Portrait Tattoo Designs
Tattoos are a lifetime decision, which is why it's important to ensure that you're choosing the right tattoo for you. Generally I recommend first visiting a site like TattooMeNow which has about 10,000 tattoos available and member galleries and forums to try out your idea before you get inked. The cost is minimal and you may find the perfect idea or design for your next tattoo.
Portrait tattoos are most often used to remember the deceased, sometimes as a way to settle the emotional upheaval of the loss of a loved one, and sometimes just out of respect. Either way, picking the photograph, the artist and location the will all be sensitive decisions that require extensive thought and research. Even though you may be itching to get the tattoo inked and be able to move on with your life, it’s best to take your time and consider everything carefully. The portrait tattoo is, after all, forever.
- Picking the right photograph. If the deceased has led a long life, then you’ll have a range of photographs from which to choose: young, middle aged, old, and everything in between. The real question to ask yourself is, how do you want to remember him or her? If it’s a grandfather or grandmother, you might decide to go with middle-aged or even old—the ages that you knew him or her—but if it’s a sibling or, even worse, a son or daughter, then you may prefer to remember him or her as a child. For those of you considering portrait tattoos done out of respect, the decision is much easier: you’ll want a photograph of the person taken in the prime of his or her life. In terms of size, you’ll likely want at least a 4” x 6” regardless of the size of the portrait tattoo you’re getting, just so that the artist has enough detail with which to work.
- Picking the right artist. Make sure that you’ve seen the artists’ portrait work before you get started—preferably in person. Even gifted artists may struggle with inking a lifelike portrait of someone: it takes a specific skill to be able to do so regularly and with precision. Good artists who don’t feel up to the challenge will tell you it straight up, and will often recommend you to someone they trust. If you receive such a recommendation, then follow up. Tattoo artists run in a small circle, and they’re likely to know who can handle the task you’re looking to have done.
- Picking a location. Obviously, you need a body part with enough space to do the portrait justice. The most popular locations for portrait tattoos are on the upper arm, the calf, the shoulder, or the back. Typically, most portraits of loved ones go on the left side of the body, as it’s closer to the heart: either that, or squarely in the middle of the back.