Art Tutorial: Spit Shading


Over the past few weeks several people have asked me tips on Spit Shading. I tried to convey to them that all my watercolor work was all new to me and that I didn't really have any tips.

Justin WeinmannJustin Weinmann

Secondly, from almost everything I've ever seen that was referred to as Spit Shading I noticed it was almost exclusively Tattoo Flash. And I just simply don't do that type of artwork. I mean if someone wanted to get something I painted turned into a tattoo -- AWESOME! But, I definitely think they should have my work taken to a Tattoo artist to have it rendered into some flash that would be easier tattooed before just having it done.

With that being said I definitely see the similarities between what people call Spit Shading and what I do.  I simply just wouldn't call mine that myself, even if that is what you call it.

However, with all of that out of the way and a few paintings under my belt I felt I would like to drop a few tips on the likes of you aspiring Spit Shaders.

The major thing I was asked was basically:

How do you apply gradients?

What this question means basically is that everyone wanted to know how to go from a darker shade of one color and slowly let it fade to the lighter version. The answer isn't simple. First of all there are multiple ways that I've seen that you can do this.

  • Work in Layers. Applying a darker version over a lighter until it gives the desired affect.
  • Use the natural attenuation of the color -- as it fades move outward from the darker source.
  • Continually dip your brush into water to force it to lighten as you move outward from the darker source.

I really use a combination of all of these. Which is why my work is far less uniform and much messier looking than most Spit Shading Tattoo Flash. However, that is the look that I'm going for.

The first style with layers will leave you with a terraced type affect with clear lines separating each shade of a color. This style is probably the least desirable.

The second style will do what you're looking for, but not using as much water will allow the color to fade to a lighter version much quicker and less gracefully which will allow the paper texture to be seen through the color more.

So truly working with a good bit of water -- after your darkest part is applied and nearly dried -- will apply a gradient that looks much more natural. The drawback to using a lot of water will be that staying in lines can be a problem. Which looks to me like a negative thing when working with Tattoo Flash.

Personally I apply all my colors first then go over everything with dark lines after I'm done painting. It seems Spit Shaders do it opposite from me.

If you have any more questions about Spit Shading, Water Color, or Inks -- Whatever it is that you call it, comment below and I'll respond... or I'll make a new post addressing the new issues.

Below are a few YouTube videos I though were pretty cool and may be useful to all of you.


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Art History: Watercolor | Art of Justin Weinmann
Art History: Watercolor | Art of Justin Weinmann

February 21, 2012

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February 21, 2012

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