How to tattoo with black ink?
Benefits and tips for tattooing with black ink
22 November 2023
We all know that black is an indisputable classic in the world of tattooing. Black ink has been a part of tattooing for thousands of years since its origins, and it seems that it will continue to be so for a long time.
In tattooing, there are several reasons why black ink is prioritized over other colours. It is said that black is the most resistant colour to changes and the passage of time, making it ideal for tattoos that need to stand the test of time. Additionally, black ink is versatile and adaptable, making it suitable for a wide variety of tattoo styles.
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of tattooing with black ink and explore different options for doing so. If you want to learn more, let's get started.
The origins of black inks
As we have mentioned on several occasions, the history of tattoos dates back at least 5,000 years.
Studies and research have revealed that tattoos were already present in the first civilizations. People began to permanently mark their skin for various reasons, including medicinal and cultural purposes, using very rudimentary tools such as bones, sticks, and even sharp stones.
Interestingly, it was discovered that black ink was the most commonly used colour in these early tattoos.
In the article The oldest tattoo kit in the world, we told you that these civilizations made pigments based on natural extracts, but mainly with carbon.
Over time, tattoos evolved and began to be used as a way to distinguish between different tribes. For example, the Maori used tattoos exclusively made with black ink to form their identity and establish hierarchies within the community.
Similarly, tattoos, and especially those made with black ink, spread throughout the world. Despite advances in technology, there is one element that has remained constant in tattoo ink: the use of carbon as the main ingredient. This mineral gives the ink its intense colour, and while ink compositions have become more refined and safe for health over time, carbon remains a crucial component.
It is important to note that the safety of tattoo inks has been a topic of debate in recent years, and many countries have established regulations to ensure that the inks used for tattooing are safe for use on the skin and do not pose any health risks.
You should always verify that the inks you use are approved and, of course, never forget the rules of how Safety and hygiene are essential for tattooing.
Chemical composition of black inks
The composition may vary depending on the brand and manufacturer, but typically consists of a blend of pigments, solvents, and thickening agents.
Pigments are the primary components of ink and are responsible for providing colour. In the case of black ink, carbon or iron oxide pigments (among other materials) are commonly used to achieve a deep, dark tone.
Solvents, on the other hand, are liquids that are added to ink to dilute pigments and make the ink easier to apply. Examples of solvents that may be used include sterile water, glycerin, or propylene glycol.
Finally, thickening agents are added to ink to give it a thicker, creamier consistency, which makes it easier to apply. Common examples of thickening agents used in ink include xanthan gum, carboxymethylcellulose, or hydroxyethylcellulose.
It is crucial to note that certain pigments and solvents used in tattoo ink can be toxic or trigger allergic reactions. Therefore, it is vital to make sure that the tattoo ink used is certified safe for use on human skin. Always ensure that the inks you use are of high quality and have been approved for use in tattoos.
Benefits of tattooing with black ink
Black ink is a staple in the tattoo industry, and for good reason. It offers several benefits that make it a preferred choice for many tattoo artists:
1- They have greater visibility.
Firstly, black ink has greater visibility and adapts well to different skin tones due to its dark pigmentation. This makes it ideal for creating bold and distinct designs that stand out on the skin.
2- They can last longer in time.
Secondly, black ink is known to last longer than other coloured inks. This is because its chemical composition is more stable, making it more resistant to fading over time. Many tattoo artists recommend using black ink in any design to ensure the longevity of the tattoo.
3- They are very versatile.
Thirdly, black ink is versatile and can be used in various techniques, styles, and designs. It can be combined with other colours or used alone to create intricate and detailed designs. The possibilities are endless when it comes to tattooing with black ink.
4- An economical alternative.
Lastly, using black ink exclusively can be an economical alternative for artists as it requires fewer materials. However, it's important to invest in proper training and education to hone one's skills and stand out as an artist.
Overall, black ink is a reliable and versatile tool in the tattoo artist's kit, providing visibility, longevity, and versatility in design.
Some problems when tattooing with black ink
While black ink has many benefits, it's important to note that it also has some drawbacks, especially when it comes to its long-term appearance.
One of the biggest concerns with black ink is that it can turn greenish or bluish over time. This is often caused by sun exposure, as UV rays can cause damage to the tattoo and alter its colour. This is especially true for black ink, which is more prone to colour change than other colours.
Another factor that can affect the appearance of black ink tattoos is the tattoo artist's technique. If the ink is not injected properly, or if it's done too superficially, the tattoo can fade more easily over time, and the strokes may not be as crisp and clear.
While this can be a concern with any type of ink, it's particularly important to be mindful of when using black ink, especially in Blackwork tattoos where black is the primary colour used.
