How to pick the right tattoo artist to bring your ink dreams to life

When it comes to getting the tattoo you want, you have to pick the right artist for the job.

Once you've decided on a tattoo style, you have to find the right artist for the job.
Once you've decided on a tattoo style, you have to find the right artist for the job.  © HAZEM BADER / AFP

Once you've picked out the kind of tattoo you want, there's still one thing left to decide on: an artist.

Those new to the tat world probably haven't considered the importance of choosing the right tattoo artist in terms of bringing your ink dreams to life.

Depending on what you're going for, the artist you choose could make or break your tattoo experience. Considering tattoos are forever – unless you can afford and are down to endure the painful laser removal process – it's best to put some thought into who will be making your tattoo dreams a reality.

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Whether you're getting your first tattoo or your 50th, here are some helpful tips when seeking out the right tattoo artist for the job.

Tips for picking a tattoo artist

Picking the right artist could make or break your tattoo dreams.
Picking the right artist could make or break your tattoo dreams.  © JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP
  • Tattooing style

Not every artist adheres to every style of tattooing one can get done. Looking for an artist that tattoos in the same style that of the ink you're interested in wearing like a badge of honor is key. You're essentially asking them for a piece of their art, so it's best to look for artists that tattoo in a style you gel with. Styles can range from Classic Americana and new school to black work, realism, and more.

  • Price range

This might come as a shock to some, but tattoos don't run cheap. Even if you're getting a very, very small piece of ink, most shops have minimums they charge, and when you factor in the necessary and much-deserved tip for your artist, you'll typically spend no less than $100. However, if you're looking for an intricate design or one that might take multiple sessions, you'll probably be asked to put down a deposit in advance along with the cost of the sessions when they occur.

Typically, a medium-sized black and gray single-session tattoo can average anywhere between $250-$600, depending on the artist and the shop.

  • Color scheme

You might assume that every artist is down to tattoo in color and grayscale, but that's not always the case. Some artists strictly adhere to the black and gray way of life, while others solely do color. While there are a lot of artists who do both, it's best to confirm what color scheme you want with them prior to showing up for your appointment or walk-in session to ensure they can do the job. One other thing to factor in is that using colored ink typically costs more, too.

Here's to finding the perfect tattoo artist that can make your ink dreams come true!

Cover photo: HAZEM BADER / AFP

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