How to Plan a Tattoo Sleeve

How to Plan a Tattoo Sleeve

The Strategy of How to Time and Plan a Tattoo Sleeve

From the design, budget, and number of sessions it will take, you need to first strategize how to plan a tattoo sleeve before embarking on this design journey.

Are you planning your next big tattoo project? Getting a sleeve is no joke and it’s a big commitment. It requires a lot of planning, money, and time. Do you know how to plan a tattoo sleeve?

Planning a big tattoo takes some forethought. It’s not like grabbing a quick flash piece on Friday the 13th or adding a new piece to your thigh. It’s an entire project and you need to decide how you want it to look. You only have so much space.

Does this sound overwhelming to you? We get it. We’re here to offer some advice so you can get your new sleeve started. Keep reading to learn all about strategizing and planning a tattoo sleeve that you’re going to be proud to show off.

Decide: Full Sleeve or Half Sleeve?

The first step for planning your tattoo sleeve is figuring out whether you want a full sleeve (one that runs all the way from your wrist to your shoulder) or a half sleeve (which runs from either your wrist to your elbow or your elbow to your shoulder.

Planning a half sleeve tattoo is often more complicated than the full sleeve because you only have so much room and it tends to be more important that everything looks cohesive. We’ll talk about cohesion later on.

Half sleeves will be more affordable and they’ll take less time than full sleeves. Full sleeves have a more jarring visual effect (which some people want). Artists will be happy to work with you when you’re trying to decide and they can make suggestions based on your preexisting tattoos and on what will work best with your body.

Eclectic, Cohesive, or a Mix? You Choose

Sleeves come in two primary varieties: eclectic and cohesive.

Eclectic sleeves tend to have a basic idea in mind and they’re patchworked together over time. These sleeves require less planning but just as much attention to detail as their cohesive counterparts.

Eclective sleeves can still have cohesion. You might work with one artist throughout the process, or choose one color, style, or theme as a throughline. For example, many people have sleeves full of American traditional tattoos that don’t “go together” per se, but they still look like they were done with intention because they match.

Other people choose blackwork for their sleeves, or an arm full of florals. While these things aren’t all part of one piece in a traditional way, they still make up a whole.

Cohesive sleeves are based on one project. You come in with something in mind and the tattoo artist will come up with a single piece that covers your entire (or half) arm. While this takes more planning in the design stages, you don’t have the task of filling in all kinds of small leftover spaces from an eclectic sleeve.

Blackout sleeves are trendy right now, which is a full sleeve of black ink or black ink with white or skin-colored designs, like a reversal of the traditional tattoo sleeve.

Pick a Style and Artist

There are all kinds of tattoo styles to choose from. Because a tattoo sleeve is such a huge commitment, it’s important that you pick a style that you love. You’ll be seeing a lot of it.

American traditional and Japanese traditional are two popular styles for tattoo sleeves because they include bold lines and shading so you know that the sleeve will have longevity. Some people like sleeves full of tribal-style tattoos, or sacred geometry designs.

If you’re doing a completely cohesive piece, you’ll have one style for the entirety of the arm. You want to choose an artist that’s adept with that style, not just your favorite local artist who’s done other styles of work that you like.

Visit local shops for portfolio books and check out the Instagram accounts and galleries of local artists to see portfolios. These portfolios will help you decide who the right person for the job is.

Talk With Your Artist

Once you’ve chosen your artist, it’s time to have a consultation. Tattoo consultations are often free (though you will make a deposit that goes into the final cost of your tattoo. That deposit covers the time and effort your artist will put into the art in case you choose to not get the tattoo).

While you may come in with ideas, don’t come in with a sleeve that you want an exact copy of. Instead, come in with concepts and other drawings that have a similar feeling to what you have in mind.

An artist’s job is to make art, not copy. Your tattoo artist will make a design that suits your needs and works best with your form. Many will make small alterations on the day of. They know that a sleeve is a commitment.

