How to Find a Tattoo Artist Specializing in Portraits

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When it comes to getting a tattoo, everyone who goes under the needle hopes theirs will turn out well. When it comes to portrait tattoos, however, the craftsmanship is even more important, since a portrait that doesn't resemble its subject isn't much of a portrait at all. If you're considering a portrait tattoo, take the time to find the best artist for the job.

  • Ask friends, associates and especially other tattoo artists if they can recommend a tattoo artist that specialize in portraits. It's important not only to pick a tattoo artist with a good reputation, but also to find one known for creating quality portrait tattoos specifically.

  • Contact the artist you have in mind and ask them if they have a website you can check out. Look for the following positive signs: awards and accolades, press coverage and especially photos of their work. If the artist doesn't have one or more of these items accessible online, ask to see them in hard copy form at their studio.

  • Look through their portfolio carefully. A good tattoo artist keeps photos of their work and often showcase their best work in a binder known as a portfolio. Pay special attention to all the little details in these photos, including the linework and shading, to get a feel for the artist's level of talent.

  • Query the artist about their procedure or process for portrait tattooing. Generally, it's a good sign if the tattoo artist asks their clients questions beforehand and shows a personal interest in their motivation for a certain tattoo portrait, whether it's of a celebrity or a late loved one.

  • Be leery of tattoo artists that take you in without an appointment or meeting you first. Most good, professional tattoo artists book sessions by appointment only.

Tips & Warnings

  • If there are no tattoo artists in your area who specialize in portraiture, consider traveling to have your tattoo done. The cost of travel may be a good investment if it means getting the most photorealistic portrait possible.
  • It's best to see photos of healed tattoos as well as fresh ones. Tattoos often look differently once healed and you don't want a portrait that looks great for a couple of days, but winds up missing an eyeball because the ink fell out after the healing process.

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