Working With Your Canvas: 3 Tips for Tattoo Placement

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Choosing a new tattoo can be an exciting but tricky process. New inkers and seasoned tattoo addicts alike love to spend hours doodling, surfing the web, and daydreaming about what amazing art they want next. Tattoo design isn’t the only difficult choice to make when considering a new tattoo: one also has to consider where to get the tattoo. After all, there are about 21,000 tattoo parlors in the United States. But this time, we’re not talking about “where” as in, “which tattoo parlor do I want to get inked?” but “where” as in: “where on my body?”

Whether you get expert advice from a famous tattoo artist or listen to friends share stories about going under the needle, picking a part of your body for the next canvas can be hard. Visibility, longevity, and of course pain are all factors to consider when choosing the placement of your newest masterpiece. Here’s a guide to help you make the best choice.

Complement your Canvas

When thinking about where to put your next tattoo, consider how large or small you want the art to be in relation to your body. A good tattoo should complement your body’s natural features and look natural with its shape. For example, if you’re thinking about a small or delicate tattoo, maybe reconsider placing it on a large body part, like your back or thigh. Dainty tattoos can be lost amongst all that skin, and look more like stickers than works of art. While ultimately the decision is yours, thinking about what makes sense for your body’s quirks and shapes will complement both the art and your body, and make them seem like one whole bit of beauty!

Think about Visibility

While most of us think of body art as just that–art– some employers and other organizations still, unfortunately, view tattoos as unprofessional. Consider what you most care about, and what statement you want to make. Your appearance sends a message about who you are to the world. When selecting tattoo location, think about whether or not you want everyone to know that you’re inked. Also, consider what kind of clothing you wear– if you’re a lover of jeans, but want everyone to see your awesome skull tat all the time, maybe you should ask that famous tattoo artist to place it on your forearm instead of your calf.

Finally, Be Realistic about Pain

If this is your first tattoo, or if you know that the needle and your pain tolerance don’t mix well, think carefully about tattoo placement. Some locations on the body are more sensitive or more difficult to tattoo, making the experience more painful. Some commonly painful locations for tattoos are the ribcage, the feet, and the wrists. In general, getting a tattoo on any skin that is close to bone or has more nerves will hurt a little more than somewhere meaty, like a bicep.

Don’t be afraid to get creative when considering tattoo placement. When all else fails, ask your artist, or visit a famous tattoo artist’s website for more inking information.

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