How To Choose A Tattoo Artist
shallow focus photo of person tattooing person's right arm
Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

How To Choose A Tattoo Artist

Zoe Kramer December 11, 2022

There are lots of tattoo artists showing their talents on Instagram and across the Internet. It’s a great way for these artists to build their business, but it can also make it overwhelming to choose which one you want to go with. In short, wondering how to choose a tattoo artist can be scarier than going for the actual tattoo.

It’s a decision that has a lot of weight behind it, since it’s something that’s going to be on your body forever. So whether it’s your first tattoo or one of many, here is how you can narrow down your options and find the best artist to work with.

Decide If You Want A Specific Style

You might have something specific in mind for your tattoo. If so, start by isolating the style that you want. Do you prefer traditional, illustrative, blackwork, geometric? From there, you can look up artists who are proficient in that style in your area. Most artists are capable of a range of styles, but finding someone that specializes in the style you want is ideal.

If you don’t have something specific in mind, look for artists that specialize in design. Working together with someone to conceptualize your design can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Get A Referral

Another great way to find tattoo artists is to ask friends who have tattoos. If someone you know has a tattoo that you like the look of, ask them where they got it and what the experience was like. If they have mostly good things to say, it might be that their artist could be the right fit for you. Get the artist and studio’s name and add it to your list. This is a simple yet effective way to find a good match.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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Check Out Different Shops

It’s always important to check out a shop before you commit to getting a tattoo there. If a studio is dark, dirty and/or unhygienic in any way, you’ll want to steer clear. Check the reviews online, and when you visit look for work on display as well as accolades and awards.

Look Through Portfolios

Before you decide on an artist, you’ll want to look through their portfolio. A portfolio will give you an indication of the range an artist has as well as the specific things they’re good at. Make sure you’re not just looking at the tattoo as a whole, but also at the small details and any mistakes — the kind of tiny things you’d notice when looking at your own tattoo every day.

Do An Interview

The last step of the process is to talk to the tattoo artist you’re interested in hiring. This is a big part of their job, so they should be happy and comfortable to walk you through their process and talk about your ideas. Ask about anything you’re unsure about, such as their prices, how long it will take, how they look after hygiene and what you’ll need to do for aftercare.

While they’re businesspeople and will likely be eager to set up an appointment, don’t feel pressured to commit. It’s a big decision, so it’s always worth taking your time.

Now you know how to choose a tattoo artist, you just need to work out what ink you want.

See also: Five Tips For Getting A New Piercing

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Zoe Kramer has been writing for GRV Media’s student-centric website Freshered since October 2022 and is now also contributing to HITC. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2022 with a BA in Journalism, Media and English Literature. During her time in university, she worked for her student newspaper as well as completing an internship with a book publisher. She has also written and continues to write book and theatre reviews. She is excited to now be pursuing a career as a journalist and learning something new every day. In particular, she loves writing about student life, books, the Internet, and travel. Originally from the United States, she is enjoying living abroad in the UK.