Today’s tattoo art and techniques have come a long way since their ancient beginnings. There is, of course, timeless beauty to the classic styles of tattoo art. However, advances in equipment and methods coupled with new creative minds constantly emerging on the scene have paved the way for many fascinating new tattoo styles to develop. Though some of these styles have been part of the formal art world for some time, they are relatively new when considering the 12,000-year-old history of tattoos. Realism in tattoos is one such popular recent style. Realism, also called photorealism, refers to art that is a detailed and accurate representation of images seen in real life. When realism is done well, it can be difficult to distinguish between a realistic drawing or painting and a photograph.
Applying this technique to paper or canvas is difficult, but applying the same principles to skin adds a layer of complexity that tattoo artists spend years mastering. Since an attempt at a Realism tattoo done by someone who hasn’t trained in that particular style is usually a catastrophe, choosing your tattoo artist wisely when desiring such a tattoo is essential.
Types of Realism Tattoos
The two basic styles of Realism tattoos are black and grey realism and color realism. Black and grey Realism tattoos are the easier of the two styles to master since these tattoos only utilize black and grey ink. Eliminating color means your tattoo artist can focus their full attention on the details and shading of your piece. The result mimics the appearance of a black and white photograph.
Meanwhile, rendering a Realism tattoo in full color adds further complexity. Creating full-color Realism tattoos requires great concentration and skill while also being more time-consuming to render. These tattoos frequently require multiple detailed layers to achieve the desired results. However, when done by an experienced artist, the finished composition will look so three-dimensional, life-like, and real that you may forget it’s a two-dimensional tattoo.
Popular Images for Realism Style Tattoos
There are almost no limits to images that can work for this tattoo style! Anything from the real world can be turned into a photorealistic tattoo by an experienced artist. However, some subjects provide the most popular choices for Realism tattoos. One of the most common and popular choices is portraiture. These can vary from portraits of loved ones to celebrities or even pets. It is a very specific skill, and many Realism tattoo artists specialize entirely in realistic portraits.
Another popular subject for Realism tattoos is nature, where many visually striking wonders abound. Consider using incredibly detailed flowers, animals, or landscapes as your inspiration. Flowers can be an excellent option for someone wanting an eye-catching Realism tattoo without devoting space to a larger-scale tattoo.
Fans of gore and the macabre have also developed a love for Realism tattoos. The fantastic 3D effects that can be achieved with Realism lend themselves to torn flesh and all things spine-chilling, making it the perfect style to make people’s skin crawl!
Of course, the possibilities don’t end there. When deciding on the subject matter for your Realism tattoo, inspiration is everywhere!
Picking the Right Realism Tattoo Artist
Choosing the right artist for your tattoo, but especially for a Realism tattoo, should be considered thoughtfully. When going for realism, experience is paramount. Look through portfolios until you find someone whose style perfectly matches your vision.
At Red Baron Ink in Manhattan, NY, we have tattoo artists specializing in color realism and black and white realism who have experience with a wide range of subjects. Peruse our artists‘ portfolios online or contact RBI Tattoo to schedule a consultation. Let our talented artists bring your idea to life!
238 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011
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