How To Choose The Right Tattoo Artist

Mini Anatomical Heart Tattoo @jacktattoo87

Choosing a tattoo design and placement isn’t the end when it comes to making difficult tattoo decisions. You’ve got to decide on which artist is actually going to ink you!

With so many amazing tattoo artists out there, it can be a challenge to figure out who you should make an appointment with. Here are some important points to keep in mind when making your decision. 

How Do You Decide On A Tattoo Artist? 

Here are four things to take into account so that you can choose the best tattoo artist for the job: 

Blackout Sleeve Tattoo @missvoodooo

1. Tattoo Style And Expertise

The tattoo artist you choose will depend on the type of tattoo you want to get. Tattooists have different specialties; some are great at minimalistic designs, while others have watercolor skills. It’s important to choose an artist whose expertise matches the tattoo style you want, especially if you want a detailed design.

2. Visit Different Tattoo Studios 

It’s important to also look at the spaces where tattoo artists work. You want a tattoo studio to be clean and the people who work there attentive. You can make appointments at tattoo studios just to chat with artists to feel out the space. 

Mini Blue Butterfly Tattoo @memo.tattooartist

3. Look Through Portfolios, And Be Discerning

Go through tattoo artists’ portfolios to see if you’re drawn to their work. Byrdie advises,

“Look closely at the lines. They should be smooth, not jumpy, jagged, or shaky. Colors should be bold and filled in completely with no blank areas. Circles should look like circles, not ovals. Be objective.”

4. Ask Your Friends / Acquaintances 

Do you know any tattooed people? Chat to people with tattoos you like and ask them which tattoo artist they’d recommend (and who they wouldn’t go to again). Tattooed people can be seen as walking portfolios. 

Detailed Medusa Tattoo @jiro_painter

What To Ask A Tattoo Artist For Your First Tattoo

1. How long have you been a tattoo artist?

  • This will give you insight into their level of experience.

2. What tattoo style do you love doing?

  • It’s important to know whether they would be comfortable inking in the style you want.  
Colorful Flower Bouquet tattoo @_rony_tattoo

3. What is your price range?

  • You’ve got to know what you’re getting yourself into financially. Do your research so you know the average price of the type of tattoo you want. 

4. What placement do you suggest for the tattoo that I want?

  • You may have a tattoo placement in mind but listen to your tattoo artist’s opinion. They may suggest something that would make your tattoo look and age better. 

5. How long will my tattoo take? Should more than one session be booked?

  • You’ve got to know what you’re getting yourself into time-wise, too. Multiple sessions will also cost more money.

6. Is there anything about my tattoo design that could be improved?

  • Again, this is where your tattooist’s expertise can help you improve your tattoo in ways you hadn’t even thought of.
Half Skull Tattoo @thommesen_ink

7. Is there anything about my tattoo design that you’re apprehensive about?

  • If your tattoo artist is unsure about it, chances are it’s for a good reason.

8. Will the tattoo hurt? Do you provide numbing cream?

  • Certain areas of the body will hurt more than others when it comes to getting tatted. Know the pain level that you can expect so you can take the right precautions. If your tattoo artist doesn’t provide numbing cream, ask them what they recommend and get it from the pharmacy.

9. What will the aftercare be like, and how long will the tattoo take to heal?

  • You should leave your tattoo appointment with a list of aftercare instructions. However, some tattoos and placements need extra TLC. Discuss this with your tattoo artist – you might need to take a few days off work.
‘Love Yourself’ Elbow Ditch Tattoo @mrs.tattoo_

How To Find A Tattoo Artist On Instagram?

If you’re not 100% sure about the tattoo style you want, Instagram is a great place to gain clarity (as well as this blog!). Look up different hashtags such as #minimalisttattoo, #watercolortattoo, #wordtattoo etc. to see a bunch of different examples. 

To narrow down your search to find a tattoo artist, in the search bar type in the style of tattoo you want and the city you’re in (you don’t have to use the hashtag symbol). Then browse through all the artists and their work! 

Mini Bat Hand Tattoo @blvckmoon_tattoo

Signs Of A Bad Tattoo Artist 

When you’re looking for a tattoo artist, you’ve also got to look out for these red flags:

Poor Or No Portfolio

If a tattoo artist cannot give you any proof of work, run! A professional and experienced tattooist will happily show off their work. 

Lack Of Cleanliness 

A tattoo studio needs to be spotless. Remember, when you get a tattoo you’re basically getting an open wound that is vulnerable to infection. Only get tattooed in a space where:

  • Disposable needles are used
  • Tattoo artists wear gloves
  • Proper sterilization procedures take place
Realistic Dog Tattoo @catdog_ink


It’s important to come to a tattoo artist with an open mind. If they’re experienced, they know what’s going to work and what’s not. If an artist seems bored or doesn’t provide any tips or suggestions, this can mean a lack of professionalism. 

Low Prices 

In general, the cost of getting a tattoo from a highly experienced tattoo artist tends to be higher. This higher price reflects the years they have dedicated to refining their craft, essentially compensating for the valuable experience and skills they have acquired.

Moreover, the price of your tattoo encompasses not only their expertise but also factors like the quality of ink, the use of specialized tattoo machines, and other essential equipment.

Rose Shoulder Tattoo @tattoo.haneul

Do your research on what your desired tattoo will cost at different studios. Size and level of detail will have an impact on the price of your ink. If an artist quotes an amount way below average, that can be a negative sign.

Little To No Privacy 

It’s important that a tattoo artist and studio take your comfort into consideration. So, dividers and curtains should be available to shield you from the rest of the space.  

Choosing the right tattoo artist goes a long way in walking away with a tattoo you’re proud of. So, take your time, do your research, and save your money for a tattooist who you genuinely vibe with and whose skills match up with your desired result. 

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