the next color chosen by you.

Our Recommended Needles for Color Packing Tattoos

2. Cover up

Shading in color packing is one of the most important components as shading is also used to hide any mistakes such as an added line. It also supports covering any previous tattoos that you may wish to now get rid of.

In short, shading helps to cover up any unwanted design or old tattoo, or any mistake during the design.

Final Words:

As a tattoo artist or passionate tattoo lover, you need to practice the art of color packing. It is like creativity always wins at the end! What we understand from the above article is that you will need to pay close attention to color packing, layering, shading, and covering when you begin with the process.