Whip Shading - is it a style or a technique of tattooing?

02 / 08 / 2022 Anton Yarovoy
Whip Shading
Whip Shading tattoo

Whip Shading is not a style but rather a tattooing technique. Literally translated, its name means "shading with a whip." And such a name is not accidental. It is characterized by the use of areas with dots or small strokes of different intensities to convey the shadows of the drawing. It is almost like Dotwork or Graphics style, but in Whip Shading, the dots eventually blend into a solid line or fill. All of this resembles a whip strike, where there is an area of ​​greatest contact with the surface, and then the energy of the strike diminishes.

whip shading tattoo


Whip Shading is most often used in black and grayscale works to convey the volume of the image: animal fur, bird feathers, multi-level structure of plant colors, sand, waves, and the like, but it is also successfully used in color tattoos. It is important to understand that the use of Whip Shading technique aims to ensure that the viewer, looking at the tattoo, sees the shape, volume, and detail, but not how they are drawn. In other words, Whip Shading does not catch the eye of the viewer like the same strokes in Graphics style, which is why these techniques should not be confused or merged into one.

whip shading tattoo


The use of Whip Shading speeds up the tattooing process compared to the same Graphics or Dotwork techniques, and allows for very attractive images to be obtained faster. Tattoos created using this technique are contrasty, have clear contours, and the elements of the tattoo are not devoid of volume. What could be better?

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