7 questions answered
7 Questions about tattoo sleeves answered
An armful of your personal stories and adventures
A sleeve means filling your entire arm with tattoos so that it takes on the shape of a sleeve, so to speak.
A half sleeve is consequently having half of your arm tattooed, this can be the top, or also just the bottom.
Do you still have a head full of questions? Read on.
7 Frequently asked questions about tattoo sleeves
1/ HOW MUCH DOES A SLEEVE TATTOO COST?
The price of your sleeve depends on several factors such as which artist you have chosen, the style, your arm size and the design. Would you like the design in black and white or all-color? Both of these have an impact on the cost of a tattoo.
If we search within our Inksane data by "Sleeve," the average price is about €614 per session. Each sleeve requires an average of 5 to 8 sessions to complete. The price of a sleeve is paid per session, For example, you can schedule 1 session per month to spread the total amount of your sleeve.
This female tattoo sleeve was done in 6 sessions.
2/ WHERE IS THE PRICE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIFFERENT SLEEVE TATTOOS?
When placing a tattoo in a cheaper style, the difference is usually in the hours required to fill an entire area. For example, in the case of fotorealism in 1cm² there is already some hue and fine detail while in Maori style or oldschool that one cm² might consist of 1 solid color. In color photorealism, as it were, every pixel of your skin is covered.
To give a very rough estimate, you may count between €2000 and €6000 For your entire arm.
These are some of our styles listed from cheaper to more expensive: maori, oldschool, fine-line, biomech, black and white realism, new school, color realism.
3/ CAN I KNOW IN ADVANCE HOW MUCH MY SLEEVE WILL COST?
Yes we do. If you come to us and explain your idea, we can help you choose which style you prefer.
Depending on the style, we can find the appropriate artist(s) proposals. In fact, with us, each artist specializes in his own genre.
If you already know the style and artist and have had a chat with them, we can already give you a better guideline in this nature: Five sessions: each session between 4 to 6 working hours; at a rate of e.g. 75€ per hour or 6 to 7 sessions of 500€ or 750€ fixed, ...
You can visit us in one of our three studios: Roeselare, Sint-Niklaas or Brussels.
Tattoo sleeve man in new school style
4/ HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PLACE A TATTOO SLEEVE?
Again, this depends on the style of your tattoo and the artist. For photo-realism, we can give you the following guidelines:
- 1 tattoo on inner forearm: 1 session
- 1 tattoo on outer forearm: 1 session
- 1 tattoo on inner upper arm: 1 session
- 1 tattoo on outer upper arm: 2 sessions (as this is double the area of the rest)
With these five sessions, your whole arm is not yet full. This is the calculation for single pieces.
An upper arm sleeve in total is often 4 sessions, a forearm is often 2-3 sessions.
So a total of +/- 7 sessions, this is a rough estimate. It will still be largely determined by the design and size of your arm. The more details in your design, the longer it will take, the more sessions will be needed.
At Inskane Roeselare, St-Niklaas and Brussels combined.
Each year a greater number of sleeves are placed, in 2021 we had as many as 533 sessions scheduled for half and full sleeves. A full sleeve will require 5 to 8 sessions, a half 2 to 4.
Unfortunately, in 2020, the number of scheduled sessions were very less due to COVID-19, which temporarily closed the tattoo studios.
Could we break our peak year of 764 (2019) in 2022? Let's go!
5/ DO I BEST HAVE MY TATTOO SLEEVE DONE BY THE SAME ARTIST?
As long as you are within the same genre remains, there can in principle be several Inksane artists worked on your arm without it being obvious. Consequently, many see their sleeve as a collection of artwork by their favorite artists.
Our Inksane artists specialize in a specific genre, this can also be by subject. One specializes in animals, the other in children's portraits. Both can be done in black 'n' grey photorealism are put. So if your sleeve now happens to include your dog and your two children, you can choose here to see your arm as a collection of different artists, each with their specialty. The reception will help you in this to keep the tattoos in the same style and genre.
6/ OVER WHAT TIME PERIOD IS A TATTOO SLEEVE SPREAD?
If you book with 1 artist for a full arm sleeve, it's best to take all sessions relatively close together, like 1x a week, or every 2 weeks. If you come once a month, you are already +-8 months before it is finished.
An artist likes to stay focused on your project. If you are back here every week, your project has not been out of that artist's mind. With less frequent visits, there is a quick thought of 'Where were we?' or 'What was that meaning behind it again?'.
Also, an artist evolves in terms of level. An artist always strives to be better. In 8 months a lot of change may have occurred in terms of technique with that artist. So to the trained eye there could be level differences within 1 large project spread over too much time.
Those who prefer to spread out their tattoo sleeve over several years should opt for the "collection sleeve" as discussed earlier.
So if you want your arm full in the short term, it is best to choose an artist who is a constant presence or is here during a long consecutive period, e.g. 1 full month or more.
In the early stages of your sleeve you can often work on it in quick succession, such as day after day or twice a week. As soon as you start tying and "sewing" parts together, the piece must be completely healed before you can continue working on it. So it is recommended to schedule as many sessions as possible, especially in the beginning. As it progresses, you can already leave more time between sessions.
Minimum term: 1 month
Maximum: As many years as you like, as a collection of (guest) artists where there is supply at that time.
7/ WHAT IS NOT TO RECOMMEND AGAINST A TATTOO SLEEVE?
- Avoid expanding in too small pieces. For example, don't start expanding a half sleeve into a ¾ sleeve and then end up with a full sleeve. This stands out in the end result and is less of a whole than if you had started a full arm from the beginning.
- Stay consistent and stick to one style. For example, do not combine old school with realism.
- Do not place a small tattoo in the middle of your arm if you want another sleeve later. This completely gets in the way of a bigger picture.
- Avoid spending hours searching Google for images of sleeves you like. Google often brings up the same results. The image you bring to us we have most likely seen thousands of times.
- Understanding that artists are not allowed to copy images and tattoos and so will have to create their own version, you can bring images to give a guideline and the style illustrate the one that most appeals to you.
The guidelines in this article are based on all of Inksane's studios.
Sleeve tattoo woman: first 3 sessions finished, will be expanded next year.
Sleeve tattoo woman: Biomech & photorealism, 7 sessions, finished.
Sleeve tattoo woman:Photorealism color, 2 sessions so far
TYPES OF SLEEVE STYLES
Below is a small overview of the most commonly used styles for tattoo sleeves (from cheaper to more expensive):
MANDALAs & fine-line
PHOTOREALISM BLACK AND WHITE
Want to learn more about a sleeve tattoo or make an appointment?
Then take free contact on with one of our receptions!
More extensive questions? Be sure to read our FAQ.