Before going out and talking to tattoo artists around town, I first wanted to know just what I was getting myself into financially.
As I’m sure you’ve already found out, it’s difficult to say exactly how much any specific tattoo will cost without asking an artist themselves. BUT, you can get a general idea…
Most tattoo artists charge by the hour, or how long they are actually inking your body. After asking around my local area, I found $120/hour to be about the average pricing. This can definitely differ depending on where you live and how available tattoo shops are, but $100/hour is a pretty solid range to start at.
How do you tell how long a tattoo will take to complete? It depends on a few factors, the most obvious being size. Bigger tattoos will cost more; the more ink, the longer the session and the higher the cost. Next, there is shading. A solid silhouette tattoo will take less time because of the lack of detail. More shaded tattoos will take more time to complete because of the complexity of the multiple levels of ink. (You can find a great example of this under the “My Ink” page. The solid silhouette tattoo took only 30 minutes to complete, while the feather foot tattoo of a similar size took 2 hours to finish). Another thing to consider is whether or not you are getting a color tattoo or just a black and grey scale one. Colored tattoos tend to cost more because of the amount of extra blending and shading required that add extra time to your session.
As a final word, cost should NEVER be a priority when getting a tattoo. You get what you pay for. If you cannot afford that tattoo you want, you will be temped to settle for a cheaper artist or a smaller tattoo, but don’t. It’s well worth the wait to get the ink you want at the quality you will be happy with for the rest of your life. It will be on your body forever (as I’m sure you’ve been told over and over and over) so pay for the best, even if it means waiting a few months or years.
Enjoy and Happy Inking!