The Ultimate Guide On How Much Do Tattoos Cost And Choosing A Tattoo Artist

The Ultimate Guide On How Much Do Tattoos Cost And Choosing A Tattoo Artist

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So you have decided to get a deeply personal inspirational design, your partner's name, or Pokémon tattooed on your body forever. Unlike a car, computer, or cell phone a tattoo is a big-ticket item that lasts forever. But how much do tattoos cost?

There are a few elements that factor into how much money you sink into your ink? Everything from the popularity of the artist to the nature of the design can dictate your final price. Even the location of the tattoo studio can affect the cost of your tattoo.

It is important to make sure you've thought out your design, researched your artist, reviewed your options, and have the cash to ensure a stress-free process. After all, the last thing you want is an angry tattoo artist putting a design on you that will last a lifetime. Plus, the cost of tattoo removal is a whole other bag of worms.

But Seriously…How Much Do Tattoos Cost?

Pricing Models? Sounds Hot!

So you have decided to get a deeply personal inspirational design, your partner's name, or Pokémon tattooed on your body forever. Unlike a car, computer, or cell phone a tattoo is a big-ticket item that lasts forever. But how much do tattoos cost?

There are a few elements that factor into how much money you sink into your ink? Everything from the popularity of the artist to the nature of the design can dictate your final price. Even the location of the tattoo studio can affect the cost of your tattoo.

It is important to make sure you've thought out your design, researched your artist, reviewed your options, and have the cash to ensure a stress-free process. After all, the last thing you want is an angry tattoo artist putting a design on you that will last a lifetime. Plus, the cost of tattoo removal is a whole other bag of worms.

But Seriously…How Much Do Tattoos Cost?

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Tattoos can run anywhere from $13 dollars to $1300 dollars. Some tattoo shops offer promotions on Friday the 13th. You can get inked for the price of that unlucky number. Meanwhile, an elaborate back piece with an in-demand artist after multiple sessions could cost you $1300 or even a couple grand more.

Gone are the days of getting a drunken tattoo for 50 bucks after a night out drinking. Nowadays, not only are tattoos more popular and widely accepted. Tattoos are an elaborate art form that make a statement about both you and your tattoo artist. Tattoos are an investment so you want to make sure you treat them as such.

Pricing Models? Sounds Hot!

There are two different pricing models. Specific tattoo pricing will vary from artist to artist. But a tattoo artist will either quote you based on the specific design or have an hourly rate.

Some tattoo artists will charge you based on the complexity of the design. This is a bit more old school. If you walk into a Mom and Pop tattoo shop and choose an image off a flash sheet you'll get quoted a price of the design.

There are also tattoo artists that have specific designs. This may be a one-of-a-kind design they create just for you. So they will price accordingly. It's important to factor that in when making decisions so that you don't disrespect the artist just because you get some sticker shock.

The new industry standard for tattoos is an hourly rate. Tattoo artists set an hourly rate for their time…and why shouldn't they. Their rate is usually based on their artistic skill, experience tattooing and popularity. This can range from $50 to $150. Some celebrity tattoo artists obviously charge more. For example, Scott Campbell charges $2000 per hour and $200 for each additional hour.

So What Goes into Tattoo Pricing?

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Tattoo prices are based on a few different factors. There's the difficulty and complexity of the design, the art itself, the artist, the location of the studio, and placement on the body. Some other factors that can affect the pricing are the number of sessions required to finish the tattoo. Also, some special skills and tattoo styles can increase the price.

Supplies

How much do tattoos cost if you want hepatitis? Free. There is a baseline cost to the supplies it takes to tattoo. The needles, ink, and sterilization all factor into the price of tattooing. Whether a dot or a whole sleeve the costs of materials will set the lowest price.

Oftentimes at a reputable studio, just setting up starts at about 50 dollars and that is not counting the artist or their rate. Some tattoos may cost more and some may cost less. But it's important to remember that these materials factor into the price…and are there for your safety.

Design

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It's important to know what you want. There's also nothing wrong with being particular about what you want…especially if it will be on your body forever. But, we must remember a tattoo artist is an artist.

Tattoo artists will work with what you provide them. They'll create an artistic rendering of your tattoo based on whatever reference images or explanation you give them. There is creativity, skill, and actual drawing involved.

It can take time for the tattoo artist to create the design of your dreams. It's customary for an artist to take a deposit for the initial drawing process. Be aware when planning your payments.

