A lot of older tattoo artists used to have the misconception that
you should have a “liner” and a “shader” tattoo machine. This
was in essence to, well… line and shade. The problem with this
train of thought, which I feel was brought on by tattoo supply
companies advertising machines as “liner” or “shader” configuration,
was that what one person called shading another called
coloring. Lining has always pretty much been universal. Sure
some guys will line a lot faster than others and maybe run different
needle groupings, but the basic concept is pretty straight
forward for lining. There is a huge jump in the technical aspect
of machine setup that takes place from lining to shading and


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