Let's talk about Round Shaders vs Straight Liners
Posted by @mrlucasford on 2023 Feb 8th
So, generally Round Shaders (aka Loose Liners) have long been a go to for artists for years to produce bold single pass line work.
The benefits to Round Shaders used for lining are groupings with loosely arranged pins that enter the skin easily and do less damage than having to double or triple line with a tight grouping to achieve the same line weight. The goal has been to improve efficiency and reduce damage to the skin, an easier experience for the client and a better healing tattoor for both artist and client.
Round shaders achieve this very well and are a go to choice for most. Physically the pins remain straight and the natural taper of the pins make up the actual line weight achieved when these groupies are used. In the case of round shaders the groupings are soldered far back to allow flexibility of the individual pins. Originally these were used before the introduction of magnum groupings to color areas and produce less damage to the skin than a tight grouping would cause. They are obviously still a fantastic tool for collaring small areas and getting maximum saturation.
Straight Liners utilize virtually the same approach with a few minor tweaks to improve their use specifically for lining. The Straight Liner grouping has almost identical construction, the big difference is the solder is run 1.5mm closer to the tip of the grouping. The pins still remain straight, the taper of the pins still create the overall taper of the grouping and subsequent line weight. However the increased length of solder on the grouping makes the grouping stiffer. The advantage here is the grouping will not flex under pressure and "football" in shape like a round shader can in some conditions. You get super consistent liner work without subtle changes in line weight.
Every artist has their own specific preferences in these groupings and differences in technique and style will determine what choice is right for you.