Getting into the world of tattooing can be intimidating! It feels like there are endless tools, millions of ink combinations, whole dictionaries of strange terminology, and the insane pressure of putting something permanent on a stranger you met literally 10 minutes ago. Thankfully, despite all the anxiety that can come with getting started tattooing, the community operates as one big, extended family. 

Today, we are going to help simplify and guide your process for buying some inks. As a beginner, looking at huge catalogs of ink pallets and colors can be overwhelming, but the World Famous family is here to help! 

Here is our quick guide to getting the essential colors and sets to start as a beginner tattoo artist. 

 Black Ink 

Black is the foundation for the vast majority of tattoos you will complete. Sure, color tattoos have a time and place, but there are precious few days when you won’t pick up your black ink at least once. 

Black tattoo ink is the most commonly used color in tattooing. It is generally used to create solid, bold lines and to provide depth and contrast in a tattoo design. It can also be used for shading and creating gradients of black within a design (which we will discuss in more detail in our grey wash section). Black ink is also used for cover-up tattoos because it can effectively hide or blend with existing tattoos. 

World Famous offers different types of blacks for particular purposes, while others are used more generally. Our Legendary Outlining Ink, for example, is our go-to when it comes to getting crisp lines with a thinner and lower viscosity ink. On the other end of the spectrum, our Triple Blackout and Pitch Black inks are two of our darkest shades available and are ideal for extremely dark fill and tribal designs. An all-time artist favorite, Blackout is great for just about everything. 

We recommend finding a general black outlining ink you prefer and pairing it with a solid grey wash set. Read more about the Differences Between our Black Inks HERE. 


Greywash isn’t necessarily a color but a technique used to create gradients with black and grey pigmented inks. This technique is often used to create a more realistic look in portrait tattoos, as well as to blend colors together in other types of designs. Greywash is achieved by diluting tattoo ink with water or other agents and then layering the diluted ink to build up the desired intensity of color. The result is a softer, more subtle look than traditional solid black tattoos and can be used to create a range of effects depending on the artist's skill and the design of the tattoo. 

As a beginner, our recommendation is to get a grey wash set and not try and mix the inks yourself (that comes later). Once you have done enough work getting the skillset down, you will have a better idea of how you want your work to blend. World Famous offers a few incredible grey wash kits, with the World Famous 3 Bottle Greywash Set being the best option for beginners and our official recommendation. 

Primary Color Set 

After getting your favorite black ink and a grey wash set, it’s probably a good idea to move on to some color. There are a lot of color options available, and not all of them are equally useful. There are pastel sets, primary color sets, skin tone sets, and thousands more. On top of just the standard colors, you can also mix or dilute certain colors to create gradients within those sets, creating even more options. 

As a beginner, all of the options and mixing can be a little overwhelming. Because of that, we recommend a solid ink set that covers the essential colors, something like our Primary Color Ink Set. There are 12 total inks that can be used individually, but when you feel ready, mixing and experimenting with shades can be done as well. Some ink sets (like ours) come with a standard black ink, meaning you won’t have to buy a separate black ink, either. 

The Essentials: 

Getting into the world of tattooing can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. With the help of the tattoo community and a guide like this, you can easily navigate the world of ink and tools. As a beginner, we recommend starting with: 

  • A foundational black ink 
  • A grey wash set 
  • A primary color set 

World Famous offers a variety of options for each of these, with our Legendary Outlining Ink, World Famous 3-Bottle Grey Wash Set, and Primary Color Ink Set being our official recommendations. Remember to take your time, practice your skills, and don't be afraid to experiment with mixing and diluting colors. 

For our World Famous Family in the EU, make sure you check out our Reach-compliant inks! 

Tattooing, the World Famous way.