The BLK Project
The amazing transformation of old to new
White on Black Tattooing, by Maverick Montana.
Hi, and welcome to The BLK Project. In this section of the website i’ll take you through the whole procedure of what it takes to create beautiful, well balanced, white on black tattoos, which are full of contrast and hold up over time.
My name is Mav, i’m the owner of One Drop BLK and I carry out a form of tattooing not often seen. Throughout the late 90’s and early 00’s tattooing was in the limelight with shows like Miami Ink making headlines worldwide. This lead to a great boom within the craft, with some people looking to capitalise on the popularity of tattooing and to make money from it. As with most skilled “trades” cowboys popped up (scratchers, kitchen wizards etc, they’re all the same). This, combined with a bunch of early 20’s eager to be tattooed has meant that we now have plenty of people in their 30’s with large scale work that they hate. Many end up attempting to cover the work, some successful, others not. The ones that haven’t been able to make the coverups work are left with very dark, blurred tattoos with little or no contrast at all.
If you can relate to even a small part of that, then you may want to consider this. A BLANK CANVASS.
With the process of white on black tattooing we can completely redesign, redo and renew your arm, leg, back, wherever you have a tattoo that someone has said “I can’t cover that”. I can, with white on black.
Steps, healing, and information on layering.
One of the biggest questions i’m asked by artists and clients, after why, is how. The process is all about layering. If your arm is already blacked out, I always recommend that the client should wait at least 6 months for the black ink to really sit in the skin. It also allows for good healing time. Having all that skin tattooed black needs to done well also. Areas of scaring or patchiness often show through the end result.
The first step is the design. I will be the first to say that not all styles of tattooing work well when negative. Heavy line work designs and smaller areas of white heal best, i’m often asked for realism designs in white such as the lilies in the photo above, unfortunately although these look beautiful as a photograph, as a tattoo it just wouldn’t hold up over time. This coincides with the old adage “Bold Will Hold” and in this case this really is true. I will work with you and your ideas, and together i’m confident that we can build a design that is visually stunning, AND made, designed, and tattooed to stand the test of time.
The first appointment. The first sitting of your tattoo will be all about getting the artwork on skin. The process is the same as any other type of tattoo. The only exception is that we use white ink. By the end of your first sitting you will be left with a beautiful, contrasting, bold tattoo. Unfortunately that doesn’t last. In the interest of being open and transparent about the process, this first initial stage is where your tattoo will fade the most during healing. The best analogy I can think of, is painting a wall. If you imagine painting a black wall white, it takes a few coats, or in the case of tattooing, layers.
The second sitting is where your tattoo will really pop. The original white from the first sitting would have now sat in the skin, and will look a little dull. Believe it or not this is exactly what we want. As it stands the tattoo will have 2 values, the original black and the first layer of white. Our aim is to double that to 4 values. We add fresh black to areas, really deepening the areas we want to be dark. We then re-line the tattoo with fresh white making that line work bold and vibrant pushing the design forward.
In some cases we may repeat the second stage in order to achieve a more contrasting look.
Aftercare. This is a big deal, even more so than usual. Your skin has been through some serious tattooing at this point, and looking after your skin during the process and even after will all have an effect on the longevity of your white on black tattoo. As a studio we only use the best, and we don’t even charge you for it. Thats how important it is to us that your tattoo looks amazing for the rest of your life. We use a protective film made by the great people at Yayo Familia, called Yayo Guard. Basically the film acts as a 2nd skin, protecting the skin underneath from bacteria and damage and allowing the plasma in your blood to work its magic and heal your skin. We provide the sheets for you to use, however if you’d like to purchase your own you can from www.yayofamilia.co.uk. After the tattoo has healed, as with any tattoo we always advise the usual skin protection guidelines and please remember the most harmful thing for your skin and tattoos is UV, heavy sun bed use and frequent trips to exotic sun soaked locations will inevitably fade your new tattoo.