Can You Mix Tattoo Ink Colors? Everything You Need To Know About Tattoo Ink Mixing and Blending

Creating a tattoo is like creating an art piece. The tattoo artist isn’t being called an artist for no reason; they have to go be true artists at heart to be able to produce incredible custom designs, transfer them onto skin, and the color and shade them. Picking the right color scheme for a tattoo can be especially difficult.

Unlike the regular artists, who work on white canvas, tattoo artists are working on human skin, which has its own tone, shade, color, and pigment. So, to adjust the color scheme of the tattoo to fit the skin color, for example, is extremely difficult, especially if the skin tone is darker. But this is just one of the things that make tattoo coloring a difficult process.

Another thing that shows how difficult tattoo coloring is lies in the very fact that tattoo artists don’t really have all the possible colors and shades at their disposal. To achieve certain tones, undertones, and other color nuances, tattoo artists have to mix the ink, by either combining different ink colors or diluting them.

And that is why we’re here today; to discuss tattoo ink color mixing and blending. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at this essential part of creating a good tattoo.

Tattoo Ink Color Mixing and Blending

Before we get into the rules and techniques of mixing tattoo ink colors, let’s first answer the question in the title. So, can you mix tattoo ink colors? Yes, of course, you can! However, it takes certain techniques, practices, and rules to mix the ink colors successfully. It isn’t an easy thing to mix ink pigments, compared to, for example, mixing acrylic or oil paint.

To mix ink color, the tattoo artist has to use specific plastic cups and sterilized mixing equipment, like tattoo needles, for example. We’ll take a look, in the following paragraphs, at how tattoo artists actually manage to mix ink colors to achieve certain tones.

Also Read: The Easiest and Hardest Tattoo Pigments To Remove

Creating Darker Ink Color

Sometimes, tattoo artists require darker tones of certain ink colors. To darken an ink color, the tattooists will have to add some black ink to achieve a darker shade. However, tattoo artists cannot simply add as much black ink as they’d like. Because black ink is so intense and potent, it can easily overpower the base ink and ruin it for good. To avoid that, the tattooist will the black ink drop by drop until they reach the desired shade. To see if the shade fits their preferences, the tattoo artist will have to blend the two ink completely.

Creating Lighter Ink Color

Now, if a tattoo artist wants to create a lighter tone of specific ink color, there is only one way to do it; by adding some white ink color. In case of mixing the two ink colors, the tattoo artist will have to add the white ink drop by drop to achieve the desired shade. Of course, one cannot know whether the specific shade has been created without some thorough blending.

There is also one more way of lightening a darker ink; by adding some distilled water the tattoo artists can create lighter shades. It is essential to also add the distilled water drop by drop to avoid messing up the ink shade. Proper and thorough blending is also a must.

Mixing Different Ink Colors

Now, as you may know, creating new ink color doesn’t have to be just in the real of creating lighter or darker shades. Sometimes, you want a completely new ink color, and the only way to achieve that is by mixing different ink colors.

Now, the mixing rules of ink colors are the same as for other colors. For example, if you mix red and yellow, you will get orange ink. If you might blue and yellow, you will get green ink… you get the gist. Of course, the inks need to be mixed rather carefully, adding the ink color drop by drop in a clean, separate cup. The colors need to be mixed and blended thoroughly so the tattoo artist knows which shade/color they’ve created. To brighten or darken the final ink color, the tattoo artist can simply add a drop of white or black ink and mix everything together.

Also Read: Tattoo Colors: Everything You Need to Know

Some Basic Ink Color Mixing Rules

Now that we know how to create basic ink color mixing, we need to take a look at some essential ink color mixing rules. These rules will make the mixing process much easier!

  • White ink can be mixed with any ink color, but it can also be used on its own.
  • White ink on its own may require several applications on the tattoo, which can be pretty painful (heads up).
  • Red, yellow and orange inks mix and blend wonderfully, and create the most interesting and useful shades.
  • To create brown ink, you can simply mix red and green ink.
  • Brown ink can be mixed with yellow, orange, red, and white.
  • To create shades of grey ink, simply mix black and white ink; it is recommended to also add distilled water to black ink prior to mixing for better results.
  • Ink colors don’t have to be mixed in a cup; they can be mixed directly on the skin to create a rainbow effect; the colors flow into each other achieving exciting results.
  • To create pastel colors, use white ink as a basis, and then slowly add another color to simply tint the white.
  • When mixing ink colors, it is essential to do it slowly and mix in small batches. By mixing gradually you’re able to create the appropriate amount of colors, as well as control the tone and shade of the color.
  • You can use sterilized tattoo needles, a syringe, or a pipette to mix the ink. Everything needs to be completely sterilized before use.

Final Thoughts

Mixing and blending ink colors sounds super fun, but can be a demanding process for tattoo artists. To create that one specific, desired shade of ink color takes a lot of knowledge and practice. Hopefully, our brief insight into ink mixing has helped you understand the way this process takes place. So, if you’re a beginner using this article as a guide, we are sure that your ink coloring will be successful. So, good luck and happy ink mixing!

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