Schedule Carefully

Some artists will give you the option of scheduling a sleeve for one day. If this happens to be your first tattoo, don’t choose this option. Even if you’re a tattoo veteran it might be too much for you.

It’s wise to schedule blocks in several-hour increments depending on your pain tolerance.

Talk to your artist about how they prefer to schedule large projects like this and make sure to discuss the cost. Because most artists charge by the hour, they may want you to pay as you go or they may want a larger upfront sum.

If you aren’t doing it all in one go, it’s best to give yourself time to heal between sessions (especially if you’re doing lines and color or shading on separate days).

Now That You Know How to Plan a Tattoo Sleeve, Get Started!

how to plan a sleeve tattooKnowing how to plan a tattoo sleeve is the first part of the battle. The actual planning? Much more difficult.

Find a great artist who can help you bring your tattoo sleeve ideas to life. We know planning a big tattoo is hard and we want to make sure that you get something that you love.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started.

Tattoo Placement

Tattoo Placement

5 Things To Consider For Your Tattoo Placement

The tattoo.

Once a sign of deviance, having one or more of them has become increasingly popular over the years. Nearly 40% of Americans aged 18-39 have at least one tattoo and the number is growing.

In fact, the tattoo industry is the 6th fastest-growing industry in the United States. On average, there’s one new tattoo studio opened in the country every single day.

Has the urge to get inked affected you? Maybe you’re considering your first piece, or maybe you’re thinking of adding a new one to your personal canvas. Either way, tattoo placement is a thing to consider — tattoo regret is real.

So, where’s the best spot for a new tattoo? Read on for five top tips for tattoo placement.

1. Tattoo Placement: Think Spacing

If you already know what you want as a tattoo, this can go a long way to figuring out where to put it.

Small tattoo placement can be easier on the one hand because they can go just about anywhere. On the other hand, more options might make it harder to decide.

It usually makes the most sense to put a small tattoo on a smaller part of the body to avoid making it look out of place. Your wrist, ankle, foot, or behind the ear are good bets.

Placing a small tattoo in this way also avoids taking up a large space when you might want to use it for a bigger one later.

For larger tattoo placement, your options are more limited, but this can also make it easier to choose. If you’re thinking of a big piece, your back, thighs, calves, or shoulder are the best candidates.

2. Fit the Art to the Canvas

The shape of the tattoo itself can help you determine where to put it. Does your plan take up round or rectangular space? Is it oblong? Do you want it to be vertical or horizontal?

Longer, thinner pieces, including vertical or horizontal text, work well going down your back or leg or along your forearm. Alternatively, if you want to make a band out of them, they could wrap around any part of your leg or arm.

Round pieces work well on the chest, the back, or the outside of the shoulder.

When you’ve settled on a tattoo idea, start visualizing the way it will take up various spaces on your body. Look for body parts with a similar shape to the tattoo.

3. Who’s It For?

A big consideration in picking a spot should be your intended audience. Do you want to be able to see it? Do you want strangers to be able to see it?

If you’ve got an idea for a tattoo that has a lot of deep, personal relevance to you, chances are you’re going to want to be able to see it.

In this case, pick a spot on the front of your body – places that you can see in the mirror or simply by looking at yourself. Your arms, chest, legs, or stomach are good spots for this. Avoid the back of the body — you might forget you even have the tattoo there from time to time!

Another thing to consider is how much you want others to be able to see your ink.

While acceptance of tattoos in the workplace is on the rise, there is still a stigma around them. In fact, no state in the US has laws preventing discrimination based on tattoos and many employers still find them unacceptable.

If you’re concerned about the impact of your tattoos on your employability, you’ll want to avoid places you can’t hide them. In this case, your face, neck, and hands are probably a no-go.

4. Consider The Pain Factor

Some people who get inked find the pain to be invigorating. Others see it as a necessary evil. Whatever your feelings toward masochism are, it can be helpful to be aware of the pain factor when considering tattoo placement.

