When it comes to tattooing, Red is the new black.
Tattoo artists see it all the time in their studios – whether it’s Traditional, Black and Grey, New School , Neo-Traditional, or Blackwork, there is a great deal of darkness going on in the world of tattoo art. This is a compelling trend that leads to some incredible art, but it also requires artists and suppliers to rethink some of their methods and tools.
Why is it necessary to rethink essentials of tattooing like stencil paper in light of this new trend? We’re glad you asked.
Skin Color Matters for Tattoo Stencil Paper
Skin color comes from the levels of melatonin in the skin. Each of us has a slightly different level of melatonin, meaning that we have a slightly different skin color.
There are actual color scales that were developed by dermatologists to categorize the color of skin, for a wide variety of reasons including determining the level of sun damage that skin has undergone, and for cosmetic use. The Fitzpatrick Scale is the most widely used with its seven different skin colors, though it’s fallen out of fashion among dermatologists. You will find that even the emoji on your phone use the Fitzpatrick scale!
With all that variation, there’s no way to have a one size fits all approach. So we found that there were actually three different stencil colors that would cover all seven skin color types. RED is the first in the series, and it was designed with types I-IV on the Fitzpatrick Scale in mind. The other two colors will roll out soon and will cover the remaining three types on the scale.
Red is perfect for the lighter skin types for so many reasons.
Red Stencil Paper is More Visible
Everything that we see in the spectrum of color is a function of electromagnetic radiation that’s bouncing off of objects. The appearance parameters of color like chroma, saturation, intensity, colorfulness, as well as lightness, brightness and luminance, all play a role in the way that we see the world. Keep in mind that what you’re seeing is not actually the thing itself, but rather you’re seeing the light that’s reflecting off of it.
That’s complicated stuff, but it’s also great for tattoo artists to dig into, because it allows them to understand their craft and to understand the way that their craft works.
On those light skin colors we talked about earlier, most any color would be distinct for the purposes of visualizing the underlying skin and the stencil at the same time. However we need the stencil to be visible both from the light color of the skin and from the ink. The dark inks that are so popular in tattoo design today are on the color scale in a spot that’s very low in luminosity, absorbing massive chunks of light on the visible spectrum. So the visual separation between light skin and black lining ink is fairly dramatic. But traditional purple stencils fall into that same chunk of low luminosity as the black ink, and the key issue there is that it’s just too similar to the black lining ink. So then the artist can’t easily see whether that portion of the tattoo has been colored with the dark ink, or if the weight of the line is what it should be.
Red stencil paper solves this problem.
The red colorants used in the reds of the S8 Stencil Paper are more illuminant than those you’ll find in more traditional purple stencils thanks to the chromatic attributes of the color red. It’s absolutely perfect for those lighter skin types from I-IV on the Fitzgerald Scale. It’s the most visible stencil color possible when you compare it to the lining ink and the dark colors that are used in tattoos.
Red Stencil Paper is Safe for Skin
Safety is something that S8 takes very seriously. That’s because tattooing is something that intimately affects the body, something that’s becomes part of the people who are using it.
There have been a wide variety of materials used for dying human skin red over the centuries, everything from beetles to beets, carcinogenic chemicals and more. And those aren’t things from the past – these are red dyes that are filling the products on store shelves today. The vibrancy of the color isn’t easy to find, which is one reason that it’s so highly sought after.
S8’s mission is to create red tattoo stencil paper that is both safe and effective, made with non-toxic dyes that come from palatable sources. Tested in the lab and in the field, the dye that’s part of the S8 Red series not only serves the purpose it needs to, it does it without causing harm in any way to the body by using colorants that have been approved for use on human skin by all major regulatory bodies in the cosmetic industry.
The Big Red Picture
The beast of a problem that S8 found itself running into was finding red colorants that actually worked with the thermographic printers that tattoo stenciling requires. Oh, and they have to stay on the skin of a long time. Oh, and they have to be easily distinguishable from the outlining ink used by the tattoo artist. Oh, and they need to be safe and plant based.
Here’s the thing though, it’s absolutely worth the trials that it went through to get there. Through extensive lab testing, rigorous field testing with tattoo artists who have the experience to know what’s working and what’s not working. These stencils are safe and effective and they’re just the beginning.
Red stencil paper is more than just another alternative to for tattoo artists who want to take their work to the next level, it’s truly a revolution in tattooing.