Skin Design Tattoo


Types of Portrait Tattoos and Their Meanings

Is there a better way to pay homage to a person or character than to use them as an inspiration for a tattoo? Portrait tattoos seem more popular than ever, but are they a good idea for you?

This guide discusses reasons to get face portrait tattoos and the meanings behind them. Keep reading to learn everything about this body art type and why you should consider it!

Is It a Good Idea to Get a Portrait Tattoo?

You have two questions to answer here, and the first one is if you are certain you want a tattoo. It will permanently change your body, and it’s a long-term decision.

That brings us to the second question: whether a portrait tattoo is the right option. If you are confident in the idea of tattooing the face of a person or character, feel free to go through with it.

Here is why people usually get portrait tattoos:

It’s a memory of someone we lost. Unfortunately, you might have lost a parent, friend, or another beloved person. Portraying them on a tattoo can be a memento to show how much they meant to you.

You use it as a reminder of the crucial people in your life. You could tattoo your kids, parents, or partner for this reason. The idea is to always have a reminder of who’s most important in your life.

Showing you are a huge character fan. Some people choose a fictional character, and others go with a celebrity. Whether you pick Yoda or Brad Pitt is irrelevant as long as they have a strong meaning for you.

How Much are Portrait Tattoos?

The cost can go anywhere from $100 to $2,000. According to some information available, the average size of a portrait tattoo is $800. But the actual cost will depend on many factors, including:

Size. A small portrait tattoo will cost less than a large one. A big piece takes more time for the artist to finish, and they need to use more equipment.

Placement. It depends on the artist, but most charge more for back and chest tattoos than those on arms and legs. Ankles are a tricky spot, but they are not a frequent choice for a portrait tattoo.

Artist’s reputation and experience. Choosing a skilled and reputable artist is always better, especially with sensitive work such as a portrait tattoo. You could pay for their services more than a beginner, but for a good reason.

Design complexity. Even a small portrait tattoo can be complex if it contains a high level of detail. The artist will estimate how much time it takes them to finish the body art piece.

Colors. Will the artist only use black and gray, or do you want a modern multi-colored tattoo? The more materials the stylist needs to use, the higher the tattoo price.

How Big Should a Portrait Tattoo Be?

Portrait tattoos are delicate because they require a high level of detail. That’s why it’s necessary to maintain a minimum size requirement. Most artists won’t accept doing portraits in smaller dimensions than 3×3 inches.

The average size of a portrait tattoo is from four to six inches. You’ll often see larger pieces that look stunning because they contain an excellent level of detail. A big area to work on allows the artists to get the best out of ink, colors, and their skills. If you are wondering about a suitable size for your portrait body art, feel free to schedule a tattoo consultation and get a professional opinion.

Portrait Tattoos and Their Meanings

Face portrait tattoos rarely have hidden meanings. Their purpose is to show that the character portrayed on your body matters to you a lot. Here are the most popular portrait tattoo types these days!


Family members are the most frequent inspiration for these tattoos. Some people pick their parent’s portraits for the body art piece. It can be an homage to the person who adopted you or someone who meant a lot to you but passed away. Parents decide to capture their children on a portrait tattoo to display the close connection they have.


An animal portrait tattoo is another common motive. The difference compared to other animal tattoos is that this is a specific creature and one that means a lot to you. You might have a dog you have a close connection with or a pet who recently died. Tattooing them on your sleeve can be a great memento and a reminder of how special your pet is (was).


Are you a huge fan of Billie Eilish or another music star? Perhaps you adore Emma Watson or another actress? You might consider a celebrity special for various reasons – their appearance, attitude, statements, or all these factors combined. If you consider yourself a true fan, a portrait tattoo is an excellent way to pay homage to that person.

Fictional Characters

A fictional character can also serve as an inspiration for a portrait tattoo. For example, you might have loved Ninja Turtles as a kid, and you always wanted to be Leonardo. Perhaps Alf or Yoda inspired you for some reason. The fictional character you choose can be a great way of delivering the desired message. For example, Leonardo can indicate that you are fearless when battling challenges in your life.

Where’s the Best Place to Get a Portrait Tattoo?

A skilled professional is always the best address to get any tattoo. At Skin Design, we gather expert artists with vast experience working on portrait tattoos.

You can find us at multiple locations in Las Vegas, but also New York, Honolulu, and Orange County. So choose a tattoo studio closest to you, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. Our stylists can answer all your questions and guide you through the process to ensure you are 100% happy with your tattoo!

About the Author

Jacob Pullman

Jacob Pullman

Jacob Pullman is a former tattoo artist turned into a consultant-enthusiast-writer-educator. A change of career, before he started writing, he got a degree in PR and communications. He is passionate about traveling and exploring the world and cultures visiting all those funky museums as a modern art lover. His ultimate goal is to spread knowledge about relationships (but only theoretically, as he is still single), a healthy lifestyle, body art, and of course, everything related to tattoo art. That's how he went deep into digital marketing, working with Skin Design Tattoo to educate and share his knowledge and experience.