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Guide to Realism Tattoos !!!

Back when I started tattooing in 2010, I was attracted by the TV show Miami Ink that was aired on TLC Channel. I was so fascinated by the concepts the clients wanted and the design the artist made. Since a decade Realism Tattooing has evolved tremendously. It is one of the most beautiful and expensive forms of tattooing.


It all started with a Realism art movement back in 1850s. Realism Art basically means creating the exact art as in the reference. In case of Realism Tattooing, the artist creates the exact same tattoo as the reference, be it a human face, animal, sculpture, etc.


Realism tattoos require special skills like detailed image reading, analysing the smallest details and putting them on skin as much as possible, ensuring that the tattoo looks nearest to the image reference. In Realism Tattoos not much changes are done the the original reference.

Non-Realism tattoos have a scope for changes, the artist can change the image to a percent, as much as he wants to change the design. Improvisations can be done to any extent in this case as the client wants.

But I personally love both of them, all depends upon what the concept or design is. Now if a client wants his mother's portrait, the best is to make a realism portrait tattoo that is a look alike to client's mother. This way there will be a different emotional connection whenever seen by the client.

If its a name, we recommend going for a custom calligraphy. Why????????????????

Yes, I know there are a lot of fonts around google but they are used by all artists, ask yourself what unique is it?, everyone using the same font, same placement etc.

My recommendation would be going for a beautiful custom calligraphy that the artist does specially for you and cannot be copied. A unique tattoo for a Unique person who is one in 7.8 billion people and thats you.


To this context I would say you to scale your skin tone from 1 to 10, where 1 would be whitest and 10 would be darkest. Now if your skin tone is from 1-4 then you can go for Color Portrait or Realism and the colors would come as you see them or as the artist promises. If the skin tone ranges from 5-7, still you can choose color portraits but some colors shall change their hue depending upon your skin tone and its capability to accept colors. Just imaging our top layer as a plastic film, and the tattoo pigment would go to the second layer i.e the layer below the top one. If the top film (skin) is whiter the pigment below the film would seem to be the same as outside. And if the top film or skin is more on yellowish or darker side, the more the pigment will change its hue post healing as whatever pigment goes inside would have a yellow or darker film on top as a skin layer. It is Logical and technical.


I have most of my arms covered now and a bit of my legs as well, I would say that the realism tattoos hurt less. I feel lining hurts more and the shading hurts less. May be its my thought but thats what I felt when I got my sleeves done. When it's a lining needle it pinches more I feel and if its a shader it works more like a brush and specially in Realism Tattoos the use of Lining is limited as we dont want our art to have a cartoonish look to it. There are no hard linings until the piece requires specifically. All my clients say the same unless the tattoos are on areas where skin is thinner like the inner elbow or the areas where you can easily feel the bone like the elbow. The answer is realism tattoos surely hurt lesser than other ones.


There are more than 1600 registered tattoo artists on Justdial in New Delhi, for sure there may be far more in actual. When it comes to Realism only 10% of the total number would be capable to do Realism Tattoos. Why??

Because it requires special skills, there is a thin line and a very less scope to play if messed up. To my experience I can say that in a normal Tattoo, there is a 30% scope to go wrong to right if the artist is experienced, but in Realistic Tattoo there is no scope to 5% scope.

Due to the special skills required along with more time taken to make it and the precision involved, Realism Tattoos are Expensive, but at the end, they come with an emotional, realistic and meaningful connection to a client.

If you liked this blog, and found it informative then let me know. Leave a comment down and share.


- Abhisek Ahuja

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