Session’s Time Estimation


What are the main factors that impact tattoo session time? 


If You would like to know a bit more about tattoo session timing, this blog is certainly for You. What would be Your first guess? What in Your opinion has most to say about the duration of the tattooing? Size of tattoo? Placement? Design? Or the tattoo artist himself? For sure everything to some degree, plus much more. There are even things that are hard to predict and at the same time affect appointments enormously. In the list below, I will cover those objects to give You a clarity and better understanding of them. Enjoy!


  1. Design. 


Kind of obvious isn’t it? More complex projects will require more time to complete. By more complex it doesn’t necessarily mean bigger, but I will cover it in the next point. Complex means level of details, shading, composition itself and its creativeness. As You can see from the example in Natalie’s flowers, they have enormous amounts of detail which makes them complicated to make. The more elements are there the longer the session too. So as the old saying goes “The devil is in the details”. 


  1. Size of Tattoo 


That point might be counterintuitive. The straightforward logic could lead us into thinking about small designs as easier and quicker to make, while bigger is always longer and harder. With tattoos it is not always the case. It really depends on sooooo many factors! While You can have a small and really fast made tattoo, You need to always think about how it was done. Let’s take an example of a smiling face like this : “ : ) “ in size of 2×2 cm. You can take a bigger needle ( equivalent of a black permanent marker ) and then it is really 5 minutes of work. There are millions of such stamp-like tattoos out there, with heavy bold lines. On the other hand, You can take the same smiling face, but the client would like to have it really small. Then You need to take a smaller needle ( we use those mostly ), which gives You more precision and control but requires more time to make something beautiful and subtle. 


I like to think about small and precise tattoos, as Swiss made exclusive watches, we all know how complicated they are to assemble. You can also have a big and detailed tattoo, or big and super simplified. In the end, true art should not be considered, or worse priced by size, but by its beauty and emotional, human feeling that goes with it. “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer is only 44.5 cm × 39 cm. So if You see a tattoo, always turn Your critical thinking on, and see how it is made and what values it brings with it! 


  1. Placement.


That factor has a huge impact on the tattooing process. On the inner forearms, where skin is relatively flat, and we have muscles, tattooing typically goes great. On thigh too! What would be Your guesses for other convenient placements for tattooing? Let me know! 


But ribs? It has a lot of curves, we are breathing, so the whole body is moving, and for clients typically is less convenient to lay still in one position for a long time, so naturally there are more breaks. But ultimately we will have that tattoo for our whole life, the most important thing is to choose the placement that You really like. Don’t choose the fastest! But it is good to be aware that every placement has a certain characteristic that affects the duration of the session. Oh, and I should mention that there are less and more painful areas. The pain tolerance is something very individual, and some people ( usually girls! ) have much better pain tolerance than others, which by the frequency of breaks could also affect time of appointment. Pain tolerance of clients is one of the factors that tattoo artists have zero control over. But please don’t even think about numbing creams. I wrote about it recently here : 




  1. Skin condition.


The more nourished the skin the smoother the tattooing, and healing process. Skin is our canvas, so when it is in a good condition we have an easier task. However, please don’t stress about it too much! If You take care of Yourself, drink enough water ( and don’t drink alcohol at least few days before the session, which usually cause bigger dehydration ) and moisturize the area where You want to have a tattoo prior to the session ( but not one day before and on the day of session ), everything is fine. Some skin medical conditions, burnings, or even sun burnings are an obvious NO to get a tattoo on such placement affected by it. Also the more relaxed You as a customer are, and the more rested ( slept well, eat well etc. ) the overall process goes smother too! 


  1. Tattoo Artist. 


Level of experience is certainly something that impacts the duration of the session, but it doesn’t go linear – 2x times more experience 2x faster the session. A tattoo session is not a sprint, where the fastest runner wins. An experienced tattoo artist knows that! A tattoo session should take what it takes to make it great! You will have that tattoo for your whole life. It should be a great honor for a customer to find an artist who understands that and spend the right amount of time to Your individual case to make the most beautiful art possible. A tattoo studio is not a factory, but should be an artistic hub.


  1. Decision process making by a client. 


At Vadelma Tattoo, we create all the projects prior to the session, to make sure we have the most productive time for tattooing. We love to work like that! That way we have no pressure and are able to always create something that satisfies us and of course You too! In 99% cases there are no changes in projects itself, when customers have a tattoo session in our studio. By good communication before the session, we are able to capture Your vision almost perfectly. And You know our very unique style of tattooing, so it is easy to know what to expect from us. Those factors help both sides! But when it comes to the final size and placement of the tattoo, sometimes it requires more time. There is no rush while this of course, a final size and final placement of a tattoo is extremely important, and when we need to try a few options – then we do that. It is a factor that also impacts the whole time at the studio, and the one that we could not predict before. 


As You already found out, tattooing is a complex profession!


So many things to take into consideration! That’s why when You ask us for a time estimation, now You know how hard it is for us. Please always try to reserve just enough time to avoid any time restrictions. With bigger projects, we would need even 2,3 or more sessions to complete everything. It is very flexible! However an optimum, maximum duration of the session, from our experience is 6 hours of tattooing, which ends up in 7-8 hours in the studio. That way You will survive that and we too! 


Thank You for reading! 


Much love, 




“Tattoos that matter – for people who care”

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