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' favorite things to ink and a few designs that they wish clients would stop requesting:
Stephan Hipwell, tattoo artist at and owner of Goodbye Horses studio in Norwich, England, told Insider that he adores giving customers bright, bold statement tattoos.
"One of my favorite 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.
Blackwork tattoos make use of negative space. UfaBizPhoto/Shuttershock
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 color, blackwork body art uses dark ink and negative space to create elaborate patterns and images on the skin.
Minimalist tattoos are trendy. Shuttershock
Alicia Hough, former tattoo artist and wellness expert with The Product Analyst, told Insider that she loves inking minimalist designs.
"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.
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.
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 specialize in designs that disguise clinical procedures and recreate or enhance features like hair, areolae, fingernails, lip color, and belly buttons.
Other colorful bird tattoos can be just as eye-catching. Nicole Weiss/Shuttershock
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 are eye-catching and feel alive."
Parrots and peacocks are also popular avian choices for clients who love the idea of a colorful bird tattoo
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 aging faster than others.
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 personalized to you.
Heart and skulls tattoos can be a bit overdone. Shutterstock
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 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.
Tribal tattoos are still used in several cultural customs today. Shuttershock
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.
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