Tattoo Artist Shares Things Never to Do When Getting Fine-Line Tattoo



  • I’m a tattoo artist who’s seen clients make common mistakes when getting fine-line work.
  • Go to an artist that specializes in the technique and look at how their past tattoos have healed. 
  • Make sure to stick to your aftercare regimen and consider that your design may need touch-ups.

Fine-line tattoos have gotten more popular in the last few years, largely in part to social media. However, there are a few things to know before booking your appointment.

As a tattoo artist specializing in micro-realism, I often see clients make several of the same mistakes when getting fine-line work. 

Going to an artist that doesn’t specialize in fine-line designs

Fine-line tattoos take a lot of practice to master since the needle is very small.

With smaller groupings or a single needle, every little imperfection shows, so it’s imperative to find an artist that specializes in this work.

Look through their social media and make sure they have a lot of examples of the type of tattoo you’re looking for. From color to script designs, every style has its own set of skills to master, so it’s best to find someone familiar with it.

Not looking at your artist’s healed work

Two healed tattoos — a flower bouquet and butterfly — on arms

Healed tattoos (left) are never as vibrant as fresh ones (right).

Alissa Jung



The most important thing to look at when choosing a fine-line artist is their healed work.

These tattoos can be very unforgiving when healing, so it’s best to get an idea of how your artist’s work ages.

It’s also a great way to level your expectations — the tattoo will never look as crisp and vibrant as it does on the first day.

Ignoring your tattooer’s size suggestions

With fine-line tattoos, many clients want to get them as small as possible.

Tattooers who are not familiar with fine-line designs may say it’s impossible, but specialized artists will help you get what you want — or close to it — without sacrificing quality.

This is another reason finding an artist who focuses on fine-line tattoos is important since they should know how small each design can reasonably be.

Not considering the placement of your tattoo enough

A black and white shades tattoo of descending staircase

Inner forearms are a good placement.

Alissa Jung



Placement is a key factor in how your tattoo will heal. It’s best to choose an area that doesn’t get a lot of movement or see too much sun.

The inner forearms, upper ribs, and upper thighs are great spots since they’re mostly out of the sun and don’t bend. But wrists, feet, hands, and thighs move a lot and often rub against clothing, which will affect the healing process. Your artist can also give you suggestions on the best placement for the given design. 

It’s also important to note that if you’re looking to get fine-line tattoos on your hands, feet, neck, or face, you should find an artist that specializes in that.

The skin in these areas is different than the rest of the body, so it takes a lot of experience to avoid blowouts (when the ink spreads underneath the top layers of skin and blurs) or too much fading.  

Forgetting that you may need touch-ups

Touch-ups aren’t always necessary, but it’s something to consider when getting fine-line tattoos.

Ask your artist about their touch-up policy in case there are some spots that need a boost after it heals.

Especially if you’re traveling to get work done, it’s good to keep in mind that you might need a refresh in the future. Most tattooer’s typically don’t touch up other artists’ work, so you’ll have to go back to your original. 

Making sudden movements under the gun

The writer tattooing a client on their leg while the client reads a book

Staying still is important when getting inked.

Alissa Jung



When getting a fine-line tattoo, the slightest movement can make a difference in the quality of the linework. Experienced tattoo artists will know how to handle those situations, but it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Actions as simple as grabbing your phone, adjusting your body, or laughing can cause the line to look shaky, so just be mindful of what you do during the tattooing process. 

Not being diligent about aftercare

Especially with delicate tattoos, taking care of your new ink and following your artist’s instructions is just as important as the application itself.

It’s very important to keep your tattoo clean and out of the sun while it heals. Plus moisturizing or washing it too much can lead to issues, so carefully follow your artist’s instructions and reach out if you have any concerns.

Once your tattoo has fully healed, put sunscreen on it when you’re outside to keep it vibrant. 



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