How to choose my tattoo artist?

Before going under the needles

The hatching of tattooing in recent years has considerably contributed to the development of the job of tattoo artist, there would be more than 5,000 in France according to the SNAT (National Union of French Artists).

Only strength is to note that in matters of tattooing the talent is not equivocal, and that behind the word "tattoo artist" hide very heterogeneous levels as well as different styles and universes.

In this article, we will discover some good practices to adopt to not be mistaken in the choice of his future tattoo artist.

Know how to recognize a good tattoo

For some, the feeling is the first of the arguments to choose their tattoo artist. Unless you attach no importance to aesthetics, it will be hard to encourage you to apply this rule. Although, of course, having a good feeling with your tattoo artist is important, the essential point is to appreciate his work.

Here are some tips that will allow you to appreciate – objectively – the quality of work done by your tattoo artist.

The linework

It's about drawing lines. In terms of tattooing it's very simple: the lines must be regular. It is the ba-ba, but yet it is so simple! The linework is the regularity of the lines that will determine the outline of your tattoo. This is also often what will start your tattoo. So learn to observe the contours of a tattoo, to see if the lines are of a regular thickness, if they are straight when they must be. That's the begining, Padawan!

Moreover, let us specify one important thing: we often hear that knowing how to make a straight line is the basis. So yes, that may be the case, but that does not mean it's simple. If you doubt, take a pen and try to make a straight line on a piece of paper. Now imagine that the tattoo artist has to do this, but with a dermograph and on skin. All this to say that in tattooing, the least acquired requires a lot of work (and talent)!

Linework and tattoo

Take voluntarily two tattoos that have been acclaimed on Facebook (not in the same proportions, but all the same). On the left the lines are regular, the points sublime, and it almost gives the impression that the tattoo was made in pencil. On the right, it's less obvious. Some lines are fickle, the lines are irregular, imperfect symmetry. It is not a horror, but by looking closely we realize that the tattoo is full of imperfections. For info, and it's not a bad thing, it was made by a tattoo artist liked by nearly 3,000 people on Facebook.


The beautiful shades make beautiful tattoos! We find on all tattoos and they are not easy to achieve. For simplicity, a beautiful shading is characterized in two ways: a gradual evolution of hues and contrasts clearly defined.

the shadows in the tattoo

This time we have selected two antipodes tattoos to accentuate the nuance. One is very successful, with soft and progressive shading, several shades of gray and very marked contrasts. The other has poor shading, there is no shade and there are only two different colors on the rose.

Saturation and shine

In colorimetry, saturation refers to visual perception. In tattoo we can translate it in the following way: the colors are they net? Regular? Dense? It's very simplified, but it allows you to quickly understand the concept. Here are two examples of good and bad practices!

saturation and shine in the tattoo

It is not the type of colors that matters, but their consistency. In other words, it does not matter if the colors are flashy or pale, what is necessary is that they are "full". This is the case on the left tattoo where the colors are controlled and bring almost a texture to the tattoo. On the right, it's much less clear. It lacks saturation (the color does not have the same intensity).

Which studio to choose?

The specialties

The majority of tattoo artists have a specialty. Also you will need to define the style of the tattoo you want to make and contact a specialist tattoo artist. Typically, you can love the work of an excellent old school tattoo artist, but if you want to get a tattoo portrait (realistic tattoo), it's useless to ask.


Here are two examples of tattoo artists recognized in their specialty. Right, Greg Briko, old school tattoo specialist. Left Nikko Hurtado, realistic tattoo specialist. If it is two sizes, do not ask one to do the work of the other.

Sure, we propose a search engine that allows you to filter according to a style. This will allow you to make a first filter before looking in detail at the work of tattoo artists that may interest you. You can also browse our page Facebookit will also help you to watch!

The distance to go to find the right tattooist

In France we are fortunate to have enough talented tattoo artists to not have to cross the country to find, in the style that suits you, a tattooist able to make your tattoo. This does not mean that you have to go to the tattooist at the corner of the street on the pretext that he displays "specialist of such or such style" on the window of his studio.

That being said, it is possible that you have had a glimpse of the work of a particular tattoo artist and that he lives on the other side of the country. In this case, first take the time to contact him to explain your situation. Many tattoo artists make "guests" in France and abroad, that is to say they take their bags for a few days and move to another studio. It is therefore possible that the tattooist in question comes sting in your area in the year, and that there is still room to care for your skin! Also inquire about the convention program. The conventions are tattoo artist gatherings and they are open to the public. There are all year round, and all over France. The best known being The World Tattoo in Paris and the Cantal Ink in Chaudes-Aigues. But there are many conventions, and in almost all the cities of France!

Finally, it may sound like a boat, but you will keep your tattoo all your life and if the solutions mentioned above do not go in your direction, maybe it's worth it to invest in train tickets and possibly a night to get stung by the tattoo artist of your choice. Take it as a weekend getaway and the opportunity to experience a new region!


It's a important subject which we regularly dedicate papers! And here are two rules that we recommend you follow: never work with a tattooist at home (by home we hear those who travel to your home, not to be confused with tattoo artists who work in private studio), and do not have afraid to enter a studio to inspect the premises.

Finally, be aware that your tattooist must wear gloves when stinging you and that the material must be sterilized or disposable. If these conditions are not met then do not take chances, go your way. It should be noted, however, that the vast majority of French tattoo artists are irreproachable in hygienic matters, and that the hygiene and sanitation certificate is mandatory for every tattoo artist. ClubtTattoonow gives this precision.

Traps to avoid

It will now be necessary to look at a maximum of tattoos to accustom your eye and quickly recognize a good or bad tattoo. But there are some pitfalls to avoid before committing yourself!

Communities on social networks

Do not be fooled by the tattoo artist's Facebook community where you look at the work. Firstly because with advertising many pages are artificially inflated, and then the most followed work is not necessarily the best. Know for example that the tattoos of illustrations that we presented to you at the top of the article are all made by tattoo artists with more than a thousand fans on Facebook (including those to avoid).

Union members

Being unionized does not mean being talented. The French tattoo unions do a remarkable job, especially compared to our European neighbors, but they do not select their members according to qualitative criteria. So, do not be fooled: being unionized does not mean being talented.

Note, however, that the SNAT imposes on its members a charter in which the tattooist agrees to respect the standards of hygiene in force (although the French law requires it) and to produce a creative work. Not enough to break three legs to a duck, but it's better than nothing.

The rates

We told you earlier, a quality tattoo is relatively expensive. Relatively because on a month's salary it stings, but on a life it's nothing! The prices vary according to several criteria: the rating of the tattooer of course, its geographical location, the prices are not the same in Paris, the province or the countryside (the rents you will not notice either). The own estimate that the tattoo artist makes of his work also comes into play.

In France, many tattoo artists work at an hourly rate. It generally varies between 60 and 150 € according to the criteria mentioned above. But beware ! It is not because a tattooist charges a service at 150 € per hour that he is good!

More questions about tattooing?

Discover our Tattoopedia section!


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