Once you've decided on your idea or general direction, you'll need to
find a tattooist that can bring your concept (or maybe just a blank
location on your body) to a tattooed reality. So it's a good idea to
research as many artists as you can, and always check for a few things:
Technical Proficiency: When
you look at a tattoo artist's portfolio, make sure the line work and
edges are smooth and crisp. The colors and shading should be deliberate
and well-healed. Overall, a well-done tattoo should be clear,
recognizable, and hold as much detail as the depicted image demands.
Look for a consistently good technique throughout the entire portfolio,
and if you find only a few examples that you like, maybe you should
continue looking elsewhere.
If you're looking for a realistic portrait, you wouldn't want someone
who specializes in tribal. In other words, every tattooist has their
given specialties, so it's important to match the style of tattoo with
the style of artist. Most artists excel in one style of work over
another, and their style of tattooing should blend nicely with the image
or idea you have for your final tattoo.
Personal Interaction: If
you're working out an idea for a tattoo, you'll need to find an artist
that you can talk to. Find someone that is friendly and willing to
answer your questions, and is willing to listen and communicate
throughout the process. Also, be willing to hear what the artist might
suggest for the tattoo, because the way they interpret an idea onto skin
can provide a whole new perspective on the direction of the piece.