How Long Do Tattoos Take?
Getting a new tattoo can take anywhere from a few hours to a few months. In some cases they can take over a year. Each session is typically 4-6 hours. How long your tattoo takes depends on size, complexity, care, and artist skill. Read on for more details.
Different Tattoos, Different Artists, Different Expectations
Every tattoo and every tattoo artist are a little different. While how long it takes to get a tattoo is a common question, there is no single answer. Going in for a free tattoo consultation will let you get the most accurate idea of how long your tattoo will take.
We recommend talking to an experienced tattoo artist. In the meantime, here are some indicators that can determine how long your tattoo will take.
The size of a tattoo is the most recognizable factor in how long a tattoo will take. The bigger a tattoo is, the more time it will take. A large tattoo takes more ink, more detail, and more time.
One of the current trends in tattooing, tiny tattoos, can be some of the fastest tattoos to complete. Small and simple, tiny tattoos can often take just one visit to complete.
The current world record holder for the most tattoos in 24 hours gave 577 tiny tattoos.
A large tattoo, such as a full sleeve, will take multiple sessions. The fastest you can expect to complete a sleeve tattoo would be about 4-8 weeks.
In some cases, the process of completing a sleeve tattoo can take 1 to 2 years. In such a case, the skin may be taking a longer than usual time to heal, the inked area would also be very large and likely complex.
Choosing between a simple versus a complex tattoo can affect how long your tattoo will take. A more complex tattoo will often, unsurprisingly, take longer than a simple tattoo design. The more details, colours and shading required, the longer a tattoo will take.
Minimalist tattoos are a good example of simple tattoo design. They can be very artistic, without requiring fine details. Less detailed work may reduce the amount of time the tattoo takes. Size will still be a factor.
However, simple does not always mean fast. In some cases, a simple tattoo can actually take longer than a more complex one. The lines on a simple tattoo, especially over a large area, need to be carefully crafted. Muscles and curves of the body can distort long, straight lines, so the artist must be careful. A more complex design can be broken up into smaller, more manageable sections.
More complex pieces, like colour realism tattoos can take much longer. Attempting a realistic look requires more detailed work and may take multiple sessions. Details like colours and shading may have to be added in separate sessions as well.
Complex tattoos can be very rewarding, but they take a real time commitment and a skilled artist.
Finding A Skilled Tattoo Artist
It’s important to make sure the tattoo shop you select has the right artist to bring your tattoo to life. Each tattoo artist has their own set of specialties.
Choose a tattoo artist whose skillset includes the style you want. The more experience they have doing the type of tattoo you want, faster the process will be. Most importantly, their experience will ensure you are more satisfied with the finished tattoo.
Picking a tattoo artist who is skilled in the style you want means a better tattoo, and a faster process. Review the tattoo shops portfolio to see their quality of work and experience in different styles.
The importance of proper aftercare cannot be ignored. Taking care of your skin between sessions will ensure proper healing, prevent infection and make sure the tattoo looks its best. As well, it will reduce the wait time between sessions.
Your tattoo artist will go over proper tattoo aftercare procedure, but it will be up to you to keep up with it. Taking better care of your tattoo will help it heal faster, allowing for more frequent tattoo sessions. As a rule, you can expect be waiting 3 weeks between sessions to give your tattoo time to heal. Your aftercare and your skin’s ability to heal will determine the exact length.
Another determining factor in how long a tattoo will take is session length. Longer sessions can mean fewer visits to complete a tattoo. With an expected 3 weeks between sessions, this can mean a huge difference in how long your tattoo takes.
That being said, it is not necessarily the best idea to book a long session right out of the gate. If you are getting your first tattoo, 3-5 hours is probably as long as you should go. Everybody has a different pain tolerance for tattoos, and on your first visit, you won’t know how long you can handle.
After the first session, you may decide you are able to handle longer tattoo sessions. If not, that’s okay. Your tattoo may take a little longer to complete. But it is more important to get it right, have it heal, and end up with a tattoo you love.
The longest tattoo session ever was 52 hours and 56 minutes. However, don’t expect this from your artist. A typical tattoo session is about 4 to 6 hours, with some clients choosing to book sessions back-to-back.
How Long Will It Take to Get Your First Tattoo Started?
It takes 3 weeks before starting a tattoo. At Chronic Ink, the process for getting a tattoo starts with a consultation. In the consultation you will meet with one of the best Toronto & Vancouver Tattoo artists. The artist will help determine the tattoo and style you are looking for. After 3 weeks you will receive a presentation including:
- A custom sketch/photoshop mockup of the tattoo, based on your consultation.
- An opportunity for feedback
- Adjustments based on your feedback and recommendations.
After this presentation, you can book your first tattoo session. You will be given tattoo preparation instructions. This will get you ready for your tattoo as well as setting yourself up for a successful tattoo and better healing.
There’s No Need to Rush
We know you’re excited to get your next tattoo. But at the end of the day, it’s more important to get the tattoo right than to get it fast. A tattoo is personal and permanent, so being satisfied with yours is what matters most.
The best tattoo shops in Toronto & Vancouver are typically going to have longer waits. That is because those shops and their artists are more sought out because of their skill. They may leave longer waits between sessions than some shops, but that is to allow for proper healing. In the end, better artists and shops that are concerned about quality and safety will give you a better tattoo.
Book an Appointment at Chronic Ink Tattoo in Toronto & Vancouver
Hopefully, this post help give you a better idea of what goes into your tattoo, and what time frame you may be looking at. The best way to get started with your tattoo is to book an appointment and pick out your next tattoo design.
To get a jump start on the process, book a free consultation today. Our experienced tattoo artists will be able to provide a more accurate description of the time it will take for your new tattoo.