Black and Gray tattoo style

23 / 08 / 2022 iNKPPL Team
Black and Gray
Black and Gray tattoo by Inal Bersekov

Black and Gray tattooing is another popular style of modern tattooing. The technique gained the widest popularity in black and grey realism.


As you can understand from the name, this style involves using a palette consisting of black and shades of grey, and does not involve the use of other colors. Black and Gray tattoos are most similar to black and white photographs, in which the volume of the image is conveyed by smooth gradients from light gray or even white to black.

Even the use of white pigment is a concession within the style in favor of the spectacle of the work. White is added for brighter highlighting and contrast. Black and Gray tattoos require more careful care than black tattoos, but still less than color tattoos. With improper care, a Black and Gray tattoo loses its former attractiveness and contrast, and becomes a vague spot. Caring for such a tattoo also involves periodic touch-ups.


Black and Gray originated in American prisons, where it was impossible to find or even make colored pigments under strict confinement conditions. Only black pigments were used for tattoos, and grey shades were obtained by diluting black with water. The more water added, the lighter the pigment became. Later, this style migrated from prisons to various subcultures, such as rock and biker. Nowadays, few people remember the past of Black and Gray tattoos when looking at the masterpieces of modern artists in this style.

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