The Do’s and Don’ts of Tattoo Placement

tattoo placement

Did you know 46 % of Americans have a tattoo? Tattoos have become super popular, and people have pursued careers within the industry.

As a new tattoo artist, understanding tattoo placement options and considerations will help guide your clients. If you would like some tips on tattoo placement, keep reading.

This guide will teach you what to consider when picking a location. Your client might work for a company where they need to cover their tattoo.

Check out the tips we have for you below.

Is the Tattoo Visible?

Tattoos will usually remain a lifelong commitment. That’s why it is essential for a client to consider where they will place the new tattoo carefully. Think long-term and if they will still feel comfortable with the tattoo in 20 years.

There are options for tattoo removal now, but it’s an expensive and complicated process. Some people will get away with covering up their tattoos with makeup.

When thinking about the location, your client should also consider their career. Will they be able to have a tattoo in a noticeable area?

Some professions, like the education or financial sector, might ask workers to cover up a tattoo. Law firms, government offices, or law enforcement might also ask employees to cover tattoos.

No matter your clients’ career, you also want to encourage people to rethink an inappropriate tattoo that will remain visible to the public. Pick a discrete location where they can still express themselves.

Consider the Design

There are new design choices like graphic line work or delicate designs that are colorful.

Lettering and word tattoos are popular. Yet, when you’re working with a client, ask them if they’re certain about the word.

You might want to encourage people to steer clear from using a name. There is the potential that they won’t be with their partner in the future.

Ask the client to consider the font and size to make sure it matches their style.

A doodle-style tattoo has become a lot more popular in later years. Some people will get sleeves from the doodles. Your client can incorporate different interests this way.

What Clients Should Do Beforehand

Clients shouldn’t drink alcohol before their tattoo session. They also shouldn’t take painkillers like aspirin or ibuprofen. Advise clients to avoid these at least two days beforehand.

Painkillers and alcohol will thin a person’s blood, and their body won’t heal as quickly.

Blood thinners can also make a session super messy and affect the end product.

Some people will use a layer of numbing gel or cream an hour before the session.

Body Location and Design

Depending on the tattoo’s complexity and size, your client might have a better region suited to the tattoo.

Detailed portraits look better on a flat body than on a squished part like an ankle or elbow.

Delicate or simple tattoos like a small word or shape will suit small areas like behind an ear or on their wrist.

Flowers will look nice in most areas.

Will You Add Tattoos to a Greater Design?

Some people choose to add their tattoos to a larger design. Try considering a design and area that will suit your current tattoos.

Your client might have a few single pieces that don’t relate to others.

When a follow-up client makes an appointment, ask them about their goal.

Do they want something new? Some people will prefer to add to their current tattoo.

If they want a sleeve, they might break it up into multiple sessions.

Consider Pain Points

Some people are way more susceptible to pain compared to others.

Certain studies have shown that different people are more predisposed to sensing higher pain levels. Studies show that women feel more pain compared to men.

Pain tolerance is essential when looking at a new tattoo.

Some people are new to tattoos and might consider a body part with fewer nerve endings or more padding. These regions will absorb the needle scratching better. You should suggest post-treatment, as well.

Neck, Face, or Head Regions

Neck and face tattoos have become more popular. They are the most painful regions of the body to get tattoos.

There are so many nerve endings on a person’s face, neck, and head, which cause irritation or severe pain.

Getting tattoos on some areas of your face, like your lips, can often lead to bleeding, bruising, or swelling.

This usually generates a higher amount of pain after the tattoos are completed.

Getting a Forearm Tattooed

Depending on your client’s tolerance level, consider suggesting a forearm tattoo. This is a good option if they can handle low-to-moderate pain.

Tattooing closely to your client’s wrist will often cause vibrating pain. This sensation isn’t as harmful compared to other areas. The pain intensity will depend on the clients’ physical build and if they have fat or skin on the bones.

Tattoos on Hands or Fingers

For people new to tattooing or pain sensitivity, you might not want to suggest choosing these areas.

There are many bones and ligaments in the hands and fingers, thus making them more pain sensitive. Also, the skin on your fingers and hands is thinner.

If your client is set on getting their hands or fingers tattooed, they could pick the non-dominant hand to prevent pain while healing.

Will Your Client Tattoo Their Outer Bicep?

People often choose their outer bicep for a tattoo. They can pick a single area or invest in an entire sleeve.

The outer bicep will not experience the same pain as the inner bicep.

What About Your Ribcage?

Some people will get a tattoo on their rib but say it’s the most painful region.

The reason is the skin is thin in your ribcage, and there isn’t a lot of muscle or fat padding the area.

Your client will more distinctly feel the scratching pain from the needle.

Getting a Stomach Tattoo

The pain your client might experience from a stomach tattoo will depend on their body weight.

The tattoos will feel more painful if the client is heavier and has loose skin.

If your client has a fit physique, they will often have a less painful experience. Tighter skin and muscles will help.

Back Tattoo

The lower and upper back are the least painful regions for tattoos. The skin on your back is thicker and has fewer nerve endings.

The lower and upper back and outer shoulders are less painful.

However, if you get a tattoo too close to the hips and spine, your client will experience pain.

Tattoo Goals

If your client wants to get more tattoos, you should ask them for more information. This will help you discern whether they will add more later.

Some clients will add a complete sleeve layer but begin with a small tattoo.

They might want to cover it up or incorporate the small tattoo into a larger design.

It’s challenging to turn a sleeve into a full sleeve. Make sure you let the client know what they should consider before beginning the process. You may end up with a viral tattoo.

What About the Style of the Tattoo?

The style of your tattoos will matter, and ask the client about the design.

Fine-line tattoos are popular at the moment. Some people prefer delicate designs. But these types of tattoos suit particular regions.

Fine lines will stick to areas that don’t get much traffic. You’ll want to caution clients about getting a fine-line tattoo on an ankle, wrist, or finger. The person may need to get it touched up more often.

Some people might ask for a tattoo in white ink. If you are new to white ink, reach out to an experienced tattoo artist.

Meeting local tattoo artists will help you build your knowledge and understanding. You can ask questions and learn more about trends.

Shadowing at a popular shop will be an educational experience. You can watch how clients decide on locations. Listen to how tattoo artists guide their clients.

Some people will attend a tattoo academy and work under reputable tattoo artists in the industry. Keep building your skills and resume as a budding artist.

Understanding Tattoo Placement

We hope you found this guide helpful in providing advice regarding tattoo placement.

As a tattoo artist, you must know how to guide clients with tattoo placement.

Make sure you discuss their plans and their career aspirations.

Want to learn more? If you’re an aspiring tattoo artist, consider contacting us today for more information.