Best Realism Tattoo Artists

There are many realism tattoo artists so it’s hard to say who the best one out there is. However, we wanted to list a few of our favorite realism tattoo artists around. Whether it is portraits, animal realism, biomechanical, etc., these artists have steadily proved to be some of the best around.



Dmitriy Samohin

Tattoo Styles: Realism, 3D, Custom

Tattoo Profile: It’s no surprise that Dmitriy Samohin would make our list. He’s been compiling an unmatched portfolio for years. Dmitriy is from Ukraine and has been wowing us with his realism work for years. Whether it is color or black and grey, Dmitriy can handle it all. He’s known as one of the best overall tattoo artists in the world and who are we to argue. He’s won numerous awards including National Tattoo Associations “Artist’s Choice Realistic Tattoo Award”, “People’s Choice Realistic Tattoo Award”, and Artist’s Choice Tattooist of Best colored Back Piece” just to name a few. Clearly he is a very popular artist and if you want to get inked by him, you better pitch a tent because it’s going to be a while.

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Mike DeVries

Tattoo Styles: Realism, Portrait, Custom

Tattoo Profile: I started tattooing professionally in 2003. As I progressed as a tattoo artist I soon realized that I found my niche with color realism. Constantly refining and polishing this craft keeps me extremely busy and motivated to climb to the next level. A glimpse through my portfolio reveals my preference for wildlife and portrait tattoos. Although realism is the style I’m technically “known for,” I do enjoy tattooing other styles and incorporating different aspects in my work to keep things fresh and interesting. Southern California’s own, Mike Devries is another fantastic tattoo artist. It’s hard to find another tattoo artist that can match Mike’s color realism talents. This award winning artist owns his own shop in Northridge, CA called MD Tattoo Studio and you should consider yourself lucky if you can get in to see him. However, we feel he’s worth the wait.

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Logan J Aguilar

Tattoo Styles: Realism, Cover Ups, Color Tattooing

Tattoo Profile: Logan Aguilar works out of Last Rites Tattoo Theatre in NYC. He is known to be one of the best realism tattoo artists around and another award winning tattoo artist that we love. He’s a great all around artist but specializes in cover ups, color tattooing, photo realism and portraits. His vibrant and detailed tattoos make him one of the best around and we hope you check his work out.

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Nikko Hurtado

Tattoo Styles: Realism, Portraits, Custom

Tattoo Profile: I’ve been a tattoo artist since 2002. I love tattooing and art. I own and work at Black Anchor Collective in the High Desert Hesperia, Ca. It’s between Los Angeles and Las Vegas so if you’re driving by stop by and say hi. I work with really talented artists and great friends, Carlos Rojas, Jojo, and of course my apprentice and younger brother, Mat Hurtado. I love tattooing and all that it has given me and my family. I couldn’t have dreamed I would have the experiences that I’ve had and all the great people that I have met because of tattooing, and for that I am truly greatful.

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David Corden

Tattoo Styles: Color Realism, 3D, Custom

Tattoo Profile: David went on to attend the Canterbury College of Art and Design. While he did gain a diploma in Graphic Design whilst there, he knew this wasn’t to be the career for him so upon leaving took a temporary job as a Ventilation Engineer. A temporary job that would become a career of over 15 years. During all of this time any thoughts of working as an artist left him but it was upon getting his first tattoo, a design of his own, that it all changed. His tattooist and one day boss, Jim Gambell, saw potential in David and asked to see more of his drawings. It would be four years before David walked back through the doors of Ritual Art Tattoo with his portfolio but Jim still saw the same potential and offered him a job as his apprentice. The rest, as they say, is history.

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Niki Norberg

Tattoo Styles: Photo Realism, Custom

Tattoo Profile: Niki Norberg has tattooed since 2001. Since 2007, he has worked with Heidi Hay and also arranges Gothenburg International Ink Festival (Goth Ink fest).2012 Niki moved to Carl Löfqvist’s reputed Wicked Tattoo studio.Niki prefers to work with realistism with a preference for high level of detail and clear contrasts. Niki is well known in the that tattoo community as being one of the best realism artists in the world.

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Realism tattoos have gained in popularity in recent decades thanks to improvements in inks, machines, and needles. These tattoos are supposed to jump off the skin and look exactly like a portrait that the owner has. Unlike traditional portrait tattoos, realism tattoos have more of a 3D look to them, so they have the effect of looking alive on the skin.

One of the most important aspects of a realism tattoo is the shading quality. Anyone can trace a portrait, but it takes skill to be able to shade it in a way that makes it look realistic. If the tattoo doesn’t have good shading or it has no shading at all, chances are the owner will not be very happy with it.

The artist’s skill is also quite important when it comes time to get a realism tattoo. They have to be able to capture what’s in the photo they’re looking at in a way that looks great on the skin. For this reason, we recommend really doing your homework on local artists before you commit to allowing anyone to do a realism tattoo for you.

Unlike a lot of other tattoo designs, the placement of the realism tattoo also matters. For example, a realism tattoo of a face usually won’t look as good on your leg as it would someone on your upper body. If you’re getting a landscape realism tattoo, then you need to find a place on your body that has enough space to capture all of the details.

One of the most popular realism tattoo types that you will see is of celebrities. These tattoos can be just plain portraits of the celebs or they can be action shots. In most cases, the images used will be well known so people will recognize them right away.

Some people choose to get realism tattoos of characters from their favorite movies and TV shows. This is actually one of the most popular realism tattoo designs right now.
It’s not uncommon to see people get realism tattoos of animals. Plenty of people like to get their pets tattooed in this way, while others will just get their favorite animals.
Some people like to get realism tattoos of the things they use every day. For example, an artist might want to get a realism tattoo of a paint brush and ink, so they’ll snap a great photo of the ones they use and give that photo to the artist doing the tattoo.

It used to be that just about all realism tattoos were made in color, but plenty of people now choose to get them in black and gray. The best photos to use for black and gray designs are the ones with plenty of detail in them so the artist can make everything stand out with the two colors being used.

While those are some of the most popular realism tattoos that people get, the truth is that just about anything can be used as part of the design. All that’s really needed is a photo that the artist can use to bring it to life on the skin.

If you’d like an realism artist recommendation for your area please fill out the form below. The more detailed your request is the more likely we’ll be able to find a good artist for your idea.

Tattoo Recommendation