Tattoo Ideas: Portraits
Written by: Jaclyn Popola
If you've ever watched the show "Miami Ink" on TLC, you'll be familiar with renowned tattoo artist Kat von D, who specializes in portrait tattoos. Customers seek her out when they want a facial reproduction of an idol or loved one tattooed on their skin. A good deal of portraits are tattooed as a memorial to a loved one who has passed (animals included), and getting the tattoo tends to be an emotional process for some people, so it's important that the tattoo artist be courteous, sensitive and respectful with your wishes. An expert in her field, Kat has done hundreds of portrait tattoos. Portrait tattoos are complex. The level of detail that goes into a portrait requires an implicit understanding of shading, blending and other artistic techniques. The artist doing the tattoo will also need a photograph to base the design on.
As with any body modification, do your research ahead of time. Portrait tattoos require a certain degree of skill that not every tattoo artist has, and an amount of talent that not every tattoo artist is capable of. If you know someone who has a portrait tattoo you have seen firsthand and that you admire, ask them for a referral to the parlor or artist they went to. If you are going by an online recommendation or selecting a tattoo artist out of the blue, ask to see some examples of their work beforehand. Most seasoned tattooists have put together a portfolio displaying samples of work they have done. The best portfolios will have a picture of the finished tattoo alongside a copy of the original photograph. You want to make sure that the completed tat is realistic, and that it actually looks like the person it's supposed to resemble.
Keep in mind that there is a minimum size requirement for portrait tattoos. The absolute smallest a tattoo artist will go is about 3"x3", and that's pushing it. The smaller the tattoo, the less detail you will see in the finished product. Typical size ranges from 4"x6" and larger, which should fit nicely on an adult shoulder.
Pople TattoosClick thumbnail to view full-size
ANIMAL TATTOOSClick thumbnail to view full-size
Celebrity Portrait TattoosClick thumbnail to view full-size
All images courtesy of bmezine.com