Different parts of the body can be more or less sensitive under the needle. Generally speaking, bonier parts of the body are more painful than fleshier ones.

The Most Painful Spots

If you’re trying to minimize the pain of your tattoo, avoid these bony/thin-skinned spots:

  • Ribs
  • Spine
  • Collarbone
  • Wrist/Ankle
  • Finger
  • Sternum
  • Feet/Hands
  • Inside of the upper arm

Middle of the Road

These areas aren’t painless, but are usually more comfortable than the ones listed above:

  • Stomach
  • Back
  • Chest
  • Neck
  • Feet

The Least Painful Spots

If you’re really scared of the pain, these are going to be your best choices:

  • Forearms
  • Calves (except behind the knee or on the shinbone)
  • Thighs
  • Outside of the upper arm
  • Shoulder

5. Will It Move and Age Well?

One last thing to consider when deciding where to get your tattoo is what the skin will do over time. In this regard, considerations around tattoo placement for women can be different than for men.

tattoo placement

tattoo placement

Your body is a moving canvas. You’ll want to consider how the tattoo will move with it. For example, your forearm skin sits differently depending on how your wrist is rotated. Which way do you want to be the default? Does the piece look good in any position?

Another thing to think about is how the skin might change. If you gain weight, a stomach tattoo might not look so hot anymore. Women who might become pregnant will probably want to avoid stomach tattoos.

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve settled on an idea and a location, make sure to get your work done with a reputable artist. A good one can help you make final decisions about your tattoo placement.

Check out our blog for other tattoo tips!

Best Spot For a First Tattoo

Best Spot For a First Tattoo

The Best Spot For a First Tattoo

Don’t regret where you get your first tattoo on your body. Here is the very best spot for a first tattoo and why it matters!

Do you’re thinking of going out and getting your first tattoo!

Did you know that 27% of women have their tattoos placed on their ankles, while 34% of men choose to have it done on their upper back shoulder?

As the saying goes, the body is a canvas, but how do you make the decision of where to put permanent artwork? There are so many factors that you should consider when picking the best sport for a first tattoo.

Keep reading to find out all about tattoo placement, and ultimately, make the right decision for you.

The Best Spot for a First Tattoo

When asking the question, “What is the best spot for a first tattoo?”, we would first like to say, there’s no direct answer to this question.

Before you head into a shop though, ensure that you understand tattoo shop etiquette and the exact behavior that is required from you.

Many different people, from many different walks of life, choose to get a tattoo for a variety of choices. Things like other people being able to see your tattoo, the industry that you work in, your family’s culture, could all play a part in where you choose to put your first tattoo.

But let’s dive straight into the areas of the body that we believe are the best spots for a first tattoo.

1. The Upper Collarbone

Tattoos generally, over time, will fade in direct exposure to sunlight. If you’re leaning towards getting your first tattoo on your chest, then the upper collar bone is a great choice.

Why?

It’s rated one of the least painful places to get a tattoo, and also, the skin in this area doesn’t stretch as much as the rest of the chest over time, so your tattoo should remain fairly constant.

2. Your Back

If you’re worried about your tattoo changing shape over time, then the back is a great location for your first tattoo.

The skin here stays pretty constant if you experience weight gain, pregnancy, or other body changes.

The upper part of your back offers a solid canvas if you’re looking for a place that you can easily cover your ink in your daily life too.

3. Your Wrist

Most female customers will choose the wrist as the location for the first tattoo. It’s the perfect placement for a tattoo that is delicate and dainty.

But be warned!

The wrist has a lot of nerve endings, making the tattoo itself more painful than in other more cushioned areas of the body. Also, you’ll find it harder to cover up this bad boy in warm weather.

Be mindful of your choice of colors too, with the wrist spending much time in the sunlight, you may find that your tattoo fades quicker than it would in other areas. Chat to your tattoo artist about what color choices he would recommend for a tattoo on your wrist.

