A shader is a type of tattoo gun that is used for shading, or applying the artistic touch of a tattoo to the skin. There are three types of tattoo machines: one that creates both lining and shading, and two that perform those actions separately. While the tattoo gun that can complete shade and line may sound easier, it’s actually more difficult for beginners to use.

Shaders generally have more needles than a liner, so the needles can create better three-dimensional and blending effects. Shaders typically have needles that are arranged in a line, similar to a comb, and they’re heavier than liners, which have between one and seven needles that are arranged in a circle.

The purpose of the shader is to fill in the outline that the liner created. Shaders penetrate the skin deeper, ensuring lasting, vibrant color.