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

Creating a tattoo is like creating a work of art. The tattoo artist is not called an artist without reason; they must be true artists at heart to be able to produce amazing custom designs, transfer them to skin, color and shade them. Choosing the right color scheme for a tattoo can be particularly difficult.

Unlike regular artists, who work on blank canvases, tattoo artists work on human skin, which has its own tone, hue, color, and pigment. So adjusting the color palette of the tattoo to suit skin color, for example, is extremely difficult, especially if the complexion is darker. But this is just one of the things that makes tattoo coloring a difficult process.

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

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

Mixing and mixing tattoo ink colors

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 ink colors well. It is not easy to mix ink pigments, compared to, for example, mixing acrylic or oil paint.

To mix the color of the ink, the tattoo artist must use specific plastic cups and sterilized mixing equipment, such as tattoo needles, for example. We will see, in the following paragraphs, how tattoo artists manage to mix ink colors to obtain certain tones.

Also Read: The Easiest and Hardest Tattoo Pigments to Remove

Create a darker ink color

Sometimes tattoo artists require darker tones of certain ink colors. To darken an ink color, tattoo artists will need to add black ink to achieve a darker shade. However, tattoo artists cannot just add as much black ink as they want. Because black ink is so intense and powerful, it can easily overpower base ink and ruin it for good. To avoid this, the tattoo artist will apply the black ink drop by drop until it reaches the desired shade. To see if the shade matches their preferences, the tattoo artist will need to thoroughly mix the two inks.

Create a lighter ink color

Now, if a tattoo artist wants to create a lighter tone of a specific ink color, there is only one way to do it; by adding white ink color. If the two colors of ink are mixed, the tattoo artist will have to add the white ink drop by drop to obtain the desired shade. Of course, one cannot know if the specific hue was created without careful mixing.

There is also another way to lighten darker ink; by adding distilled water, tattoo artists can create lighter shades. It is also essential to add distilled water drop by drop so as not to spoil the color of the ink. Proper and thorough mixing is also essential.

Mix different ink colors

Now, as you may know, creating a new ink color doesn’t have to be just about creating lighter or darker shades. Sometimes you want a completely new ink color, and the only way to do that is to mix different ink colors.

Now the rules for mixing ink colors are the same as for other colors. For example, if you mix red and yellow, you will get orange ink. If you could blue and yellow, you’d get green ink…you get the gist. Of course, the inks should be mixed fairly carefully, adding the ink color drop by drop into a clean, separate beaker. The colors should be mixed and mixed carefully so that the tattoo artist knows what shade/color they have created. To lighten or darken the final ink color, the tattoo artist can simply add a drop of white or black ink and mix it all together.

Also read: Tattoo colors: everything you need to know

Some Basic Rules of Mixing Ink Colors

Now that we know how to create a basic ink color mix, we need to look at some basic ink color mix 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 alone.
  • White ink alone may require multiple applications to the tattoo, which can be quite painful (be careful).
  • Red, yellow and orange inks blend beautifully 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 gray ink, simply mix black and white ink; it is recommended to also add distilled water to the black ink before mixing for best results.
  • Ink colors do not need to be mixed in a cup; they can be blended directly onto the skin to create a rainbow effect; the colors blend into each other to achieve exciting results.
  • To create pastel colors, use white ink as a base, then slowly add another color to just tint the white.
  • When mixing ink colors, it is essential to do so slowly and mix in small amounts. By gradually mixing, you are able to create the appropriate amount of color, as well as control the tone and shade of the color.
  • You can use sterilized tattoo needles, syringe or dropper to mix the ink. Everything must be completely sterilized before use.

Final Thoughts

Mixing and mixing ink colors sounds super fun, but can be a demanding process for tattoo artists. To create that specific and desired shade of ink color requires a lot of knowledge and practice. Hopefully our brief overview of ink mixing has helped you understand how this process works. So if you are 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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