4. The Back of the Neck

The back of the neck is a popular choice for women with long hair, that feel they’ll easily be able to hide the ink if the situation calls for it.

It’s the perfect place for a small, delicate design to make its first appearance.

The level of pain in this area is not too high, in comparison to your rib cage for example, but during your time in the chair, the sound of the machine can seem really loud, ‘tricking’ people into believing it’s more painful than it actually is.

5. On Your Chest

The chest is generally an area chosen by men more so than women, and given the proximity to the heart, it’s the perfect place for a tattoo that holds a lot of meaning for the person getting it.

It’s similar to the way a footballer’s badge would be displayed, their team’s crest is sacred to them, and so should the tattoo be to you.

Also, the chest is the perfect place for you to consider a heart tattoo design.

It also allows for larger designs to be chosen, as opposed to the smaller areas on your wrist and ankle.

Places to Avoid for Your First Tattoo

Generally speaking, the biggest concern for someone getting their first tattoo is the level of pain they expect.

Obviously, getting a tattoo isn’t like a unicorn licking rainbows on your skin, the process can be painful and lengthy, depending on the location and the length of time that you sit in the chair.

Also, one factor which is hard to measure is your own level of tolerance for pain. If you’re one to scream when getting a vaccination, then you may want to stick with the list above.

Here are some of the areas that you should avoid if you’re worried about pain:

  • The rib cage is extremely sensitive
  • Fingers have little cushioning between the skin and the bone, so are quite painful during the tattoo process
  • Elbows also lack enough ‘meat’ to create a cushion, so you’ll feel the tattoo needles right down to the bone
  • The ankle is not an ideal place for your first tattoo, with the skin sitting so close to the bone, as well as all the weird ways you have to keep bending your foot in order to get the perfect tattoo

Choosing an area for your first tattoo though, shouldn’t be made on the level of pain that you wish to avoid, but rather, on the perfect placement for the design you’ve chosen.

You’ll really want to chat to your tattoo artist about the designs that you have in mind, and where he thinks the tattoo will be showcased best.

Heading Out for Your First Tattoo

Now that you know the best spot for a first tattoo, you should take your time in finding the right artist to do the application for you.

Look out for professional studios that have the right sanitation and disinfection procedures in place, the last thing you want to end up with is an infection.

Also, never make your decision based on price, like the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Rather budget more for your first tattoo, and get exactly what you’re hoping for.

Contact us if you have more questions about the process, or would like to schedule that session for your first tattoo.

Dog Tattoo Ideas

Dog Tattoo Ideas

Canine Love: 8 Amazing Tattoo Ideas for Dog Lovers

Amazing Dog Tattoo Ideas

Immortalize your love and the ups and downs you had together with your canine best friend with these amazing dog tattoo ideas.

Americans love their dogs: over 63 million U.S. households are home to at least one canine.

Most dog lovers show off their love for man’s best friend by wearing dog t-shirts or hats or putting a sticker on their car. We here at Skin Factory Tattoo, however, think there’s no better way to proclaim your puppy love to the world than by getting a dog tattoo.

The possibilities are endless for dog lovers. Here’s a look at eight inspired dog tattoo ideas. One of these may just be your next tat.

1. Your Dog

The most obvious tattoo design for any dog owner is to get a rendition of their beloved fur baby. The only drawback is that as tattoos are permanent you have to be OK with seeing a reminder of a deceased pet on your body every day. Although, this can also be a wonderful way to memorialize a beloved part of your family.

For this type of tattoo, it’s best to take photos of your dog and narrow them down to two to three possible shots to show to your tattoo artist. You may want them to capture an exceptionally cute or funny expression that shows off your dog’s personality.

2. Go Abstract

Your tattoo artwork doesn’t have to be highly detailed and show every hair on your dog to be beautiful. Many tattoo artists can take an image and interpret it in an abstract, modern way. We’re not talking about drawing an unrecognizable Picasso-esque version of your dog, but maybe incorporating bright colors, hard-edged shapes, and patterns into the image for a design that really pops.

