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How To Properly Set Up Your Tattoo Palette
Many tattoo artists have various setups for their sessions, and one of the most important is the tattoo palette. Your palette is essential to an easy session and an appreciative client, and you’ll need to know the best way to set up the palette to prevent mistakes and spills. Read on for some helpful tips on how to set up your tattoo palette to get yourself ready to make art.
What Is a Tattoo Palette?
A tattoo artist’s tattoo palette is the setup that allows them easily dip the tip of their needle into the color they need. This setup will determine the level of difficulty that the artist will experience while creating a tattoo. Tattoo artists need a proper palette to ensure every jab of the needle is accurate and creates the design the customer wants.
Challenging designs involving multiple colors or intricate linework make the right tattoo palette essential to ensure the most efficient work. You may include any color in your tattoo palette and organize it to suit you best. There is no specific way to set up your ink palette except for the way that helps you stay efficient.
Have the Best Equipment
As a tattoo artist, having the right equipment for the job is a must, and your palette will need the correct items to ensure you have the best setup. Although you may not need too many items, you’ll still need the right choices for the palette to be clean and organized.
Holding the ink in place will require ink cups with great structure. Tattoo ink cups typically have a lipped top and denser base, making them easy to hold or pick up without contaminating the ink.
Some designs may have the ink cups flipped with the lip at the bottom and the rest of the cup in a top hat format. The top hat ink cup will have a stable base that won’t fall over as easily and prevent spills as you work. Use clear plastic for your ink cups to see the colors in them to make organization easier.
Ink Cup Holders
Use an ink cup holder as a way to hold the ink cups for an orderly palette. The cup holder will typically form a circular formation for the cups and help you keep them sanitary, as you’ll touch them less often.
The cup holder will rotate to make accessing the cups easier when you need to dip your needle in and prevent you from reaching over other cups and potentially dripping ink of a different color into the other cup. Use the ink cup holder to make your palette feel more authentic and organized. You’ll have an easier time handling the different colors.
A Clean Surface
Sanitation is a must in any tattoo studio, and your tattoo palette must stay on a clean surface to mitigate contamination. Wipe down the area where you place your ink cups or cup holder with rubbing alcohol and peroxide.
Autoclaves are helpful machines that keep the studio clean and thoroughly sterilize non-disposable equipment with steam. You don’t want to worry about a clean spot when setting up your palette, so keep your area and all your equipment clean.
Setting up your palette will involve lining up the colors you need for your client’s tattoo. The colors you choose will set the stage for how you properly set up your tattoo palette, and you’ll need to make sure there you don’t put any like colors too close to each other.
It’s easy to become hyperfocused on a design with numerous colors and lose the ability to distinguish like colors. Separate any colors that are too similar as best as you can. If you have colors you know you’ll use often, make sure you put those near the front so that it’s easier to reach them.
Organize How You’ll Use the Colors
Any palette of multiple colors will require you to place the ink cups in a position where they’re easily accessible. Ink cups with colors you plan to dip into often will be the center of attention, making the front or middle position the best choice for the session.
A possible setup could include primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) in the front row and secondary colors (orange, green, and violet) in the back, with shades like white and black on the sides nearby. Having the most used colors nearby will help you during your tattoo session.
Consider the Tattoo
The majority of tattoos will look different. Consider these aspects when setting up your palette and make tattooing easier. Set up the palette depending on the tattoo, and organize the colors in order of when you’ll need them during the design.
If you use an ink cup holder that rotates, set the ink cups in positions corresponding to the time when you’ll need them, such as having a yellow cup in the first three slots and bright green as the last. These color coordinations and cup positions will depend on the tattoo and what you need to finish the design. Stay flexible and strategic when setting up.
Place Dark Colors Closer to You
You’ll start with dark colors during most tattoo sessions and work your way up to lighter ones. Dark colors will have the most use in shading and outlining, with black being the first shade applied.
Shading with other dark colors will help you create a background for multicolored tattoos and help your design look more prominent by making the colors pop. White should be the last in the palette since you’ll typically use it to contradict black or add details to the tattoo’s image.
Use Lines and Rows
Some of the best organizational systems come in lines and rows. Setting up the palette in a line will give you a clear visual of the colors and help you dip your needle into each cup as you go down the line. Rows will help you organize which colors you plan to use foremost and which ones you plan to use later.
Your lines and rows don’t need to remain straight; your lines could line up in a semi-circle and create the design of a classic paint palette. Your rows could create a pyramid with the most used colors in the first couple of rows and the least used further in the back.
Your tattoo ink palette should offer you efficiency and ease of access. Use these tips to help you make the best palette for your tattoo session.
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