How Much To Tip a Tattoo Artist

How Much To Tip a Tattoo Artist

A tattoo is a form of body modification where indelible ink or pigments are installed into the dermis layer of the skin to create a design at the same time, this is a universal practice that people who get tattoos give tips to an artist. All over the world people consider the act of tattooing a form of self-expression. It is a sort of appreciation of the artwork and of the artist. But there has been a lot of confusion in people`s minds on how much to tip a tattoo artist?

In fact, tattooing is a practice that has been going on for centuries around the world. It is done by an artist. As we all know it is a practice when one visits a coffee shop or any other restaurant where people give tips for their services. Similarly, all over the world people have a great craze for tattooing? To know more about the learning Tattooing, the steps involved and the methods of doing Tattooing; read the article How to Learn Tattooing

In this article, we will share ideas and on how to determine the tip to a tattoo artist.

Significance of Getting Tattooed

There could be many different reasons why people get tattooed. Some people get tattooed in remembrance of a special event or a person in their lives. At the same time, some people get tattoos on their bodies to assert his/her individuality and express their beliefs. It can also be used to cover injuries or scars on the body. From the perspective of psychology, all humans carry emotions and traumas since their childhood.

necessity and importance of tattooing on occasions

These childhood traumas affect the mind and the affected person does not express their hidden feelings and emotions. Therefore psychologists believe that sometimes people get tattoos to express their inner feelings and emotions in a way that gives comfort to the person. Frequent use of the tattooing has also opened the field of learning the business of tattooing.

In the following passages, we will explaining the reasons why a tattoo artists should be paid a tip, whether the rate of tip varies due to changes in the type of tattoo and what, most of the time is followed on how much to tip an artist.

Psychology Behind Tattooing

As of now you have understood that people getting tattoos is a form of expressing themselves through permanent or temporary alteration to the body. Our body experiences emotions and situations as part of our lives. The body as well as the people changes with time.

Some people claim that tattoos represent the feelings and situations that have shaped who we are today. They express what is happening inside us and also outside our bodies. Some people get tattoo in order to express their feelings for someone or to express their emotions, bonds, values and beliefs while other just get tattoo for the aesthetic art that they represent.

According to a mental health professional, Rosalba Varaceta, tattoos are a form of non-verbal language which is visible to the world with a story behind it. She thinks that tattooing might be beneficial in the sense that it can hide but not erase an experience.

Why You should Tip a Tattoo Artist?

As you all know every industry has its etiquette about everything. Similarly, the tattoo industry also has some etiquette that one must follow. Tipping is a part of tattoo etiquette. However, it is not fully mandatory to give tips to your artist. But as you know a tattoo artist is working for someone else and gets paid and that payment most of the time does not equate with the needs of the artist.

Therefore you must follow the guidelines that we are going to give you in the following lines where you will understand how much you should tip an artist based on the type of tattoo you are getting. What exactly you should tip a tattoo artist is always open for debate because it depends on your relationship with the artist and the design you are getting.

Needless to mention some of the types and design require more in-depth and time so more tip seems expedient while in other cases, it can be kept flexible. Let’s shed some light on the types of tattoo so we can better comment on the efficient amount of tip to a tattoo artist.

Different Types of Tattoo

tattoo types

It is interesting to note that there are different styles/types of tattoos. From traditional designs to modern abstract art. Some communities have a tradition of getting a particular kind of tattoo because of the symbol or practice in the community. The most famous styles of tattoo in the contemporary world include Realism, blackwork, and watercolour.

As we all know getting a tattoo is a permanent decision therefore it is necessary to choose a design that you will love for the rest of your life. At the same time, it is important to choose a reputable artist who is very much aware of using sterile equipment and following safe practices.

1. Family Tradition Tattoos

We hope that you have witnessed families who have a symbolic material in their home which they pass on to the next generation and so on. Some families have their family symbols. These symbols could be a piece of paper or a medal. Some families have swords that they pass on to the next generation. Certain families have a specific symbol on their body throughout their lives. Therefore to pass on the legacy to the next generation people often go to make their symbol in the form of a tattoo.

2. Tribal Tattoo

In ancient times, certain tribes had their own set of symbols which they carried on to the next generation. It is considered an honourable job to tattoo your body for the overall good of the tribe. These tribal symbols could be a design of a lion, a goat, or a sword. Putting these tattoos on the body gives a sense of pride and honour.

