Tattoos - just like a painting or a drawing - require more than just one needle or pen to create depth and dimensions. In tattooing, a tattoo artist would use different types of needles, such as round-liners and mags. And whereas drawing takes time and practice, tattooing does too.
Wow! That's so impressive!
If you don't know a mag, it's various needles clumped together, often used for shading or blackout tattoos to cover larger areas.
Think of it like a paintbrush.
He also mentions that he uses a brush technique here with the mag, for soft shading, as well as using short- and long-hand strokes.
In this video, he explains a little bit more in detail what he's doing with the mag.
"I'll just run the tattoo needle like this and I'll just bounce it like this. Very, very, very subtly from the bottom," Oliver says. "But this is where I'm going between these lines and I'm just keeping the needle in the skin and moving it very, very slowly. Not going too deep at all."
"Literally, I'm just feeling the skin vibrate through my machine.[...] I'm hanging the needle out not too far, where you're gonna get ink flow problems."
Just far enough.
According to Oliver, if you don't hang the needle out far enough, you can see the ink pooling which hinders you - as the artist - to see where you're going. He also recommends combining a thin layer of ointment, as it will help thin out the ink so you can see the stencil and know where you're going.
Mags work differently than round liners; therefore it is important to get a hang of it, especially doing a lot of black-and-gray work.