Do I Want A Color or Black and Grey Tattoo?

Black and Gray Tattoo

We have covered the importance of selecting the right tattoo design, artist, shop, and even the right location for your tattoo. Today we are going to cover the importance of using color or going without color for your tattoo.

One of the hardest decisions when selecting a tattoo is whether or not to go with a full spectrum of color or go gray and black. To help you with your decision-making, we are going to discuss the benefits and the pitfalls of both color and gray/black tattoos.

Black and Gray Tattoos | Pros and Cons

The oldest of tattoos, the first tattoos were done in black ink. When tattooed by a talented artist who specializes in gray/black tattoos, the results can be absolutely stunning! Gray and black tattoos are the use of natural flesh for highlights with the addition of white for a more dramatic effect.

  • Black and gray tattoos don’t hurt as much as color tattoos (in theory). The main reason for this is that with a color tattoo, you must apply pigment to every square inch of the skin. With black and gray, shading is achieved using less pigment than a color tattoo would require, so it is less painful.
  • Black and gray tattoos experience less damage from the sun – because even when they fade the contrast will still be clear.
  • Black and gray tattoos create a strong contrast that is easy to see on darker skin tones.
  • Black and gray tattoos are neutral and won’t compete with colors from your clothing.
  • Black and gray tattoos are vivid and dynamic!

Black and gray tattoos require a skilled artist that can create the illusion of a three-dimensional image using tone, texture, shape, composition and weight. If you receive a black and gray tattoo from a less skilled tattoo artist, your results will be painfully transparent in the work.  If an artist is not able to create a multi-dimensional image using only black and gray ink, you will not be very happy with your results.

Full-Color Tattoos

Color tattoos are fun because they are vibrant, bright, and allow for unlimited color combinations and creativity.

  • Color tattoos allow more room for creative expression.
  • Color tattoos offer dimension and life to any tattoo.
  • The contrast will be the strongest with light to medium skin tones.
  • Better for covering existing tattoos.

Certain colors will not show up well on certain skin tones.  It is important to listen to your artist’s recommendations regarding which colors will create the right level of contrast with your skin type.  Color tattoos are not recommended for people that like to spend a lot of time in the sun.  The sun causes colored tattoos to fade, and in some cases, cause the colors to blend together.

Color tattoos may require more sessions, and can become more costly due to the level of detail and time to complete. Color tattoos are more painful as you must apply the color deeper and to every square inch of the skin. Colored tattoos can cause allergies, due to the wide range of compounds present in the ink.

To Color or Not To Color

An experienced artist can meet with you and provide a recommendation for the type of tattoo that will create the best contrast with your skin tone.  They can also make suggestions based on your lifestyle choices.  The goal for any artist is to create a stunning tattoo that will remain captivating over time.

Whether you dream in color or black and grey, be certain you have considered both the style and aftermath of a vivid or classic design. You want to be certain that your tattoo can become a permanent and gracious addition to your body. CALL JimsTattoo TODAY at 603-474-8754 to discuss the right tattoo for you!

4 comments on “Do I Want A Color or Black and Grey Tattoo?


    Hi! I’VE been going to Jim’s Shop for more than 10 years now. I have only had 2 different Artists. “Tank” did an Excellent Coss Motley Crue Tat on my left calf! My Favorite Artist and Friend is Pete LeClair! That man can Really Create Magic! He Listens to what you want, makes Suggestions, and goes in the direction which is based on What YOU have decided…Never Pressured! Pete is really The Best in the Shop. He is quite Frieendly and Sweet. Never Judges you. Always works with the Best Skillfull and Detail eye. You leave Jim’s shop well Satisfied and Happy! I Thank Jim’s Shop and Pete. I need to mention Charlie cause he’s the Funniest too! Makes waiting quite an Enjoyable experience! God Bless Everyone there, and I wish them All the Best with the New Shop in Manchester. Thank-you once again to Pete, and Jim’s. I wholeheartedly Agree 1000% that Jim’s Tattoo is the Best Shop in New Hampshire!!

    1. TattooAdmin says:

      Chrissy – that means a lot to us! THANK YOU!

  2. Gerty Gift says:

    I liked what you said about color tattoos allowing for more expression. I have been thinking about getting a tattoo, but haven’t been able to decide how I would like it. I’ve mostly been thinking about doing your regular black or grey tattoo, but I wonder what I could come up with by using color.

  3. Tim Yaotome says:

    Huh, I never knew that getting a monochrome tattoo is less painful to apply compared to colored tattoos. I will keep this in mind to surprise my classmate next week. For this week, I need to find a tattoo artist who can help not only apply but also design a custom tattoo for him. Doing this will not only help him achieve his childhood dream of getting one but be able to give him a great birthday present as well.

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