So you want a tattoo

All about the artist

I’ve been asked before if I can recommend a good artist, and my response is always that it is a bit more complicated than just a good artist. As with any artwork, it is also about finding an artist that specialise in your chosen style to get great work. You don’t ask Kandinsky to draw the next issue of Spider-man….

Of course, a really good tattoo artist might be flexible and able to do different styles but people do tend to have specialisms. It is better to work with these when choosing an artist. As always, talk to your artist and let them know the style you are looking for if they don’t feel they can handle that they should let you know so you can make an informed choice.

Stylin’ it out

In terms of finding the right artist for the style you are into, Instagram is a good source of research. Hashtags can help you find artists and there are also whole accounts dedicated to reposting images of tattoos of certain styles (with tags to the artist so you know who did it).

Styles include:

  • Traditional
  • Neo-traditional
  • Realism
  • Tribal
  • New school (nu skool)
  • Japanese
  • Dot work
  • Geometric
  • Script

You can find full beginners guide to tattoo styles on Tattoo Do.

Other useful resources for initial research are tattoo magazines (and their corresponding social media accounts). Some of my favourite tattoo magazines are; Skin Deep, Total Tattoo, and Things & Ink. Just a note that tattoo magazines tend to feature both partial and full nudity – they are often found in the ‘Men’s interest’ section for magazines. Things & Ink is slightly different as it is run by women and aimed at women (although men are welcome to read it), it’s just a little less gratuitously sexy posing women on the cover and a bit artier. Still, can have nudity (of varying degrees) but more for the sake of showing off body art.

Location, location, location

 …..Well actually, your new tattoo is likely to exist longer than you*! So it’s worth saving up to spend the extra money on a good artist and if required, travel. A great artist might not be cheap (generally speaking, you might be looking at £80 – £90 per hour for a great artist in a good location, although this can vary and might be more or less). Although this might sound like a lot it is going to be worth it for something you can love for the rest of your life! Especially as it is something that is going to be even more painful and expensive to remove (with lasers), so it’s best to get it right the first time if you can. It is also worth considering should you need to travel, what extra costs this will entail. If you are going a long way and having a longer session you might want to consider a hotel, as getting tattooed is exhausting!

*provided you don’t die in a particularly violent way, such as a nuclear blast, your body (and therefore tattoos) will still exist after you have died. So they are actually something that exists beyond the rest of your life, worth considering and spending wisely on.

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