How much does a full sleeve cost?

Q: How much does a full sleeve cost?

You’ll always get one that replies with “How long is a piece of string!”

Nowadays a tattoo is more than just a tattoo, it’s a piece of art and it’s up to you whether you choose to make that investment or not.

So many people end up with a mediocre sleeve that they are not completely happy with as they insist on focusing on the question; “How much?” Personal experience has taught me that price shopping for tattoos usually leaves you sat in a sub standard tattooist’s chair receiving a sub standard tattoo. Then what do you have? A sleeve that you’re unhappy with.

So what do you do? Live with it for a while? Get it lasered off? Lets face it, the options here aren’t great! Most people, after a few years of seeing other people having great artwork will find themselves another artist to try and salvage the bad decision they made all those years ago. Assuming they have learnt from their mistake they will have done their research, not based their decison on “How much” and found themselves a competent artist. Problem solved right?

Not quite. Now the tattooist is in trouble, instead of a blank canvas to allow the artist to excel and create, he is up against the workings of another and with the best will and expertise in the world

cover ups and reworks never turn out the same quality as a tattoo that starts with blank skin. Success is determined by whether or not the tattoo looks better than it did before, not by completion of original intent.

Follow these rules to get the best answer to your question AND a quality tattoo:

1) Decide what you want your sleeve to look like – Think style (traditional, colour, black and grey, realistic), think theme, think subject matter.

2) Spend hours ( I mean hours) scouring the internet, social media sites looking at the hundreds of tattooists work – be grateful that you live in the internet age and don’t have to go from shop to shop looking at portfolios.

3) Pick your tattooist – don’t look purely at location, you want it bad enough you will get there.

4) Contact your artist – arrange a consultation. This is a big piece, this is an important piece. Any artist with any worth or sense of decency will understand that and will allow you some time to chat about what it is you want.

5) During your consultation you have the opportunity to ask THAT question but most artists prefer the more delicate “What is your hourly rate?”, followed by “About how many sessions do you think this will take and how many hours will we be working per session?”. If this is more than you were hoping/thinking it might the time to mention it to the artist and discuss any other options. Be honest and up front. Artists aren’t there to rob you, they just want what they have determined what their work is worth. Some will move on this especially if you are having a large piece done. Other’s however maintain their rates no matter what. Every artist is different.

6) Most importantly, DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU PURCHASE.

Please remember

You have your entire life to wear this tattoo and you shouldn’t sell yourself short. Make sure that every time you look at it you’re satisfied. Tattoos are the only thing you have with you for the rest of your life, everywhere you go until you die. It amazes me what some people will spend on shoes, holidays or even out on the town and then bargain shop for a tattoo!

We have quite a few full sleeve tattoo pictures completed by our artists on this very website! Or check out our facebook for loads of daily pictures and updates.

4 Comments

  • Robert Hall

    Reply Reply 9 August, 2014

    Great read! So i found this sleeve i really fell in love with

    http://www.tattoo-models.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/tattoo-sleeve-screenshot-13.jpg

    I have a few questions if you would be kind enough to answer for me seen as this would be my first tattoo and im not familiar with how to go about finding great artists.

    I am willing to pay what it takes as like your saying in your atricle a tattoo is for life.

    How much should i expect on estimate to pay for this tattoo? I wouldn’t want to pay too less for a dud.

    Is it realistic to think it will look as good as the picture?

    does the fact that im 5ft 6 change whether it would be a good idea to get this sleeve as i may have shorter arms?

    I would appreciate if you could give me any advice as this is a huge deal for me but one i truly want to go through with if i can find out the right info first.

    Thankyou

    • admin

      Reply Reply 22 May, 2015

      Hi Robert, so sorry for the longest wait for a reply in history! We have a reply written but for some reason has never been uploaded, so here it is:

      Our artists generally charge about £350-£400 per day. For a full sleeve this is going to be multiplied by 4-7 times. The sleeve in the picture is very cool and has a lot of smaller pieces contributing to a whole and is in full colour which depending on the artist can take a bit longer than black and grey but is dependent on the artist. Your height has no real bearing on how good a tattoo looks and is more dependant on the circumference (the length around your arm) rather than the length. If you have bigger forearms and upper arms then there is more skin to use. Any good artist will measure you and the different pieces to make sure they fit your body properly and don’t look out of place or wrap around your arm too much.
      The picture you linked to is in very good lightning but yes your tattoo could look that good if done by the correct artist and with the best inks and the customer uses proper aftercare products and procedures. Hope this helps and we would love to see the finished sleeve!

  • craig huitson

    Reply Reply 14 August, 2015

    Im thinking of a full sleeve to incorporate my daughters name wanting something to blend in with it

    • admin

      Reply Reply 10 September, 2015

      Hi Craig, the first thing you probably won’t to decide on is where you want your daughters name on your arm or you could get something that symbolises her integrated into your sleeve. Your best bet is to have a look at the sleeves on our page and google tattoo sleeves, try to find a theme that you want: roman, statues, new skool etc. Find an artist close to you who has proven work with the style your looking for. If they have sleeve pictures this can greatly help as an artist needs to be able to make a sleeve “flow” and not look disjointed (check out Lionel Messi’s new sleeve for how not to do it!). Any other questions then let us know.

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