There are many ways that people choose to express themselves; a very popular way of doing that today is through tattoo. Tattoo as an art is a form of expression by both the tattoo artist and the person whose skin is their canvas. The person wearing the tattoo envisions an artwork that they feel expresses the thoughts or emotions they wish to express and they in turn convey this idea to the tattoo artist so they can ink the image to be worn forever.

If you wish to preserve an image for prosperity a skilled portrait tattoo artist can transfer the picture of your loved one onto your skin to keep them in your thoughts and memory forever. When getting a tattoo it is always wise to see examples of the artists work before they work on you, this may be especially true in portrait tattoos as the level of skill involved is high.

Sadly, not all portrait tattoos are equal and some just don’t turn out very well. One way to avoid this outcome is to have a clear picture or photograph of the image. This is when portrait tattoos come into play. Also make sure you look through the portfolio of the artist before you make a decision. Remember that you get what you pay for.

But with a skilled artist you can be sure that when you have the image transferred from picture to skin that it will be a beautiful work of art that you can be proud to wear. Below you’ll find some of our favorite portrait tattoo artists.

Portraits are images of the head, sometimes neck and shoulders, of an iconic figure in one’s life. They are an incredibly challenging tattoo for an artist because of the necessary detail and precision to create a realistic rendering of a cherished figure. Either a loved one or beloved figure is generally chosen, often a close family member who has greatly influenced the life of the individual.

Portraits are almost exclusively done realistically in order to properly portray the image of the person being depicted. Celebrities are often used as well for portraits, conveying an iconic figure and the values that they held. Marilyn Monroe is a popular choice as well as figures throughout history such as Albert Einstein all the way to Bob Marley. Favorite artists and musicians are often chosen to act as a salute to their body of work. Because a portrait is such an obvious and permanent tribute, children are often chosen to be rendered on their parent’s bodies.

For a devoted follower, portraits of religious figures like Jesus Christ, Mary the Mother, Buddha, or Hindu goddesses like Kali and Durga are chosen. These images serve as a reminder of the principles of those religious beliefs, serving as the ultimate tribute to one’s cultural tradition.

While portrait tattoos are usually realistic, there are many other ways to render an idol’s face. The Art Nouveau style is close to realism with a little more artistic expression used as well as soft, pastel colors. Simply the contour lines of the face can be used as the design, creating a representation of the person without adding a lot of detail. This style of portrait is often used with “water color” style designs added, creating the appearance of blots and smears of paint over the face to add more dimension.

Portraits of pets, cats and dogs, are sometimes used to serve as a tribute to a deceased family pet. Beloved characters are often chosen as well to portray an identification with the attributes of the fictional figure. Frankenstein’s creation is used as a symbol of the outcast and downtrodden while something like a Batman villain would signal an unpredictability.

Best Portrait Tattoo Artists


Mike DeVries
(MD Tattoo Studio)

9545 Reseda Blvd suite 2, Northridge, California 91324
(818) 700-2818

Tattoo Styles: Realism, Portrait, Custom

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Nikko Hurtado
(Black Anchor Collective)

13567 Main St, Hesperia, CA 92345
(760) 244-1800

Tattoo Styles: Realism, Portraits, Custom

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Brandon Bond
(All or Nothing Tattoo)

2569 South Cobb Dr SE, Smyrna, GA 30080
(770) 435-9966

Tattoo Styles: Custom, Realism, Horror

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Rich Pineda
(Liquid Tattoo)

56318 29 Palms Hwy, Yucca Valley, CA 92284
(760) 820-1188

Tattoo Styles: Realism, Portrait, Custom

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Here are some of our favorite portrait tattoos as well: