When you go into a tattoo parlor, you want a piece of artwork. After all, the design is going to be permanently inked into your skin. Are you aware of what separates a good tattoo from a great one, though? Key elements of the tattoo should be in place for you to have a stellar work of ink art on your body.

Line Work

The lines in a tattoo are like the skeleton in that they provide the framework for the entire piece. Not all tattoos have to be lined in black—painterly and watercolor tattoos are designed to resemble a different art form. However, the majority of tattoo styles utilize lines to give the tattoo shape and make the colors pop.

Lines in a great tattoo are uniform for the outline and vary only for design details. Likewise, even if the artist went over a line more than once, they should look as if only a single pass was used. In writing, the lines should especially be seamless, as if you were inked with a pen rather than a needle.

Black Shading

Just like lines, the color black provides the shading that makes the colors stand out. Tattooing is more like illustrating than painting, so tattoo artists have to use tricks such as gradations of black to make the image have depth. A great tattoo features enough black shading to make the image recognizable from several feet back.

Color Saturation

If you get a tattoo with color, the ink needs to be well saturated in the skin. Tattoo artists take their time to really pack areas with color to ensure they're as bright as can be. Saturated color also lasts longer.

Along the same lines, another method for giving tattoos depth is shading with colors. The technique is different than with black shading. However, the transitions between colors should be seamless. The end result should look a little like a sticker on your body.

Tattoo Placement

As Tattooing 101 points out, placement is one of the most important elements of a stellar tattoo. Obviously you know how visible you want your tattoo to be. However, a beautiful tattoo placed somewhere the body naturally bunches or stretches can harm the artistry of the piece. Tattoo artists are skilled in understanding how the anatomy of the body affects their artwork.

When you're considering artists for your permanent artwork, take a look at their portfolios. Pay attention to details such as line work, shading and color saturation. Artists skilled in those elements of tattooing can create a stellar tattoo on your body no matter the chosen style. If you're interested in a tattoo, visit Gallery Tattoo & Piercing.