Any Color Packing Tips?

I am new to tattooing I've been doiing it for 6 months and have been taught through an apprentiship at a legit shop. I left this legit shop for a month and came back a couple of weeks ago.  before my little break, my mentors who were teaching me had left/ retired (big part of why I left in the first place). I started working small and simple and gradually working my way back up again to get back into the groove.

I am still struggling with flat mags, I got a bulldog for colorpacking,. I'm working on getting comphy with 7m's before  I get into 9's and 13's. I did a color tattoo on this guy the other day, it looked solid red when I was done but I knew it wouldn't heal solid. I asked him to come back in a month so I could take a look at it. I didn't want to turn his skin into scarred hammered meat.

I tried cranking the volts up a little, tried slower tighter circles, tried holding the tube at diferent angles, but for some reason flat mags just don't seem to agree with me. Like I said, all my long-experienced teachers are no longer at the shop. I'm just wondering if there is anything else I cold try, or anyway I can pin-point this problem.

Also, I've been shop ***** for a year and paid my dues, but for all you guys know I'm a scratcher working out of my filthy basment. A lot of tattooers on here most likely went through hell to get to where they are and learn what they have. So I get a feeling this might be terrible ediquitte. If it is please tell me.

Any imput here would be much appreciated =)

parasitehostess parasitehostess 22-25, F 8 Responses Aug 3, 2009

Your Response


Flats are a definite no for colour packing, if you look a the design of a flat the needles are spread and are good for hair and waves used in single strokes almost like a line of liners, mags are tighter and therefore hold the ink more, packing is different to shading, i've packed solid black in the past with round liners in a gun set similarly to a liner although not necessarily running at a hard wattage, again it depends on where you are packing as the wrist is a different area to the arm. Also mags are to be tried and tested and you'll find your way with them, curved mags are grea to use with different weightings (Pressure).Packing is something to be concerned about, as well colour packing is not as straight forward as black. Some colours are dificult to pack like green for example. I wish the toattoo fraternity would open up to people and not be a guarded secret, there's a bout1 million people to every tattooist or something as stupid as that. There's enough for everyone. My only snobby advice is if your crap at art dont take it up, its becoming a more creative art form than ever with various different styles. I love art and thats the reason why i tattoo, its a way of living your dream as an artist, my canvases and other art forms just wouldn't sell for the same amount of money, well, not at least until i was dead a good few years from now.

Hello dude... I stumbled across this question of yours, read all comments, and although it's perhaps a few years late lol, here is a bit of good advice....

For all of you struggling with colour... using circles etc is the methods of tried and tested old timers, and while we can thank them for this, we must remember that the industry has moved forward and products evolved... Now having said that, you'll always struggle unless you move forward with the industry.... You can try mags, rounds etc and never get great colour results until you start using TEXTURED needles... More expensive but you'll smack yourself at the time and money you've wasted until now. Colour flies in smooth and bright! Ever wondered how the great artists can knock out a full sleeve in 6-8 hrs while you struggle to get a little colour into a flower the size of a peanut... Textured needles dude! Regards rob (cape town)

Thank you everybody, I really appreciate your imput... I'll try these things on my own skin first and see how it goes =)

A couple of things: If you ever scar anyone with a mag you shouldn't be tattooing at all. If you have a slight clue there's no way you should be burying a mag in someone's skin.

Getting color in depends on a few things: Quality of needles, quality of tubes, quality of inks, quality of machine, and quality of power supply. these are all important if you want a good tattoo. Long or short throw is only depending on taste and how fast you tattoo. Short throw tattoo artists like to get it done and work fast over an area, whereas long throw artists tend to take more time.

Rounds are good for tribal work,but you don't have a capability of gradation with it. that's why they have mags. the way I look at a mag is almost like a paintbrush, except you push the mag forward and in small circles. If the color still isn't packing in, then try turning your power supply down or turn it up. inconsistent power has a great effect on whether or not the ink is setting in the skin. Back to the quality issue. If you have a junk power supply, you'll never be able to get that consistent flow of electricity every time. you'll find yourself adjusting all the time.

I have always been taught to get in and out as fast as you can so you will do less damage to the skin, However: I have never had much success with mags, why? I really don't know. But I have found that you can lay twice as much ink twice as fast and SOLID with a 14 round and the needle circumefrence is still small enough to get into all those little hard to reach areas. But, no matter what anyone says, you have to try them all out and find your own comfort zone. Personally I find rounds tend to lay ink a bit better than a flat or a mag, again depending on depth, speed and angle. Just my opinion though, I have seen many artists use mags with success, not so much with flats. Those can be pretty tricky and painful if not used correctly, if you are not careful with a flat you can lay someone open with it , I use a 32 round on very large pieces that require more time in. :)

Do like how the dentist tells you how to brush your teeth, small little circles. Also wipe often enought to see how much ink is going in, if you just pound ink, you'll find out that your not just leaving a tattoo there but also a nasty scar. I'm also a little confused, you mention flats (a single line of needles in a row) earlier in the story then you start talking about mags(stagerd needles, odd # on bottom even # on top), which is it? There are different ways when working with either one and precautions that need to be taken.

Try Scrubbing back and forth with the mag, also get some curved mags. Make sure you have a strong and long throw, and always work slow.

Im new as well and i was told to hold the mag on a 45 degree angle. hope it helps.. oh also, always work upwards with mags