Japanese Tattoo Ink – In wash paintings, as in calligraphy, artists usually grind their own ink stick (Japanese: sumi) over an ink stone to obtain ink, but prepared inks are also available. Most ink sticks are made of either pine soot or oil soot combined with animal glue (Japanese: nikawa). An artist puts a few drops of water on an ink stone and grinds the ink stick in a circular motion until a smooth, grey ink of the desired concentration is made. Prepared inks are usually of much lower quality. Sumi themselves are sometimes ornately decorated with landscapes or flowers in bas-relief and some are highlighted with gold.
This historical aspects used to create the best tattoo pigments to achieve those effects on skin.