3. Rogue Society Tattoo

Certain groups in our society are established for certain purposes. Their purpose could be to kill another segment of society or do terror activities. Such rogue elements in society often have a particular symbol on their body and that symbol goes on to become the sign of the rogue society. Such rogue societies take pride in getting their symbol on their body.

4. Traumatic Tattoo

These are form of tattoos when substances such as gunpowder or asphalt are spread into the wounds of the body due to some trauma or accident. These tattoos are often accidental.

5. Identification Tattoos

The name suggests that these are tattoos used for identification. For instance, Nazis tattooing process in concentration camps during the Holocaust to identify burned bodies from others.

6. Cosmetic Tattoos

As the name shows these kinds of tattoos are used for cosmetic purposes. These are the tattoos that are in high demand in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. In the fashion industry, this kind of tattoo is gaining popularity.

How Much to Tip a Tattoo Artist: Is It Fixed?

20 tip or more

By now if you have decided to tip a tattoo artist then the next question that comes into mind is to calculate exactly how much to add to the final tattoo price. In the tattoo community, there is a broad consensus that 20% is the typical amount to tip. But you can consider this number as the baseline and decide on your own how much you should pay based on the designs and efforts that an artist put into designing your tattoo. Some artists say that the more you spend on the tattoo the more you should tip.

What Tattoo Artists Say: How to Tip a Tattoo Artist?

Tyson Weed is an owner and tattoo artist at Sentient Tattoo Collective in Tempe, AZ. He says that tipping is a service like any other service industry and clients should consider tipping their tattoo artist. He goes on further to draw on people's mindset that people do not know how much time and effort goes into creating a tattoo. A lot of work goes into the artist process.

tattoo artists giving some briefing

Artists spend several hours drawing, designing, choosing colors if applicable looking for reference photos laying out the design and sometimes doing it all again. Additionally, many artists are responsible for a lot of finances like buying their supplies.

Tips are always appreciated and encouraged by tattoo artists. Tipping is not something that an artist expects from their clients. It is especially a way to let your artist know you love your tattoo and value their work. Tipping is a token of appreciation for the work of an artist.

Not tipping is also an option. But you must realize that it will probably leave a sour taste in your artist`s mouth. A tattoo is a courtesy that lets the artist know that you love your tattoo and recognize the hard work that is put into this process.

What if You Don’t Like your Tattoo?

We are very much sure that how much hurt you could be if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t like your tattoo. It is depressing and painful. A bad tattoo experience is never fun. Some tattoo artists suggest that talking to your artist and giving them time to correct it is the way forward. As the artist would never want you to leave the studio upset.

bad tattooing due to no good payment

Talking to your artist is the best way to express your feelings about the tattoo. However, getting a bad tattoo experience could be the sole reason that you do not give tips to the artist. Before you decide not to tip a tattoo artist, it must be kept in mind that you must communicate to your artist. If your artist is giving you ample time and resources to correct your tattoo then you should consider giving tip.

Support & Communicate

If the artist wants to walk you through the whole process of designing, and what makes a good tattoo then you don’t need to walk away. This artist is the best artist for you right now. So communicating clearly and loudly with your artist is the first step for making a good tattoo. These are the things that warrant a tip. You should not show greediness in this case because the artist is putting all the means and processes into carving out a beautiful tattoo for you. Be gentle and become a giver.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot pay for a tip then you should communicate with your artist if a gift can be accepted as a token of appreciation for the artist's work.

Whether Tipping a Tattoo Artist is Appreciation

You must have seen that all tattoo artists love monetary tips in the first place. But keep in mind that there are different kinds of artists. Some emphasized social media. Some artists want to expand their business and work by using social media. Therefore, you must have come across artists who ask you to share your tattooing experience on social media and type a good review. This could be the best tip that an artist ever receives.

It is also kind of increasing the artist`s horizon by attracting new clients for them. This act of reviewing is a sort of incentive for them. Giving incentives to artists will encourage them to further enhance their business. Therefore you should not be someone who is showing less interest in showing their tattoo or reviewing the artist on social media.

This is a kind of tip that everyone can afford in this modern world of information. In addition to money, appreciating and enhancing the work of the artist can be done from your mobile phone. Make sure to keep the artist happy because the artist puts a lot of work and effort into designing and making your tattoo.

Multiple Revisions - More Tipping a Tattoo Artist

doing many revisions of tattooing and tired bored

You must have seen people somewhere with a body full of tattoos. While some are not fully tattooed their tattoos are so complex that it requires multiple sessions. So if you are getting a tattoo that takes multiple sessions then you must be wondering when and how many times you should tip a tattoo artist. Some people tip a little after the end of each session and a bigger tip when the tattooing is done.