How much do tattoos cost if you want them to be good? A lot. You get what you pay for. There are multiple steps in the planning process you will want to consider. It's good to come to your artist with enough information for them to be able to create a clear image based on what you ask for. It's also important that you jive with your artist's style to ensure you both enjoy the process and enjoy the finished work.

The Artist

Certain artists are in demand. And, as they should, they take their art very seriously. Some artists will have exclusive tattoo designs that they'll only tattoo once. After all, one of a kind is insanely valuable.

When choosing a tattoo artist it's important to get a feel for their art. It's also important to check out reference photos of their tattoos on actual skin. A great artist is a great artist. But a great tattoo artist is someone who can execute their drawings on your skin in a hygienic environment, without too much pain, and in a decent amount of time.

More often than not, tattoo artists who have been tattooing long can execute their designs in a decent amount of time. The hourly rate of a tattoo artist is to cover the amount of time, energy, skill, and prep time it takes to tattoo. It factors in the skill it takes to execute a drawing on living breathing flesh. Shouldn't they be paid accordingly?

Color

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How much do tattoos cost when they have multiple colors? Color will raise the price of tattoos. This is not just because of the ink. The price of your tattoo goes up because the tattoo artist must adjust the color in the needle to ensure a clear picture and the right coloring.

Color is the most common thing to affect tattoo prices because it increases the time and complexity of the tattoo.

Location, Location, Location

It's sad to say but the location of the tattoo parlor can affect the pricing. If you try to get a tattoo in a tourist trap you will get gouged. Also, high rental costs can affect the pricing in certain affluent areas.

It's a good idea to focus on the artist and their work over the location. A bad tattoo from a good parlor is still a bad tattoo. And it's a good idea to shop around to get a feel for the store, their hygiene, and the environment.

Sessions

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There is a finite amount of time you spend getting tattooed. As the artist goes into your skin to elaborate on the detail and color, your skin will become inflamed. To execute the art at its best, artists may have you come in for more than one session. A significant amount of color, shading or texture may require two or more sessions.

This adds to the overall price of your tattoo because you must cover each session. But it's for your health, comfort, and the overall look of the design. Luckily, you don't have to pay for the healing time.

Technique

Certain tattoo effects are a special discipline. Certain techniques require special training or specific tools. If you want super thin lines or thick lines it can require specific needles. Specialty tattoos like ones with white or UV/black light ink also require special training or supplies.
The Tebori tattooing technique and other indigenous and tribal tattooing involve completely different processes. They require different needles, hammers and ink. This would affect the price of the tattoo.

American tattoo artists trained in these ancient forms of tattooing are rare. If you want the rare and unique be prepared to pay for it. But it may be more affordable than the price of flying to another country for your tattoo.

Placement

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Not all body parts are made equal. Tattooing certain body parts may require more time. They also may be more labor intensive or put strain on your artist. Certain body parts can affect the amount of time it takes to execute the design effectively. The placement of certain body parts can make it difficult to tattoo. Some tattoo artists avoid tattooing areas that fade quickly like the feet or hand.

Areas like your armpit or certain intimate areas can be difficult to tattoo. This could affect the amount of time it takes to tattoo or the price an artist pays for being that close to your booty. Some tattoo artists may charge more for certain body parts or areas. Some body parts also require additional complexity. So be up front and ask.

Deposits

When signing up to get tattooed it's not unheard of to put down a deposit. Tattoo artists may also require additional time and money to make adjustments to the drawing. The more complex your drawing the more time it may take. Also for large tattoos, an artist may request you leave a deposit ahead of time.

Touch Ups

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Tattoos can cost a decent amount of money. How much do tattoos cost when they are just touch ups? Free! Many tattoo artists will cover touch-ups for free. Be sure to ask as a good artist will be upfront about touch ups and build a relationship with you.

Tips

One added cost for tattoos is a tip. Tattoos, while they are priced pretty high, do require a significant amount of work and time on your artist's part. So you will want to ensure that you throw your tattoo artist a bone.

Ultimately, it's about fairness. How much tattoos cost is ultimately dependent on how much work and talent of your artist. But your gratuity should still be 20%.
How much do tattoos cost is a pretty complex question. It will vary from artist to artist but now you are armed with all the information you need to select the right artist. You know what you need to make an educated and informed choice. And best of all you know how to get the most bang for your buck.


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Preston D. Harris

Preston is our most junior writer, still studying for a graduate degree in philosophy. He began his writing while covering sports club activities for his high school newspaper and discovered he liked it too much to let it go post-graduation.
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