top of page

5 Tips to Finding the Right Tattoo Artist

Tattoo studios and tattoo artists are everywhere. Choosing the right tattoo artist may seem like a daunting task. Whether you are researching an artist for your first tattoo or if you are a seasoned tattoo collector, here are some important tips on what to look for in a skilled tattoo artist and find the best tattoo artist for your project.

1. Do your research.

  • Social media and search engines are key to finding tattoo artists. Look into artist profiles and start following them on social media platforms to see their artwork, portfolios, and learn a little about their personalities. If a tattoo artist has industry sponsors, this may be a good sign that they are a well established artist with a solid portfolio. Some examples of respectable industry sponsors include World Famous Tattoo Ink and Cheyenne Professional Tattoo Equipment.

  • Tattoo Conventions are back in full swing. These events are a great opportunity to meet tattoo artists, learn more about the tattoo industry and products, and get inspired for your next tattoo idea. Conventions showcase local, national and international tattoo artists. Keep in mind, most artists book appointments prior to the convention weekend. Going there with the expectation to leave with a tattoo without an appointment is unlikely. Click the links below to explore national and international conventions.

The following tattoo conventions presented by Inked Magazine are my personal favorites. The New York Empire State Tattoo Expo and The California Golden State Tattoo Expo. These conventions are hosted annually.

2. Consistency is key.

  • Be sure to look over a tattoo artists’ entire portfolio. Don’t base your decision off just one portfolio piece that caught your eye. Examine the details in each portfolio piece. Look at the contrast, depth, background, and composition. No matter the style of art and tattoo you are seeking, mastering these basic art elements are a sure sign of skill and preparation.

  • Familiarize yourself with the way a tattoo looks when freshly finished and what it looks like after the healing process. Especially when working with a black and grey style, red tones in the skin right after completion will disappear during the healing process, and any light shades and white highlights will brighten up after healing. Look for both fresh and healed portfolio pieces to get a better idea of what the tattoo will look like in the end.

3. Be open-minded.

  • Be open to artists’ artistic interpretation of your concept. Present a general idea to the artist, and allow their creative input make it come to life. When artists are allowed to create without restrictions, you will get the best version of that tattoo they can offer. It takes years and years to master not only the craft and technique of tattooing, but equally just as long to develop their unique artistic style that you are seeking. Dictating every last detail of the piece may not only frustrate your artist but also damper their creativity.

  • Keep in mind that when you are dealing with a professional artist, their advice should be taken seriously when they make the appropriate size recommendations for elements within the tattoo and the tattoo as a whole. Requesting super tiny details and text will not add to the longevity of your piece.

4. Be patient.

  • Booking times can be lengthy. Artists may require deposits, consultations and may not be booking into the following year. If you are sure about your artist, don't rush into things by getting the piece done somewhere else because you can get in sooner. Once you begin the booking process, you may get lucky and be able to fill in a cancellation appointment.

  • Depending on artist availability and your budget, large scale projects may take many sessions and up to years to complete. It will always be worth the wait. Remember you will be living with this decision forever. It’s best to take your time, getting the best end result possible.

5. Be original.

  • Don’t expect a tattoo artist to recreate an original piece. A lot of thought and preparation go into each artist’s portfolio piece. Asking them to recreate an existing piece can be seen as disrespectful to both artist and the client that received it.

  • Trending tattoo themes and popular imagery can take the originality away from your project. Maybe use these trendy ideas as a jumping off point to collaborate with your artist and turn it into something that is uniquely yours.

Recent Posts

bottom of page