3. Go Minimal

Maybe you don’t want a big, colorful, splashy tattoo of your dog covering a lot of skin. The good news is dog tattoos can be minimal, too! The perfect dog tattoo for you may consist of a few black lines that form your dog’s face and expression, or your favorite breed.

Or you may want something as simple as the outline of a heart tattooed along with a short sentimental quote about what pet ownership means to you. How about the dog constellation Canis Major with an outline of a dog superimposed over it? Going minimal is a great option for the person who wants a more subdued tattoo design.

4. Paw Print

If you don’t want an image of a dog on your skin but still want to convey your love for all things canine, a paw print tattoo may be the perfect compromise.

And we’re not just talking about cute little cartoon-like paw prints (unless you’d like a trail of those along a body area) but a large, realistic-looking paw impression. Many owners with big dogs even opt for a life-sized rendition of their pooch’s paw print on an arm or leg.

Tattoo artists can get very detailed with this idea by inking in the texture of your dog’s toe pads or making it look like they stepped in mud before they stepped on you. Or they can incorporate your dog’s face into the paw print.

Artists can get surprisingly creative with this tattoo design, so this is definitely one idea you may want to explore.

5. Multiple Dogs

What’s better than one dog tattoo? Several, of course! A really cute idea is to have three or four dog heads tattooed on your lower back, inner arm, or calf area.

If you own more than one pet, this is a great way to include them all in your tattoo design.

6. Your Dog’s Name

Another classic tattoo design is to simply have your dog’s name tattooed. You can choose to have their profile illustrated along with the name, or opt to just have the named inked. You can choose a simple, black and white font, or go for a more decorative and colorful one. The possibilities are endless, and the choice is up to you.

Your artist can also incorporate dog imagery with the lettering—such as a paw print or dog bone—so people will know the name is referring to a loved pet. Some people get a tattoo design depicting a heart-shaped dog tag that has their dog’s name.

7. Flowers and Other Decorative Touches

The beauty of tattoos is what they allow you to get as creative as you like, and that means you can include decorative elements in your dog tattoo such as flowers, stars, or other embellishments.

You could also get a tattoo that pays homage to your dog’s roots, such as showing pine trees behind an Alaskan husky, or a Bavarian mountain behind a German shepherd.

8. Your Dog’s Alter Ego

Do you think your dog sees himself as a superhero, keeping your yard safe from squirrels and alerting you to strangers? Or maybe he has an inner rock star, as evident by his howling each time you play music.

You can get playful with your tattoo design by incorporating a bit of your best friend’s personality into the artwork. Your tattoo artist can render your dog wearing sunglasses or include superhero tattoo elements such as a cape and mask.

Explore These Dog Tattoo Ideas

Dog Tattoo Ideas

Dog Tattoo Ideas

As you can see, dog tattoo ideas are really only limited by your imagination. Your tattoo artist should also have plenty of other ideas to help you find the perfect way to show off your love of your dog, or dogs in general, to everyone.

Thinking of getting a dog tattoo, or a tat to symbolize another pet or animal? Contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss your tattoo ideas with us. Our artists will make your vision a reality.

Foot Tattoos

Foot Tattoos

Watch Your Step: Everything You Need to Know About Foot Tattoos

Watch Your Step: Everything You Need to Know About Foot Tattoos

Foot tattoos are unique, sexy, and are easy to hide, but are they really the perfect tattoo? This guide will list the pros and cons of a foot tattoo.

Are you set on the perfect foot tattoo to decorate your dogs?

There are some important things you should know before you take the plunge —and pain is just the beginning.

Foot tattoos are unique, sexy, and are easy to hide, but are they really the perfect tattoo? This guide will list the pros and cons of a foot tattoo.

Do Foot Tattoos Hurt?

It’s well known within the tattoo industry that foot tattoos are among the most painful.

