The black and grey tattoo style is one of the most recognizable and iconic throughout history and in modern times. By using different shades of black and grey ink, tattooers can create incredible depth and contrast to make everything from complex life-like images to simple stylistic designs. However, despite black and grey being such a popular style, there’s a lot that most people don’t know about. Here are six interesting facts about the black and grey style to find out before you book your next tattoo.
The History of Black and Grey
The combination of black and grey has been around for decades, being developed artistically and technically by artists worldwide. Black and grey started to become popular in areas with limited access to color inks, where artists even used mediums like ash to create tattoos when the ink was scarce. For that reason, black and grey have also been referred to as “jailhouse” style tattooing in the past.
Black and Grey Requires Great Skill
Black and grey require the tattoo artist to have great skill, as blending the shades of black and grey ink into smooth images takes a professional approach that not all tattooers have. Some people make the wrong assumption and think that they are easier to apply because there is no color in the tattoos. Still, the gradients needed to create a beautiful black and grey tattoo depend on an artist’s great talent and experience.
Black and Grey Can Be Used in Combination with Other Styles
While black and grey is a style in itself, it can also be combined with other styles, like Neo-Traditional, Japanese, Chicano, Realism, and Old School to name a few. Each of these unique styles can be created with color or using black and grey style techniques, which adds to the versatility of black and grey tattoos.
Black and Grey is Dynamic
As mentioned above, black and grey tattoos are some of the most versatile in the industry. In addition to being used in conjunction with other tattoo styles, black and grey have versatility in other ways. The style, level of detail, shading, and contrast you can get with black and grey outshines most of the possibilities that you can find in color tattoos.
Black and Grey Uses Special Techniques
The shading of black and grey tattoos requires specialized techniques that not every tattooer has. While most black and grey is done with a single needle, the shading required to add depth and dimension to the tattoos takes skill to ensure that they will heal correctly and last for a long time. Always check an artist’s portfolio to see their black and grey work.
Black and Grey Fades Less
Black and grey tattoos have an advantage over color tattoos when it comes to longevity. A correctly applied black and grey tattoo will fade less than a correctly applied color tattoo and maintain its integrity for years—or even a lifetime. Color tattoos will naturally fade over time and can fade even faster in the sun or harsh conditions, while black and grey won’t experience the same issues.
The black and grey tattoo style stands out as one of the most beautiful and technically difficult styles to master. Quality black and grey tattoos will stand the test of time and can be more dynamic and showcase more depth than some color styles. As such, black and grey is a great option for your next tattoo.