Finding A Great Tattoo Artist Who Fits Your Vision

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 23, 2019
    Last Updated: December 23, 2020

Finding a tattoo artist can be tricky if you don’t know where to start. There are a number of factors you should think about when trying to choose the best artist to do the work. Tattoos are for life, so selecting a tattoo artist is not a decision you should take lightly.

Take your time and choose an artist you feel comfortable with. Make sure you have complete confidence in their abilities before getting started.

Take into consideration the following factors to help you find an artist that is completely right for you.

How to Ensure You Choose a Good Tattoo Artist

Word of Mouth and Online Reviews

The first thing we advise you to do is to ask around. Speak to any friends or family members who have been inked. Or ask them to ask their friends and family too.

Getting direct advice from people you know is a great place to start. If they had a good experience with a particular artist, then you have nothing to lose by contacting them for more information, either by phone, email, or walking into the shop. Even if you don’t find a great tattoo artist this way, it’s still worth asking, as you might be made aware of negative experiences and artists to avoid.

If you know somebody who’s been tattooed by an artist you like, check to see how their tattoo has stood the test of time. All tattoos fade, but if you see a particularly poor or faded one, you’ll be in a better position to pass on the artist.

Looking up an artist online can also give you good insights into the past experiences of others. Follow the artist you are interested in on Facebook and Instagram and read the comments and reviews. Message people who have already been inked by them and ask for their opinion. If the artist in question comes across as unprofessional, for example, if they blatantly tattoo underage clients, then it may be best to pass.

However, when it comes to looking at online reviews, be wary of everything you read. Some recommendations on sites like Google+ pages are not always accurate, and many are posted anonymously. These may have been fabricated and posted in a bid to counterbalance any previous negative comments or reviews.

Work Portfolio & Images

Ask to see some of an artist’s previous work. There are a few key things to look for when going through an artist’s portfolio or looking at images of their work.

Check for strong and solid lines that are smooth and look as though they have been made in a single stroke. See how good their freehand tattooing is.

Look at the color and shading of their work. Check for smooth and consistent color work. A tattoo artist with better skills or more experience should be able to demonstrate proper color gradients. If they can’t blend colors well, their skill level might be lacking in other areas too.

Finally, when looking through an artist’s work, think about how you are feeling. Does looking at their previous work make you feel excited about your future tattoo? Would you be happy to have a tattoo from their portfolio permanently on your body?

If you feel inspired and excited by their work, you will feel more comfortable having them tattoo you. The more confident you are in their ability, the better your experience will be with them.


There are multiple awards up for grabs every year for tattoo artists across various countries. Look for an artist that has won an award or two. This will not only reflect their skill level, but also their popularity, as most awards require votes from the public (previous clients).

Award-winning and popular artists are more likely to be booked up and very busy. If you are hoping to have an award-winning artist ink you, be organized. Try to book in advance and be prepared to wait.


Tattoo studios have evolved a lot over the decades, and the hygiene standards of a shop are an extremely important consideration. Poor hygiene while giving tattoos can result in infections, blood poisoning, and Hepatitis A. It is really not worth compromising on hygiene.

It is important that the artist wears gloves while they are working. The studio should be clean, with surfaces regularly wiped down after each client. Any plastic on chairs or beds should also be changed after each customer too.

The artist’s bench, ink box, and seat should be clean and organized with plenty of new ink pots, paper towels, and ink. All needles, inks, and pots should be new for each client, with the needles coming straight from a sealed and sterile package.

If you are concerned about the hygiene of an artist or studio, get up and leave. Do not feel obliged to stay because you have made an appointment. It is the responsibility of the artist and studio to maintain optimal hygiene levels at all times.

There are various health, safety and hygiene courses available for tattoo artists to complete. If your artist of choice has hygiene certificates, this is a clear indication that they work hard to maintain their standards. Feel free to ask the studio or artist if they hold any current hygiene certifications. Having a hygiene record to be proud of is something that many tattoo artists love.


Finally, consider the location of the studio your chosen artist works in. Make sure the studio you choose is a reasonable distance from your home, especially if you’re planning to get a larger tattoo done that may take multiple sessions to complete.


Finding a tattoo artist that meets all of the above criteria is not always easy – there are plenty of bad artists around. However, it is most certainly worth the extra time, effort and travel.

Tattoos are for life, so it’s important that you end up with something you love. Not only should you be confident in your tattoo artist’s abilities, but you should also be happy with their workspace and hygiene standards.

The great thing about finding a truly experienced tattoo artist is that you can keep going back for more ink knowing you’ll receive excellent service.

When you eventually go ahead with getting your dream tattoo, it’s imperative that you always follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare advice closely, and be sure to invest in a high-quality tattoo healing lotion to aid recovery.

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan-friendly aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated, but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times, and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing.