Once you’ve decided on your idea or general direction, you’ll need to find a tattooist that can bring your concept (or maybe just a blank location on your body) to a tattooed reality. So it’s a good idea to research as many artists as you can, and always check for a few things: Technical Proficiency: When you look at a tattoo artist’s portfolio, make sure the line work and edges are smooth and crisp. The colors and shading should be deliberate and well-healed. Overall, a well-done tattoo should be clear, recognizable, and hold as much detail as the depicted image demands. Look for a consistently good technique throughout the entire portfolio, and if you find only a few examples that you like, maybe you should continue looking elsewhere. Stylistic Match: If you’re looking for a realistic portrait, you wouldn’t want someone who specializes in tribal. In other words, every tattooist has their given specialties, so it’s important to match the style of tattoo with the style of artist. Most artists excel in one style of work over another, and their style of tattooing should blend nicely with the image or idea you have for your final tattoo. Personal Interaction: If you’re working out an idea for a tattoo, you’ll need to find an artist that you can talk to. Find someone that is friendly and willing to answer your questions, and is willing to listen and communicate throughout the process. Also, be willing to hear what the artist might suggest for the tattoo, because the way they interpret an idea onto skin can provide a whole new perspective on the direction of the piece.