SUCH a cool diagram of the healing process!
- The black dots are ink. When you heal, the tattoo is right on top of your skin—it shows through the darkest.
- As you heal, your skin regenerates the top injured layers of skin, just it would do for any cut. Some of the color will leave the epidermis, some will be absorbed into the lower layers of epidermis.
- Once the healing is complete, your top layers of dermis are back to normal, and all the pigment is below sandwiched in by your skin.
This explains why your tattoos look freshest the first few weeks. They’re not done healing! Imagine your skin is saran wrap. Now imagine putting a tan, brown, or any color saran wrap over a bright fruit salad. All of the fruit will look less vibrant and be tinted the color of the saran wrap. That’s why darker skin tones show less contrast, and white ink only really stays on the lightest colored skins.
Can you post more pictures of tattoos on people with darker skin?
I’m trying to build a little library of tattoos on different darker skin tones, plus I have a little guide to how to do tattoos on dark skin correctly. Check them out on my blog page.
However, progress is slow and I’m aware of that. In large part I believe this is due to the fact that tattooing in the West is largely white and understanding of how to tattoo dark skin effectively is low. Basically, in my limited understanding of this, tattooists don’t do the best work so its hard for me to find great examples. There are those who specialize but I’m having trouble finding them.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help me correct this problem. Send any good examples or artists you find my way! I would love to add more variety in styles and skin tones to this blog.
I really do think this is an important subject to talk more about.
My @MiyaBailey tattoo I received on my 18th birthday
Wish the photo was nicer, but this is a great example on combining different ideas in an interesting way. Solidarity fist, Africa, Eye of Horris, Gemini, and something I can’t identify. Ties in well and interesting to look at.
Color Outside the Lines Trailer from artemus jenkins on Vimeo.
COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES
The film is the brainchild of one of the world’s most widely recognized black tattoo artists; Miya Bailey. For over 5 years the idea has always been in his head to create a film that not only sheds light on the artform, but also allows the artform to be represented in the right way. There are a lot of stigmas attached to black tattoo artists and their side of the culture; ranging from a lack of creativity to overall poor quality of work. This in turn has lead to artists from other backgrounds and those in the black community choosing to take their business elsewhere in search of quality work.
The primary purpose here is education, basically if people knew better they would do better. There are dozens of black artists who are trained and highly skilled in any form of tattooing one could ask for. Once people watch this film we really want them to have a better understanding of their options and a deeper appreciation for the art form.
For more, visit http://www.coloroutsidethelinesfilm.com/HOME/
Re: Tattoos on dark skin
Miya Bailey is an amazing artist out of Atlanta and does full color tattoos on people of all shades,he has a tumblr http://miyabailey.tumblr.com/ if people want to see his work and is also on instagram. He did mine, I’m black and the colors are great and haven’t faded at all (picture is from right after it was done). Everyone in his shop, City of Ink in Atlanta GA is trained to do full color on dark skinned people.
Those colors pop and I love the geometric shapes. Thanks for sharing—once I start building a collection of good tattoos on people of color I’m going to make a separate tag. I think it’ll be a good resource.
Tattooing on Dark Skin
I put off answering this question forever NOT because I don’t think it’s super important, but because I was afraid of not doing it justice.
I’m not a big enough authority on the process of tattooing, and there’s insuficient information online. Also, skin isn’t either “dark” or “light”. There’s a zillion shades between darkdark African and albino. There’s pink skin, red skin, yellow skin, and even a million shades of “white”. I don’t want to over simplify the matter.
Here’s the best I can do:
- First, some science. In any tattoo, the ink is dispersed about a millimeter under the skin and remains in a layer called the dermis, which is under the epidermis or the layer of skin you can see. Melanin pigment is what makes dark skin dark, and no matter what you do while tattooing, you are always going to see the tattoo through a pigmented layer of skin on people of color. Think about putting a layer of saran wrap over your tattoo: the darker your skin, the darker your saran wrap. That’s how your tattoo will be viewed.
- Colors. Remember your “saran wrap” skin tone. It’s a common misconception that using white or very bright colors produces the best results—but, any color you choose is going to be muted by the layer of epidermis above the ink. Instead of bright colors, go with larger areas of bold color. Red and black show up the best on dark dark skin, as a gross over generalization.
- Size. You can compensate for the dulling of colors by adjusting the size of your tattoo. Large bold designs overcome the skins natural pigment, including tans. Again, you´re placing tattoo ink under the epidermis: the colors will have less contrast if the skin is darker, but if you have larger, bolder areas of them they will be more recognizable from a distance or over time. No matter what the skin tone, large tattoos will result in a better distinction of the design. Small tattoos will not have a very good separation from the skin color when viewed from any distance. The tattoo could end up looking like an ink blot and not a well designed piece.
- Lines / Design. The main thing to keep in mind while tattooing dark skin is contrast. Tattooing with thick lines will stand out over time and shape your design. Thin lines will have a tendency to blend into the skins natural pigment and get lost. Designs with lots of detail will get lost and blur as well.
- Lastly, check out this blog. The photos aren’t great, but you can see how different tattoos look on different tones. It’s a good visual reference.
When in doubt, go to a tattoo artist who is confident they can do a good job and has portfolio pieces to prove it.