Getting a tattoo is more than just a fashion statement; it’s a deeply personal choice and a piece of art you’ll carry with you for life. The right tattoo can be a beautiful expression of who you are, but a poorly done tattoo can be a source of regret so please consider very carefully what we discuss in this article. With the popularity of tattoos soaring, finding a skilled tattoo artist has never been more important—or more challenging. How do you sift through the plethora of options to find the perfect artist who can bring your vision to life? This guide is here to help you navigate the muddy waters of the tattoo industry and hopefully assist you in avoiding the pitfalls other people normally fall into, we will be offering practical advice and insider tips to ensure you find a tattoo artist who meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

How to Pick Out a Tattoo Artist

Research Online and Offline

Think of finding a tattoo artist as embarking on a treasure hunt. The journey involves a blend of online sleuthing and real-world exploration. Here’s how you can start:

Online Research:

In today’s digital age, the internet is your best friend. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are gold mines for discovering tattoo artists. Search for hashtags relevant to your desired style, such as #RealismTattoo or #WatercolorTattoo, to see examples of artists' work or the area such as #Bournemouthtattoo. These platforms allow artists to showcase their portfolios and provide a glimpse into their artistic style and skill level.

The visual portfolio can help you understand their strengths and whether their style aligns with your vision.

These social platforms are also filled with so called tattoo artists also so please consider the other aspects we will advice below.

Offline Research:

Tattoo conventions and local studio visits are crucial steps in your quest. Tattoo conventions bring together artists from various regions, offering a unique opportunity to see their work up close and even have a chat with them about your ideas. Local studios, on the other hand, allow you to get a feel for the environment where the magic happens.

For example, visiting a local tattoo studio such as Jynx Tattoo & Piercing in Bournemouth can be like stepping into an artist’s gallery. You can see the cleanliness of the workspace, the professionalism of the staff, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of an artist at work. This firsthand experience provides valuable insights that online research alone can’t offer.

Check Portfolios:

A tattoo artist’s portfolio is similar to looking at a resume. It showcases their best work and gives you a sense of their artistic capabilities. When examining portfolios, look for diversity and consistency. A well-rounded artist should have a portfolio that displays proficiency in various styles and techniques.

Questions to Consider:

  • How do I find reviews and feedback about tattoo artists?
  • What should I look for in a tattoo artist's portfolio?

Real Examples: Consider Sarah, a university student from Bournemouth who wanted a detailed, delicate mandala tattoo. She spent weeks scouring Instagram and visiting local studios. After narrowing down her choices, she decided on an artist whose portfolio showcased exceptional mandala work. Sarah made all the right decisions which lead to a beautiful tattoo as a result.

Finding the right tattoo artist requires time and effort, but the payoff is a tattoo you’ll love for years to come. By leveraging online platforms, visiting conventions, and examining portfolios, you can ensure you find an artist who not only matches your style but also delivers high-quality work.

Which Tattoo Artist Should I Choose?

Style Specialization

Selecting a tattoo artist is akin to choosing a painter for a custom piece of art. You wouldn’t commission a landscape artist to paint your portrait, right? The same logic applies to tattoos. Tattoo styles range from realism and traditional to watercolor and geometric designs, each requiring specific skills and techniques.

Imagine you want a hyper-realistic portrait of your pet. You’d look for an artist who excels in realism, someone whose portfolio is filled with lifelike portraits. The detail and precision needed for realism are immense, and only an artist with expertise in this style can do justice to your vision such as Antonio

For instance, John, who was fascinated by Japanese-style tattoos, spent weeks researching artists who specialized in traditional Japanese art. He found an artist whose portfolio was brimming with beautiful koi fish, samurais, and cherry blossoms, each piece reflecting the intricate detail and cultural depth of the style. John’s dedication to finding the right specialist resulted in a stunning, culturally rich tattoo that he cherishes.

Questions to Consider:

  • What style of tattoo am I looking for?
  • Does the artist have extensive experience in this style?

Experience and Expertise

Experience is a critical factor in choosing a tattoo artist. Like fine wine, an artist’s skills often improve with time. An experienced artist has honed their craft, developed a steady hand, and learned to navigate the unexpected challenges that can arise during a tattoo session.

When evaluating an artist's experience, consider the complexity and variety of their work. Have they tackled large, intricate pieces, or is their portfolio mostly simple designs? A well-rounded portfolio suggests adaptability and a broad skill set.

Questions to Consider:

  • How many years has the artist been tattooing?
  • Does their portfolio include a range of tattoo styles and sizes?

Real Examples: Consider Alex from Poole, Dorset, who was getting his first tattoo. He was understandably nervous and wanted to ensure he chose the right artist. During his research, Alex found Steph with numerous glowing reviews and a diverse portfolio. The artist’s experience and professionalism put Alex at ease, and his tattoo healed beautifully, confirming he made the right choice.

Hygiene and Safety

Hygiene and safety are non-negotiable when it comes to tattoos. A clean and safe environment not only prevents infections but also reflects the professionalism of the artist. When visiting a studio, pay attention to their hygiene practices. Are the workstations clean? Is the equipment sterilized? Does the artist use new needles and gloves for each client?

A tattoo artist should also hold a license from their local governing body such as BCP Council

A professional tattoo artist will prioritize your safety and comfort. They should be willing to discuss their hygiene practices and answer any questions you have. Don’t hesitate to walk away if you have any doubts about the cleanliness of a studio.

