- Insider asked tattoo artists to share the designs they love to work on and the ones they don’t really like inking.
- Mandala and blackwork tattoos are popular among artists.
- Tattoos with tiny text can get blurry with time.
- Winged-eyeliner tattoos can age poorly, said one artist.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Professional tattoo artists may ink thousands of designs over the course of their careers, so it’s no surprise they develop their own preferences and opinions on body art.
Here are some of tattoo artists’ favourite things to ink and a few designs that they wish clients would stop requesting:
Big statement tattoos can be fun to give
“One of my favourite things to ink are big pieces that are really vibrant and have an impactful design,” Hipwell said. “I find statement pieces that cover large areas of the body really pleasing.”
Clients should also keep in mind that large statement tattoos often require multiple sessions and can cost much more than smaller designs.
Traditional blackwork tattoos have an eye-catching appeal
Josh Hall, tattooer and owner of Lamar Street Tattoo Club in Dallas, Texas, told Insider that he loves inking designs with strong, black lines.
“I love doing tattoos with bold, strong, clean lines,” Hall said. “Currently, I’m really enjoying doing traditional blackwork designs.”
Although it lacks vibrant colour, blackwork body art uses dark ink and negative space to create elaborate patterns and images on the skin.
Minimalist tattoos can be aesthetically pleasing
“Minimalist tattoos look clean and cool on the skin, and for me, they’re more satisfying than doing huge ones,” Hough said.
Hough added that she enjoys inking paper planes, daisies, and celestial bodies, among other art of this variety.
Mandala and geometric designs can be flattering and colourful pieces
Ashkon, an artist for Club Tattoo at Miracle Miles Shops in Las Vegas, Nevada, told Insider that he thinks ink designs that use mandala patterns are fun to give and look great.
“I really enjoy giving clients tattoos that incorporate mandalas or other geometric types of designs,” Ashkon said.
Mandalas are geometric patterns tied to Hindu, Buddhist, Jainist, and Shinto traditions and used for varying spiritual purposes, like guiding meditation or representing deities.
One artist said she loves tattooing scalps
Medical-tattoo practitioner Hannah Maruyama of Yama Studios in Hawaii told Insider that it makes her happy to give scalp tattoos to clients with thinning hair.
“Creating a new hairline gives someone such a new lease on life,” Maruyama said. “It’s hours of work, but seeing them laugh in disbelief when they see their reflection is awesome.”
Medical tattooers specialise in designs that disguise clinical procedures and recreate or enhance features like hair, areolae, fingernails, lip colour, and belly buttons.
Phoenix tattoos can be bold and beautiful
A phoenix is a mythological bird derived from ancient folklore that periodically bursts into flames and is reborn from its own ashes.
“Phoenix tattoos are a big hit with our clients because the design beautifully fits everyone,” Hough said. “Tattoos with gradient hues â€¦ are eye-catching and feel alive.”
Parrots and peacocks are also popular avian choices for clients who love the idea of a colourful bird tattoo
But designs with a tiny font can end up looking blurry
Tattoos with thin, wispy text may look good at first, but Hall told Insider that he tries to dissuade clients from getting body art that includes small words.
“Tiny fonts in small spaces often won’t look remotely the same after a few years,” Hall said. “The delicate text can end up as a blurry blob.”
If you want to incorporate words into your tattoo design, opting for larger lettering can help reduce the chances of blurring.
You should also consult with a professional to figure out the best place to get inked, as some parts of the body may show tattoo ageing faster than others.
Many artists prefer not to give trendy tattoos
It’s common for people looking for a new tattoo to research options and images online, but Hipwell said it makes tattoo artists groan when a client asks for an overly trendy design.
“I wish clients would stop asking for ‘in’ tattoos,” Hipwell said. “It’s annoying when people just want fashionable designs rather than expressing themselves.”
Although it’s definitely helpful to bring in pictures for reference, consider how you want the tattoo to be personalised to you.
Heart and skull tattoos can look generic
Hearts and skulls are popular tattoo motifs, but Hough said she thinks they’re overdone and not a good fit for everyone.
“I really don’t like giving clients heart and skull tattoos,” Hough said. “They tend to look very generic and mainstream.”
Hough recommended choosing a design that is suited to the area of the body you’re looking to tattoo and is unique to you.
Tattooed winged eyeliner often doesn’t stand the test of time
Tattooed makeup, also known as permanent makeup, is often requested by people looking to spend less time on their beauty routine or wanting to enhance certain facial features.
But Maruyama said that some kinds of permanent makeup can be a bad idea.
“I hate tattooing heavy winged eyeliner,” Maruyama said. “It doesn’t age very well, and I don’t like putting tattoos on people that won’t age well.”
It may be worth investing in other cosmetic options, like eyebrow microblading or a lip blush, that are less drastic but will still save you time in the morning.
Some artists get bored working on tribal-style tattoos
Tribal-style tattoos experienced a surge in popularity during the late 1990s and early 2000s. But Ashkon told Insider that inking this type of design isn’t always fun for tattoo artists.
“I don’t like giving tribal tattoos,” Ashkon said. “They look dated and they’re actually boring to do.”
If you are considering getting inked in this style, which dates back thousands of years, be sure to do your research as the meanings and significance can vary from culture to culture.