How to Color a Tattoo. Becoming a tattoo artist requires artistic talent and patience. Once you have created your artwork and stencil and completed the outline on the skin, you are ready to color in the tattoo. This requires an exacting, delicate touch.
Begin with lighter colors. With time and practice, you may develop your own personal techniques. It is possible to blend dark colors into light colors, while it is extremely difficult to add light colors to dark colors. Add your lightest details first.
Work in the color moving your needle in small circular motions to cover the skin evenly. Take care coloring in whites, yellows and other light colors; they can be difficult to see when the tattoo is fresh. Most clients will come in a few weeks after the initial tattoo to touch up the light colors. However, you should color in the tattoo as much as possible the first time.
Keep a high quality paper towel in your non-working hand to wipe up excess ink and blood. When blood appears in your fresh ink, wipe off the needle backwards to keep fresh, clean ink flowing from your tattoo machine.
Fill in the color with circular motions. Run the needle in a straight line close to your black outline to make sure it is fully colored in. Depending on the color and your personal style, you may also want to run crosswise over the tattoo to ensure complete fill in. Don't overwork the skin.
Dab small drops of blood and extra ink with your paper towel as you go. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to each area you work to slow bleeding and help the needle move over the skin. Clean the ink chamber as you change from color to color. Continue until the tattoo is fully colored in.