Do Artist Like to Receive Tip in Cash?

In contemporary world, many aspects of our lives are digitalized already. We make payments through online applications such as PayPal. Some tattoo artists prefer to tip in cash. If you are a tattoo lover and want to get a tattoo then you must keep cash in your pocket for a tip. You all have noticed that the sight of seeing cash leads to happiness for some artists.

However, not all artists prefer cash as they are using online means of transferring and getting cash. Therefore, before getting a tattoo you must communicate to your artist whether she accepts tip in cash or through digital mean. In the meantime, we suggest you give tip in cash because it has a good impact on the work of the artist and also on the design and work of the tattoo. The artist will pay full attention and put extra effort into making a good tattoo design for you.

Tipping a Tattoo Artist – Forms of Incentives

We have discussed tipping to a tattoo artist and why tipping is necessary as it is a way of appreciation for the hard work and efforts that an artist put in. However, some artists believe that tipping an artist is not necessary.

Kel Tait, an artist from the United Kingdom who works at Logan Square Tattoo in Chicago, does not believe in the notion that clients should be expected to tip for tattoos. As a Brit living in the United States, ‘I often do not accept tips’, she adds. She says that she likes it if she has given extra work and effort but still clients should not be compelled to give tips necessarily. It is extremely unfair that people should have to hand over extra money.

Another tattoo artist, Char Callan, also agrees with Kel Tait that clients should not feel that they have to tip. I work for a firm and the firm pays me to support my family. That is the reason I think giving tips is not necessary but it’s up to every artist whether they want to accept it or not.

How Much You Should Tip a Tattoo Artist?

Deciding how much to tip to an artist is really up to you but not all artists agree on this. In the United States, the average tattoo tip is 15-20% of the price of your tattoo. Most clients understand that giving tips is important because it gives a sense of acceptance towards the artist's great work.

In the following lines, we are going to give you a formula of how much you should tip your artist if you are in the United States of America. This flow chart shows different prices of tattoos and the usual 15%-25% of the tip. However, you should not think that this is a permanent flowchart, the percentage and price can change depending on your type of tattoo.

flow chart


Tattooing is an art and there are artists who perform this job. Tipping a tattoo artist might be confusing because some believe that everyone should give tip just like they are giving a tip to a waiter in a restaurant. Just like any other service industry, artists are also serving you by tattooing on your body therefore in light of the above-mentioned insights one should give a tip. However, it is also important to know how much to tip a tattoo artist be given.

To answer this question, I have drawn a flowchart for you and you can see how much tip should you give based on the price of your tattoo. We have also discussed different styles and types of tattoos such as cosmetic tattoos, traumatic tattoos or tribal symbols.

To conclude we have also discussed the psychology behind getting tattoos. However, if you are a tattoo lover then you must keep in mind that the artist is putting a lot of hard work and effort into this process thus you should be grateful and pay the tip as a token of appreciation.


How much do you tip for a $500 tattoo?

There is no specific figure for this. It is completely up to the client to pay the amount. If your tattoo is done in a single session then you have to give the tip at the end. However if your tattoo takes multiple session and it costa around $500 then according to the flowchart I made above you should give $80-$100.

How much do you tip for a $200 tattoo?

If you are getting a tattoo that cost you $200 then it means that it can be done in a single session. Therefore for a tattoo that cost $200 you need to give $30-$45.

Do you tip for a $1000 tattoo?

If your tattoo is going to cost you $1000 then your tattoo can be completed in multiple sessions. Therefore in this scenario, you can give a tip after every single session or you can give it after you are done with the tattoo. You can give $150-$250 as a tip.

Is $200 an hour too much for a tattoo?

No, this is not exactly the case. Tattooing the body is not an easy job and your tattoo might take more time than you expected. Therefore it is not necessary that a $200 tattoo might last a long time.

Is it mandatory to tip a tattoo artist?

No, it is not necessarily mandatory to give tips. Even some artists do not accept tips and rely on their salary. But a good client is the one who respects and accepts the hard work that an artist puts into his/her work. Tip is like recognizing the efforts of an artist. Therefore, one should always be generous towards artists by giving tips.

William Anthony

Passionate lifestyle blogger creating vivid narratives on fashion, wellness, and culture, weaving stories that inspire and captivate readers globally.

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