If you are a tattoo artist or a tattoo enthusiast, we are sure you have seen all sorts of styles. One of the most beautiful styles of tattooing, if done right, is the realism style. It takes a lot of talent for an artist to really nail a realism tattoo. There is so much that goes into this tattoo but the most important part is to capture the essence or character of the subject that is being tattooed. Because of the difficulty of this tattoo, we truly appreciate the artists that can get these right because its not easy.
By definition, photorealism or realism tattooing is a technique that makes the tattoo look like a real life 3D object or a like a photograph. Generally, the use of the word realism in the art world refers to pieces that are detailed, accurate and precise renditions of the real life imagery. The main focal point of this kind of tattooing is animals, scenery, faces and other objects that the person wishes to have tattooed in a realistic fashion. Photorealism is one of the most fascinating tattoo styles out there right now. The artist doing the work must be extremely patient when they are working and have a great eye for detail because one slip up on the realism tattoo could make it look off. Artists will add little touches to add to the realistic parts of the tattoo like wet lips or a gleam in the eye. It really is a great talent to be able to get a realistic tattoo right.
The realism art movement in France during the 1850’s inspired this style of tattooing. It was a reaction to the emotional and dramatic styles like that of the romanticism era that came before it. Realists, unlike the romantics, were not interested in overly emotional imagery or melodramatic poses. The realists of the time were more interested in the truth of the matter. This is why when realism started to become a part of tattooing, it was becoming obvious that it wasn’t an easy thing to have a minimalistic approach to this style of tattooing. In most cases, you will see the realism style of tattooing done in black and grey but it isn’t unheard of, and some specialize in it, to see color realism.
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.
One characteristic of the realism style that makes it different from the other styles of tattooing that you see is more contrasts and shading as opposed to the bold outlines you see in many styles of tattooing. To be truly accurate when tattooing a realism piece is already difficult enough when drawing with a pencil and paper but to be able to accomplish the feat with a tattoo gun and ink is a remarkable thing. The artist working on this tattoo is doing so with the mindset that this tattoo will be on the person’s skin for many years to come.
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.
Some of these designs are so realistic they will creep you out. Many horror fans get realism tattoos of dead people, zombies and monsters while others choose to get realism tattoos of flowers and children. It all depends on what you prefer. If you are a fan of sunshine and rainbows, there are plenty of beautiful things you can have tattooed and for the people that are in to the darker parts of life, you can do that as well. They can look so real that you are going to wait for the image to jump right off the skin.
The key to finding the right artist for you is to take your time and do your research. You should have an idea of the realism tattoo you’d like to have and from there, you can start looking for the right artist. Some artists have an affinity towards color realism while others are only into black and grey. Some artists only do portrait tattoos while other like to stick to nature scenes or animal realism.
If you think you have found an artist that will work for you, sit down and have a consultation for you. The point of the consultation is to make sure you feel comfortable with the tattoo artist and that the artist is able to accommodate you for what you were wanting to get.
If you feel you’ve done your research and are still have trouble finding someone that fits what you are looking for, reach out to us. The team at Tattoo SEO has years of experience in dealing with matching customers to the artist that will make their vision come to life. We hope you reach out because we would love to help you in your search for the perfect realism tattoo.
Here are some of the best realism tattoo artists and shops according to our research. If you think we should add anyone to the list or if you see anything that should be edited, contact us by clicking here
Manny Valerio – Traveling
Cecil Porter – San Diego, California
Tattoo Styles: Realism, Portrait, Custom
Fernando Gonzalez – Washington DC
Megan Hoogland – Mankato, Minnesota
Tattoo Styles: Realism, Portrait, Custom
Niki Norberg – Sweden
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 Carls 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.
Josh Grable – Chicago, Illinois
Ryan El Dugi Lewis – Sacramento, California
Royal Jafarov – NYC
Tattoo Styles: Realism, Watercolor, Abstract, Portrait, Color, B&G
Audie Fulfer Jr. – Fresno, California
Dmitriy Samohin – Odessa, Ukraine
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 â€œArtist’s Choice Realistic Tattoo Awardâ€, â€œPeople’s Choice Realistic Tattoo Awardâ€, and Artist’s Choice Tattooist of Best colored Back Pieceâ€ 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.
Erick Holguin – Atlanta, Georgia
Rich Pineda – San Clemente, California
Phone: (760) 820-1188
Tattoo Styles: Realism, Portrait, Custom
Tattoo Profile: I got my start in tattooing through my friend Jeff Cooper in March of 2010. So I have been tattooing a relatively short time. Check out my portfolio and contact me to setup a consultation.
David Corden – Edinburgh, Scotland
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.
Sean McCready – Honolulu, Hawaii
Sammy Hayden – Dallas, Texas
Chuck James – Sacramento, California
Dave Wah – Baltimore, MD
Mike DeVries – Los Angeles, California
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.
Jared Bent – San Francisco, California
Nikko Hurtado – Traveling
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.
Richie Lucero – Honolulu, Hawaii
Mario Delgado – San Francisco, California
Eric Cantu – Dallas, Texas
Logan J Aguilar – NYC
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.
Samantha Sue – San Francisco, California