This is because, in order to insert the pigment permanently into your skin, your tattoo artist drives a needle beneath the skin’s surface. Obviously this is going to hurt on any part of your body. But places that have more nerve endings, like your foot, are going to hurt a lot more.

There are two elements to tattoos which include the linework and shading. Both can create an intense burning sensation from the needle scratching your skin. Unlike other parts of your body where flesh or muscle will help to dull the pain.

Your feet have more exposed nerve endings in your feet, over 7,000 nerve endings to be exact. At times you may feel your bones vibrating. Brace yourself for some intense pain if you’re set on a foot tattoo. If it’s your first one you might want to keep it simpler.

The other aspect that makes a foot tattoo a challenge is that your feet tend to react quickly to stimulation. Which is why if you get tickled on your feet your reflex is to kick out.

To stop yourself from jerking you’re going to have the urge to tense your body. This can lead to more pain.

This can be a problem when you’re trying to stay completely still during a tattoo. A skilled tattoo artist will expect this and be able to react accordingly.

Why Tiny Foot Tattoos Are a Bad Idea

If you’re frustrated with a tattoo artist for not giving you a tiny tattoo on your foot, then we can explain. Foot tattoos tend to bleed over time. So something very small can begin to smudge on the parts of your foot you use the most.

Ultimately they’re saving future you from a blobby mess on your foot years down the road. Make sure you find the right tattoo artist. Some will refuse to do foot tattoos at all since they can be dangerous if infected and also fade faster in the wrong places.

Where Should You Get One?

As we mentioned, getting a foot tattoo in the wrong place can lead to it fading or smudging. So where should you get a foot tattoo?

The problem is most areas on your foot are used. For example, the sides of your feet tend to rub on your shoes all day. The top of your foot is an option but it will hurt more.

Ankle tattoos need extra care to prevent them from fading in the sun. Ultimately you’ll have to find the best spot for your design as well as your body. Work with a professional to find your ideal placement.

You will also need to decide the orientation of your tattoo. Such as if the tattoo should face you right side up or be facing other people. This is all personal preference.

Care for Your Foot Tattoo

During the time when your foot tattoo is healing it’s going to be difficult to wear shoes. For this reason, you may want to plan to get your foot tattoo during the summer months or when it’s warmer. This will allow you to wear flip flops, sandals, or ballet flats.

At the same time, you don’t want to expose your tattoo to the sun for too long. In fact, your tattoo is going to need a lifetime of sunscreen applications to protect it and keep it from fading.

Yes, this is true for most tattoos that are exposed. But your foot can be especially prone to direct sunlight when wearing sandals and showing it off. So you need to be extra careful.

It’s important to strictly follow the directions of your tattoo artist. Since a tattoo is an open wound, not caring for it appropriately could lead to serious infection.

Foot tattoos are even more prone to infections than others. You won’t be able to submerge your tattoo in water or expose it to the sun for at least two weeks.

Surprise You Have A Foot Tattoo!

Foot Tattoos

Foot Tattoos

The fun thing about a foot tattoo is once you’ve gotten through the pain and aftercare you’re going to be really excited each time you see it. That’s because you may forget sometimes that you even have a foot tattoo.

Foot tattoos are subtle and you probably won’t notice it every day. So when it catches your eye from time to time, it’ll be like a special surprise you get to experience again and again.

The only thing about the excitement of having a tattoo is it will make you want another one!

Despite the pain, foot tattoos are aesthetically pleasing and increasingly popular. Once you have one you’ll want to show it off to all your friends and family.

Ready to Get Inked?

Foot tattoos may be a bit more painful but they sure look amazing when completed. Once you get through a couple of weeks, you’ll be dying to get a matching one on your other foot!

If you’d like to speak with a professional tattoo artist who can provide you with the delicate foot tattoo you’re dreaming of, then check out our two locations. Our artists are highly skilled and professional.

Want to learn more about types of tattoos and piercings? Along with what to expect? Check out our blog for expert advice.