Black and grey tattoos have a wide audience, and has all kinds of illustrations and designs as a starting point. But Black and grey typically goes hand-in-hand with realism tattooing. However, instead of using color, traditionally black and grey tattooing only uses black ink and water. Tattooists will water down the black ink to make it softer and more grey in order to create shades, hues and contrasts. Nowadays many newer artists will use grey washes, or pre-watered down black ink, as well as actual grey ink and white ink for highlights.

One of the most popular substyles is black and gray horror. The style is rooted in dark and morbid subject matters, however this style popularized by tattooist Paul Booth typically features a combination of biomechanical or bio-organic elements with black and grey realism.  Typically, black and grey horror is always freehanded on the body and done as large-scale pieces such as full back pieces or sleeves.

Photo of Paul Booth


Do you remember when you were a teenager, and thought that there were 1000 subjects from your comicbooks or graffiti magazines, that would look great tattooed on your skin? Which one should you choose?

Illustrative styles combine techniques from both traditional styles of tattooing and realism. Typically they feature bold outlines with intense color saturation paired with realistic shading techniques in order to create a tattoo that looks more like an illustration than a tattoo.


Blackwork are characterized by using only black ink to render images, designs or patterns through intense color blocking or impeccable line work, as well as small minimalistic tattoos. Mandalas, small bracelets and geometric shapes, are common images used in blackwork tattoos.


Dot, pain, dot, pain, dot, pain, dot…. or not? Actually, many say that is less painful compared to machine tattooing.

As the name says, dotwork is a style of tattooing that renders various images, designs and patterns entirely through dots. Shading and depth is created through how far apart each dot is from the next.  Common forms of dotwork include sacred geometry and stipple portraits. Many kind of native tattoos are done in the dotwork style. Examples: artic tattoos and Viking-tattoos.

Here is a selection of Bob Tyrrell.
One of the masters in Black and Grey.

Willie Nelson made by Bob Tyrrell

ozzy-tattoo Babyface%20next%20day
Ozzy & Babyface made by Bob Tyrrell