Questions to Consider:

  • Does the studio follow strict hygiene protocols?
  • Are the needles and equipment sterilized?
    How to Judge Tattoo Quality

The foundation of any great tattoo lies in its line work. Clean, consistent lines are essential for a tattoo that stands the test of time. When evaluating an artist’s portfolio, pay close attention to the lines in their tattoos. Are they smooth and even, without any wobbles or gaps? Good line work indicates a steady hand and a high level of skill.

Imagine the lines in a tattoo as the framework of a building. Just as a solid foundation is crucial for structural integrity, precise line work is vital for the overall quality of a tattoo. Even the most beautifully shaded or colored tattoos can falter if the line work is subpar.

Questions to Consider:

  • Are the lines in the artist’s work clean and consistent?
  • Do the tattoos maintain their quality over time?

Shading and Coloring

Shading and coloring bring depth and life to a tattoo. Smooth shading and even coloring are indicators of a skilled artist. Look for gradients that transition seamlessly and colors that are vibrant and consistent. Poor shading can make a tattoo look flat, while blotchy coloring can detract from its overall appearance.

Think of shading and coloring as the brushstrokes in a painting. The way an artist blends and applies colors can transform a simple design into a masterpiece. A skilled artist will use shading to create dimension and contrast, enhancing the tattoo's visual impact.

Questions to Consider:

  • How smooth and consistent is the shading in the artist’s work?
  • Are the colors vibrant and evenly applied?

Healing and Aftercare

A tattoo’s true quality often reveals itself after it has healed. Well-done tattoos should maintain their clarity and vibrancy over time. Ask to see healed photos of the artist’s work to gauge how their tattoos age. This will give you a better idea of the long-term quality you can expect.

Questions to Consider:

  • How do the artist’s tattoos look after they’ve healed?
  • Does the artist provide detailed aftercare instructions?

Real Examples: I have been getting tattoos for the past 18 years now and due to my research on choosing the right artist, aftercare and in all honesty having good skin has helped with keeping my tattoos vibrant all these years later.

How to Trust Your Tattoo Artist

Communication and Comfort

Building trust with your tattoo artist is crucial for a successful tattoo experience. Open and honest communication is key. A good tattoo artist will take the time to understand your vision, answer your questions, and address any concerns you may have. They should make you feel comfortable and confident in their abilities.

Questions to Consider:

  • Is the artist willing to listen to your ideas and concerns?
  • Do they communicate clearly and professionally?

Professionalism and Reputation

A professional tattoo artist will have a solid reputation within the community. Look for artists who are respected by their peers and have positive reviews from clients. A strong reputation is a good indicator of an artist’s reliability and skill.

Think of it like choosing a doctor—you want someone who is highly recommended and has a track record of success. Similarly, a tattoo artist with a good reputation is likely to be someone you can trust with your skin.

Questions to Consider:

  • What do past clients say about the artist?
  • Does the artist have a strong professional reputation?
  • What is Tattoo Saturation and How to Tell if it is Done Well?

Understanding Tattoo Saturation

Tattoo saturation refers to the intensity and consistency of color or shading in a tattoo. Proper saturation ensures that the tattoo appears vibrant and solid, with colors that are evenly distributed and shading that is smooth and consistent.

Think of tattoo saturation as the difference between a vibrant painting and a faded poster. A well-saturated tattoo will have bold, consistent colors and smooth gradients, making the design pop and stand out.

Signs of Good Saturation

Good saturation is characterized by uniform color distribution and smooth shading. There shouldn’t be any patchy or uneven areas. The colors should look vibrant and solid, and the shading should blend seamlessly without harsh lines or inconsistencies.

For example, imagine a tattoo of a bright red rose. In a well-saturated tattoo, the red petals will appear bold and consistent, with smooth transitions between light and dark areas, creating a lifelike appearance.

Questions to Consider:

  • Are the colors vibrant and evenly distributed?
  • Is the shading smooth and consistent?

Here are some key bullet points highlighting what is needed for a good tattoo:


  • Balanced and harmonious arrangement of elements.
  • Flow and placement that complement the body’s natural lines.
  • Attention to symmetry and proportion.


  • Even and consistent application of color and shading.
  • Vibrant and solid colors that don't fade unevenly over time.
  • Smooth gradients without patchy areas.


  • Clear distinction between light and dark areas.
  • Effective use of black and gray to create depth and dimension.
  • High contrast to make the tattoo stand out and maintain visibility as it ages.


  • Strong and recognizable outline or shape.
  • Clear edges that help define the overall design.
  • Important for ensuring the tattoo remains identifiable even from a distance or as it ages.

Line Work:

  • Clean, smooth, and consistent lines.
    No wobbling, blowouts, or gaps.
  • Precision in fine details and outlines.


  • Smooth and even shading to create depth and texture.
  • Gradients that blend seamlessly.
    Use of different shading techniques to enhance the design.


  • Intricate details that add to the overall design.
  • Careful attention to small elements without overcrowding.
  • Details that remain clear and sharp as the tattoo heals.

Artistic Style:

  • The artist’s unique style that matches the client’s vision.
  • Mastery of specific tattoo styles, whether traditional, realism, watercolor, etc.
  • Consistency in the artist’s work, showcasing their strengths and expertise.

Hygiene and Safety:

  • Clean and sterile environment.
    Use of new needles and properly sanitized equipment.
  • Following proper aftercare instructions to ensure healing.

Ensuring these elements are present in a tattoo can significantly impact its quality, longevity, and overall aesthetic appeal.

I hope this article How to Find a Good Tattoo Artist helpful and of some use. Please check out some of our other articles including AUTISM FRIENDLY TATTOO STUDIO BOURNEMOUTH

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