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Masterpiece or Mistake: "Can you tell a Good Tattoo from a Bad One?"


Alright, tattoo enthusiasts, gather around for a chat about the wild and puzzling world of bad tattoos. As a tattoo artist, I've often found myself wondering why the f*ck some folk can't quite tell the difference between a great tattoo and dog sh*t. Today, we're diving into the intriguing realm of ink appreciation and exploring why, despite a plethora of talented artists, some people still end up with tattoos that leave us all collectively wincing. Lets talk about how to tell a Good Tattoo from a Bad One.

How to tell a good tattoo from a bad one
Can you tell a Good Tattoo from a Bad One?

  • The Subjectivity Conundrum:

First things first, let's tackle the elephant in the tattoo studio – art is subjective.

We all know beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. What might be a masterpiece to one person could be a weird choice to another. This subjectivity can make it tricky for people to universally distinguish between a good tattoo and one that's not.

But I don't mean bad tattoos are ones that some people just don't like.

Tattoos are deeply personal, and individual taste plays a massive role. Some might love abstract designs, while others are all about realism. So, it's not always that people can't tell the difference – sometimes, they just have a different idea of what looks good.

  • The Dazzle of Trends:

Tattoo trends come and go, and sometimes people find themselves caught up in the dazzle of what's popular at the moment. Instagram and Pinterest are overflowing with trendy tattoo designs that might look fantastic in a thumbnail but can turn into a regrettable reality when inked on the skin.

Choosing a good tattoo should go beyond what's trending. It's crucial to consider your personal style, the artist's expertise, and the timeless appeal of the design to ensure your ink stands the test of time.

  • Lack of Tattoo Literacy:

Not everyone speaks fluent tattoo. Understanding the nuances of line work, shading, and overall design takes a certain level of tattoo literacy. Some individuals might not be aware of the craftsmanship involved in creating a nice tattoo, making it challenging for them to distinguish between a skillfully executed tattoo and a shitty one.

Education is key. The more people learn about the art of tattooing, the better equipped they'll be to make informed decisions about their ink.

So maybe should you stop people in the street and tell them why their tattoos are awful. Line work should be clean and accurate, shading should be more than just scratchy black or one tone of grey, it should be dynamic and smooth. Colour whether bright and vibrant or muted should be saturated and smooth.

How to tell a good tattoo from a bad one

How to tell a good tattoo from a bad one

  • The Temptation of the Impulse Tattoo:

In our fast-paced world, impulsive decisions are practically a sport. The allure of spontaneous ink is real, and sometimes people find themselves under the needle without thoroughly researching the artist or design. The result? Tattoos that fall short of expectations.

I've done this myself more than once, that's why I have a huge selection of coverups and black out.

Taking a bit of time to research your artist, check their portfolio, and ensure their style aligns with your vision can save you from ending up with a tattoo you'd rather not have. I think Ill write my next post about cover-ups or laser removal.


In the vast world of tattoos and tattoo artists, the struggle to distinguish between good and not-so-good ink is real. While art remains subjective, there are ways to navigate this tattoo labyrinth. Looking at the diversity of styles, artists, and becoming a bit more tattoo literate, we can all strive for ink that makes a statement rather than leaves us scratching our heads.

There are loads of talented artists globally and locally but remember, beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, but a shit tattoo? We can all agree on that one.

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