Ultimately, it's important for both the tattoo artist and the client to take proper care of the tattoo during and after the healing process to ensure that the tattoo maintains its appearance over time.
If you want to know more about this style, you can read our article Blackwork and blackout tattoos where we tell you everything.
Therefore, remember to control the strokes well and especially the depth of the needle.
And finally, it can happen that the solid fills do not look good and there are spaces without ink.
If you are doing a filling, especially a job that needs to cover large surfaces with black, it is likely that when the tattoo begins to heal, you will notice that some areas did not manage to retain the ink well and these imperfections occur.
The reasons can be:
- That you have not loaded the cartridge well and have a low amount of ink when tattooing.
- Poor quality needles. Occasionally some manufacturers do not have a good finish, especially at the tip of the needles, which can affect the amount of ink they can or cannot retain. Therefore, always prioritize investing in good equipment and quality materials.
- In the same way, the quality of the ink also influences. You should never ever use bad inks, not only for the finish they produce, but also, or above all, for your client's health. You should always use approved and certified materials. We will explain this below.
- The technique is essential to avoid this type of problem. If you use the same technique and materials as when shading, but do a filling, the result will be a very irregular black surface. For each type of work, you must always apply the correct technique and know that you cannot do everything in the same way.
Recommended brands to tattoo with black
In the market, some brands have become the preference of many tattoo artists. We must clarify that this is something that can change according to the new formulas, but in principle we can name some leading brands:
- Eternal Ink
- Solid Ink
It's true that different brands of black ink offer a variety of shades and pigmentation levels, which can make it easier to find the right one for your desired effect. However, it's important to note that not all tattoo inks are created equal, and it's crucial to choose an ink that is certified safe for use on human skin.
Additionally, it's important to use high-quality equipment and practice proper hygiene and safety measures to ensure the best results and reduce the risk of infection or other complications.
Broadly speaking, we can highlight that these are leading brands because their pigments are very faithful in their shades and if you use them properly, applying the correct technique, it is difficult for you to run into any problems. Let's highlight some features:
The black inks of this brand could be said to be the most picked in the world of tattooing.
First, Dynamic inks have a smooth and creamy consistency that makes their application easy and even. This allows tattoo artists to achieve clean, crisp lines, smooth shading and smooth gradients, which is essential to achieving a quality tattoo.
Secondly, this brand is known for its high black pigment, which is very dark and dense, making the tattoos intense and long-lasting.
In addition, it is known for its stable and predictable ink consistency, making it easy to work with and reliable in terms of the quality of the result.
In general, the quality of Dynamic ink, its consistency and high pigmentation are the main reasons why many tattoo artists prefer it for black tattooing.
The chemical composition of Dynamic black inks may vary depending on the specific formulation of each colour, as the company produces different types of black inks for different techniques and styles of tattooing.
However, in general, they are made from a mixture of organic and inorganic pigments, purified water, and a wetting agent such as propylene glycol.
One of the differences between Dynamic and other brands of black inks may be its manufacturing process, which includes water purification and the careful selection of pigments. This can help ensure consistent ink quality and high purity in the pigments used.
In summary, the chemistry of Dynamic Black Inks may vary depending on the specific formulation of each colour. Still, in general, they are made from these materials, and differences in the quality of Black ink may be due to different manufacturing processes and selection of ink pigments.
Both Dynamic and Intenze are quite similar in terms of their composition. They are produced with a mixture of high-quality pigments, and their inks are sterilized.
However, the exact formula of Intenze inks is not publicly known because of company regulations. Still, it is known that all its components are approved and comply with safety and hygiene regulations like any top-of-the-line brand.
Like the Dynamic inks, its consistency is quite smooth, and its quality in terms of pigmentation is infallible. The only thing to note about this type of intense ink is that it may take longer to settle on the skin, so we remember the importance of having a good technique when tattooing.
Also, an undisputed leader in the world of inks. Only that they have a big difference, and that is that they are vegan and cruelty-free inks.
This is a good option for those who plan to implement sustainable materials in their work and take a more conscious position regarding the ink production processes and excessive natural exploitation. If you want to know more about this, read our posts on vegan products and vegan tattoo inks.
In addition, these inks stand out for their deep acrylic-like black and offer at least six different types of blacks for each use.
We hope this article has helped you learn something new about tattooing with black inks. Still, if you want to learn more about how to work with the most requested ink by clients, you might find our new MasterCourse: Blackwork Tattooing, with Rebollo, perfect for you.
Inside, you not only discover how to apply solid fillings without damaging the skin much, but you also learn how to create this sought-after style from scratch and with the utmost creativity.