top of page
  • Writer's picturemalefictattoo

How to Select a tattoo artist to fit your artwork

When you decide to get a tattoo, there's a looming task that can cause some anxiety… selecting the RIGHT tattoo artist for your artwork.

Finding your tattoo artist may take time but it's definitely worth the effort.

Many people will go with a recommendation from friends, family, colleagues, etc., but there is so much more to selecting a tattoo artist than just viewing their artwork.

So, where do you start and what should you look for in a tattoo artist?

The specific tattoo you're looking to get should drive the selection process. You may find an artist whose work you're absolutely in love with, but you need to look at the tattoo artists skillset when selecting. Whereas a realism artist can masterfully execute many styles, that may not be the case for other types of artists. If your tattoo's style isn't part of their consistent work or capability, you may need to reassess your choice.

Choosing your tattoo artist has to begin with your tattoo concept and its elements. There are 5 key elements that will ensure you select the RIGHT Tattoo Artist for your piece.

The 5 Step Tattoo Artist Selection Method

Identifying & Matching Your Tattoo Style to the Artist

The first thing you need to do is identify the type(s) of tattoo styles your artwork will feature.

Tattoo styles and specialties are so varied among artists these days. It's crucial to make sure you're working with an artist who not only has extensive experience and knowledge for your artwork style(s) but also a passion and talent for working with the detail and nuance of that particular style.

Don't look around for a tattoo artist before you've identified the style(s) of your artwork.

Don't put the cart before the horse, as they say.

If you are looking to get a portrait or realistic tattoo, It may not as beneficial to speak with an artist that mainly focuses on more simplistic styles of tattooing.

However, this does tend to go in only one direction. For example, if a tattoo artist can expertly complete a realistic portrait, they can also do a simple watercolour, lettering or minimalistic floral, etc.

Alternatively, if the tattoo artist mainly focuses on more simplistic work, they may not be the best choice for a tattoo that requires more detail, depth and complexity.

Once you know the tattoo style elements within your tattoo you can begin to shortlist artists.

Tattoo Placement: What do you want vs. what will work?

It's not always the same thing…

This aspect of tattooing rarely gets the attention it should. The appearance of a tattoo has a lot to do with the positioning on the body and how you as the customer wants it to appear to yourself and to others.

Understanding the positioning of tattoos is imperative to a positive final result. Tattoos that catch the eye are designed to flow with the lines of the body. Applying art to the body is no easy feat.

The body's influence on the elements of a design cannot be understated. In order to render a flawless tattoo, the design elements and body placement have to work cooperatively with each other.

It's not always possible to achieve the size and appearance in the area that you have chosen. A competent tattoo artist will tell you when these elements won't work the way you envision them with the placement you have chosen. They will also be able to discuss with you the options and explain the reasons behind any size and/or placement concerns.

However, at the end of the day it will always be the customers decision as to the final placement but they would be going forward with full knowledge of any concerns.

Good tattoo artists are invested in the success of your tattoo and want you to get the outcome you desire.

Assessing Tattoos - Fine Details bring it to LIFE

How do you actually assess the tattoo artwork? What should you be looking for?

Anyone can spot a great tattoo, it will catch your eye and not let go. But what is it about the tattoo that is captivating you?

What makes a Mesmerizing Tattoo?

Detailed & Clean Lines

Flawless sharp lines and subtle details are fundamental aspects of a tattoo that is well executed. Clean lines and consistency are absolutely crucial to the proper rendering of a well realized tattoo.

Depth & Shading

The tattoos that seem to come to life in front of our eyes feature the use of shading to develop depth and contours. This is used to create a separation of elements without using line work. The depth of tattoos artwork is achieved through the effective use of layers.

Colour Saturation & Contrast

Colour saturation and contrast can help to emphasize the elements within a design. The use of pigmentation and saturation accentuates the subtleties present in an image to create vivid details.

Proportion & Composition

Tattoos are not one-size-fits all. The correct proportions of all the elements that make up a tattoo are essential to the appearance and the essence of the piece. Proportions can vary depending on what you are trying to achieve. Proportions and perspective are always taken into consideration to give the tattoo the desired flow and dramatic movement.

The Artist's Unique Style & Specialties

All art is about what speaks to YOU. Nothing else matters. Artwork is meant to stir and engage you. If you take the same tattoo artwork to 5 different artists and there will be 5 different interpretations rendered.

Every tattoo artist's eye will see the same fundamental elements of a tattoo but they will interpret the possibilities through their own unique design lens. This is where the individual nuances and tendencies will show through.

One must assess the artists work. You don't have to be a tattoo professional yourself to do this. Trust your eye first and foremost. What jumps out at you and where did your eyes go first? Tattoos, like any artwork, are designed to guide and draw attention and focus with purpose.

Artist Communication & Compatibility

Getting tattooed is a team effort, especially when it's a custom tattoo. You need to be comfortable collaborating with your artist. This is a very personal aspect of choosing your artist.

There needs to be a common goal of creating a piece that hits on every mark for you, including the time spent while the work is being done. Look for a tattoo artist you can trust. One that listens to you and works collaboratively with you for the best outcome.

Being on the same artwork page is one thing, but don't forget about vibe and trust. The direction, expectations and feasibility of the tattoo depend on this!

Trust your gut and don't settle. Do right by your Tattoo.

Just remember, getting tattooed is easy and you can get one anywhere...

But fantastic tattoos are created with teamwork, communication and a professional tattoo artist you can TRUST.

16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page