Inside: What is a tattoo artist & how to find a good one?

Japanese, tribal, realistic, black & grey work tattoos are few of the several different styles of tattoos available out there. But as a person who is getting their first ever tattoo inked, knowing this knowledge isn’t enough. Regardless of which tattoo style or design you want, it’s equally (if not more) important to remember that only the right tattoo artist or designer can turn your body art aspirations into a reality.

Often people decide to get a tattoo on a whim and head to the nearest studio without giving much thought to what they’re doing. For some, luck strikes and they walk away with a great tattoo; however, the same can’t be said for everyone.

Below we’ve outlined few tips that can help you distinguish a good tattoo artist from a bad one to make sure that you get a tattoo you won’t have to regret later.

What is a Tattoo Artist?

A tattoo artist is an individual who applies permanent decorative tattoos, often in an established business called a tattoo shop. Tattoo artists usually learn their craft via an apprenticeship under a trained and experienced mentor. There are no degrees for this type of work, although some tattooists carry things like art design degrees or even business.

Tattoo Artist Definition

What To Look For in A Tattoo Artist

Here are a few key points to look for when picking yours.

1.    A Diverse Portfolio

A tattoo artist who has small samples of similar designs is someone you don’t want to spend your money on. Look for an artist who has a diversified portfolio with tattoo designs of different styles and sizes.

2.    The Shading and Blending Of Colors

Inspect the work of the tattoo artist thoroughly. Look for the outlines of their designs – they should be thin and crisp. For the color of the tattoo, look for smoothness in the blending of the colors. The color gradient and shading are important as well.

This is despite you wanting to get a simple and mono-color tattoo. The final product of their samples is what will give you an idea about where their skills lie and if you should invest your time in them.

3.    Read Up On Reviews Online Before Picking Your Tattoo Artist

The reviews online are tantamount to hitting the gold mine. This is where all the information needed to make your decision lies. Look for positive reviews and pictures attached to the reviews. If the reviews complain about the tattoo artist being unwelcoming, a scam, or inexperienced, then look elsewhere.

4.    Experience

Always go for a tattoo artist who has substantial experience. You don’t want to be someone’s test subject – tattoos are a permanent feature on your body and you do not want to compromise on anything going wrong.

Look into the number of years the artist has on their profile and see if they have worked at other tattoo parlors previously. The names of those tattoo parlors matter as well. If they are renowned and reliable tattoo parlors, then you’re good to go.

5.    Charges

An inexperienced tattoo artist will surely charge a lot less than an experienced artist. A professional artist will charge based on the size of the design and the number of hours taken into making your tattoo design become a reality.

4.     Scrutinize Past Work Of The Tattoo Artist

It may be your first dig at getting a tattoo but you don’t have to be an artist to differentiate between quality artistry from a job badly done. Whether you get an opportunity to see a live tattoo or images of past work in the artist’s portfolio, ensure to closely examine their work. Often first-timers get swayed by pretty images.

However, try not to get caught in that trap. You should aim for smooth lines – not shaky, jumpy, or jagged. As far as coloring is concerned, it should be bold with no blank areas. Remember, when it comes to tattoos, perfection lies in the details.

5.    Inspect for Cleanliness

We are not asking you to wear a pompous hat or put on gloves to perform a dust test around the studio, you step into, but you should walk through the studio (without intruding anyone’s privacy) to inspect artist stations for cleanliness. If you feel uncomfortable about this, you can directly ask the owner for a quick tour.

Professional tattoo studios will be more than glad to show you around and answer any concerns you might have regarding safety standards and equipment and safety standards.

6.     Look for A Suitable Location

For many, getting a tattoo is all about location and convenience. Therefore, ensure you feel comfortable in the studio of the artist. shop. If you’re not feeling comfortable, the entire experience of getting inked can turn more painful even before the tattoo artist touches his/her needle to your skin.

7.     Ask for Referrals

Sometimes the best source for finding a good tattoo artist or studio is to ask your friends and family. If you know anybody who’s had a great tattooing experience, the best thing you can do is ask where they went and see whether it could also be a good fit for you.

It is also an excellent way to check and confirm the type of work the artist is performing especially if you more than one of your friends or family members got their tattoos from the same artist. If it is your first time getting inked, asking a relative/relative about their experience can be the best way to know what to expect.

8.     Consider Pricing

For some people, the charges of getting a tattoo can be a deal breaker. Therefore, it’s important to find an artist that can provide the best service within your limited budget. Nevertheless, it’s equally vital to know that an inexperienced tattoo artist will almost always charge considerably less than a seasoned artist.

Experienced and professional tattoo artists generally charge for their services based on the size of the tattoo design, its style (Japanese, tribal, realistic, black & grey work, etc.), as well as the number of hours taken up into making the tattoo.

How To Find An Experienced Tattoo Artist Near You

To find the perfect tattoo artist who has the right exposure to the process of inking and knows their way around the industry, head on over to your nearby tattoo shop’s website. Read up on the profiles of their designers and have a look at their portfolios.

If there is no such information provided, give the tattoo parlor a call and inquire about the tattoo artist. You can even ask to speak to them (many do a free consultation!). Ask them how long they have been in the industry along with which tattoo designs are trending these days.

What Does A Tattoo Artist Do To Make Them Good?

Personal requirements:

  • Years of experience and a referral from a friend doesn’t hurt
  • Good interpersonal skills and an ability to put the customer at ease
  • A steady hand
  • Comfortable with needles, obviously 😉
  • Artistic ability and a good book of detailed work they’ve completed.

Drop a visit to the tattoo parlor over the weekend to get a better idea as well if you can. If the tattoo parlor looks run down and is void of essential tattoo equipment and tools, be sure to walk away.

You can even get in touch with a friend who may have recently gotten a tattoo. Ask them about their experience with who they chose. If they recommend their artist to you, it’s better to go for the same one as well. In fact, take them along – this will help you stay calm and composed while your friend discusses all the concerns running through your mind with the tattoo artist.

Get Started Today!

You can now get started on the hunt for the ideal tattoo parlor and tattoo artist today. Keep the points mentioned above in mind while making your pick. And, be sure to inquire about the prices beforehand. This will help you get an idea of the quality of service being offered.

For more information and insight into how to care for your tattoo and what kind of tattoo to go for here are a few of my favorites & everything you need to know about healing before getting your first tattoo. We can help prepare you for your first ever tattoo experience in no time!

Remember, tattoos are permanent. Therefore, it’s crucial for you to know what you are setting yourself up for. This is where our tips above can really make a difference.