A sleeve means covering your whole arm in tattoos, so it mimics how a real sleeve would be.
A half-sleeve therefore is covering only half of your arm in tattoos, this can be only the upper arm or the lower arm.
For the people who are thinking of getting a sleeve or half-sleeve, we want to give you the following information.
1/ How much does a tattoo sleeve cost?
This is probably the first question that comes to your mind.
This depends on a few things: your artist, the style you want, the circumference of your arm and if you want the tattoo to be black 'n grey or coloured.
In our studio you can sort these styles from cheapest to most expensive :
photorealism (black 'n grey)
This can be different in other studios, this whole article is but a guideline for us, Inksane.
The 'cheaper' styles need less hours to complete a sleeve.
With maori and oldschool you have some pieces of skin that aren't tattooed. In photorealism it's as if every 'pixel' of your skin is covered, so this is obviously more time consuming.
In photorealism there's already a few colourshadings and small details on 1cm², with maori or oldschool it is possible that this 1cm² is 1 even colour.
To give you a really rough estimate of the price, a whole sleeve could be in the range of 2000€ to 5000€.
2/ Can I know the price of my sleeve beforehand?
Ofcourse. If you come by and explain your idea, we can help you choose your style.
Depending on your style, we can show you a few artists that match this style. Every artist is specialised in his own style.
If you know the style already, and the artist, and you talked with him about the design, then we can give you a better guideline of this sort: 5 sessions, every session between 4 and 6 working hours, with a rate of for example 75€/hour. Or 6 to 7 sessions of 500€. Or...
3/ How long does it take to tattoo a sleeve?
This is also depending on the style of your tattoo and your artist, for photorealism we can give you these guidelines :
1 tattoo on the inside of your lower arm : 1 session
1 tattoo on the outside of your lower arm : 1 session
1 tattoo on the inside of your upper arm : 1 session
1 tattoo on the outside of your upper arm : 2 sessions (it is double the size of skin surface to cover)
With these 5 sessions your sleeve isn't fully complete!
This is only calculated if you take separate pieces.
An upperarm sleeve is mostly 4 sessions in total (it can be one more or less), a lowerarm sleeve is mostly 3 sessions (can also be one more or less).
So in total +- 7 times.
The more cool details in your design, the more working hours ofcourse.
4/ Do I need to choose 1 artist for my whole sleeve?
In the ideal case, 1 artist will do your whole sleeve, but for multiple reasons it happens to be different in practice.
For example not everyone has the budget to get a whole sleeve, so they opt to get 1 piece and get another piece later.
As long as you stay with 1 style, it can be done by multiple artists of our shop without seeing it clearly. Ask us for certainty if your choice of artist fits with the tattoo you already have.
Most people see their sleeve as a collection of artpieces done by their favorite artists.
Our artists are only specialised in their style, but sometimes by subject.
For example, one artist is specialised in dogs and other animals while the other artist is better in portraits of children. Both in black 'n grey photorealism.
If your sleeve has your dog and your 2 kids, you can opt to let your sleeve be a collection of these different artists, each with their area of expertise.
If you want a text with this, you will need a totally different artist for that too.
5/ In what time frame will my tattoo sessions be laid out?
If you book your whole sleeve with 1 artist, you should take all sessions relatively close to eachother. For example once a week or once every 2 weeks.
If you opt to come once a month, it will easily take +-8 months before your sleeve is done.
An artist likes to be focused on your project, like this the artist can make the best of your design. If you come once a week, your project will be still in the fresh mind of your artist(s).
If you come less frequently, we have to think about where we left off, or think what the meaning behind everything was again.
More focus is a better end result.
Artists grow in their work and their standards, we are very strict to ourselves and always strive for the better.
For the expert eye there can be level differences within one big project that was spread out too much.
If you choose to take 1 session now and another one later (undefined), you can choose between any artist of that moment, as long as it is the same style.
Then you can choose the best guestartist who's here in 3 weeks and see what guestartists we have later.
If you want your sleeve in a short period of time, you 'll have to choose an artist that is here for a longer time or is a permanent artist here. It has no purpose to choose a guestartist that is only here for 2 weeks and never comes back.
In the early stages of your sleeve it can be worked on day after day or 1 or 2 times a week. Once you begin to fix the pieces together and need to work on already existing pieces or go close to them, that piece needs to be fully healed.
In short :
minimum term : 1 month
maximum : as many years as you want, if the collection of (guest)artists on that moment is your style.
6/ dont's for a tattoo sleeve?
Don't go from a half half-sleeve to a 3/4th to a full sleeve. You'll see this in the endresult, it will not be 1 nice piece than you would've done a full sleeve in the first place.
Stay with 1 style! For example don't combine oldschool with realism,...
Don't get small pieces done on your arm, if you're already thinking of maybe getting a sleeve. It will make getting a nice full piece more difficult and will interfere if you want a big continious piece.
Don't spend your time searching pictures of sleeves you want on Google images. The picture you will show us, we'll have seen a thousand times before.
If you understand that we do not copy, and that our artists always make their own thing of it, then you can bring pictures to give us a guideline of what you want.
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