How to Talent Scout a Professional Tattoo Artist

Published on June 24, 2014 by Jodie Michalak


The best part about tattoos is that they are permanent. Unlike most purchases you will make in your lifetime, when you get tattooed you're wearing a tangible piece of art.


With that said, the cost of a tattoo over the years breaks down to a pretty affordable investment, regardless of the artist, the size, the location, and even any touch-up work.


For best results you should always spend the most you can afford, so long as the quality warrants the cost.


While many rockstar tattooists have portfolios that are boastful and impressive, there’s always a hidden professional tattoo artist that flies way under the radar. Are you wondering how to lower the cost of your tattoo without sacrificing the outcome? Be open-minded, and consider work from new talent. This is what you should look for:


Interesting: Your potential gem-in-the-making tattoo artist should have lots of artistic interests outside of work. The more she is engaging her mind and creativity, the more likely she'll  bring that art to the table, time and time again. If he’s busy at the library or she’s baking cakes or knitting, you’ve found someone that likes a challenge and feeds both his mind and soul. This is important for ongoing inspiration.


Training: The best part about finding an apprentice is that he spent years working under an established tattoo artist, learning the skills and fundamental techniques of his craft. Call around to the most credible shops in your area and find out who is training. Find out when she'll be ready to tattoo professionally, and then go in and meet the tattoo artist when it’s time. Most new artists will be excited to share tattoo ideas with a clientele because they’re ready to build their own audience. Better yet, you’ll probably get extra attention and care from a professional rookie.


Artistic Traits: In addition to his interesting quirks and years of training, look for a tattoo artist that has natural artistic inclinations. How do she put herself together? What sort of things does she draw or listen to in her free time? There are so many mediocre tattoo artists that buy machines off the Internet and get to work, simply because they have a bit of skill sketching, but they’re not necessarily artistically inclined. A truly artistic person tends to be a little eccentric, often quiet or mysterious, and sometimes lives in her own little world. Of course he can be outspoken as well, but a dark horse is usually the best kept secret.


Pay attention to these behaviors when you meet with a new tattoo artist. It will help you decide whether or not they have the ability to turn your mere idea into a fantastical piece of body art.


Request a custom design: Now is your artist’s time to shine. Deliver tattoo ideas and details and allow him some freedom to create something for you. If you’re in love with his work, make it permanent. If you’re not, request some changes. See how well your artist can adapt to your demands and you’ll discover not only her versatility, but another aspect of her creativity. Every artist loves a challenge.


Refer friends: The last step in finding a talented tattoo artist applies only after you are thrilled with the results. Spread the word! Your rookie tattoo artist deserves to shine. It took her years to get to this point in her career. She catered to your requests. Spent time sharing her own advice, and delivered a phenomenal piece of art, perhaps far below the cost of her mentors. You can bet her prices and skills will both inflate over time, so give her some business referrals and help the rest of the world get a quality tattoo from a professional tattoo artist. Better yet, ask him to create a Member Profile  on so he can begin uploading photos and building his portfolio. Then you can visit, share and review your tattoo artist and watch them rise.


Image courtesy Inkwell LLC


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