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When looking at the totality of tattooing’s sorted past, tattoo realism, also called photorealism or hyperrealism, is a fairly recent addition to the expansive world of tattoos styling. Yet despite only having been around since the 1850s has grown so popular it quickly transformed into a modern classic.

Tattoo artists specializing in this unique and meticulous style are increasingly sought after for tattoos styled around portraiture, animals, scenery, and more. If you live in or around the Toronto, Mississauga or Kitsilano Vancouver areas, reach out to Chronic Ink and Tattoo today to learn more about our talented realism tattoo artists and how we can help you turn your vision into reality in the form of expressive tattoo art.

What are realism tattoos?

Realism draws inspiration from the realism art movement of the 1850s. The ultimate goal of realism is to use a variety of details and technique in order to create images that look like a photograph or real life 3D object.

In the case of tattoos, the results can often appear so lifelike that they tend to jump right off the flesh. Realism tattoos require extreme patience and exceptional talent on the part of the tattoo artist in order to achieve the amount of detail and layering necessary to provide a truly breathtaking work of art.

Color Realism Tattoo - Face

Do realism tattoos hurt more?

Usually the location of your new ink or the artist applying it have more of a bearing on the amount of pain you’ll endure than the style of the tattoo itself. For example, certain areas of the body, such as the ribs, are known for being more painful than others and some artists work with a heavier hand.

That being said, realism tattoos often take much longer than other less detail-oriented tattoos, so if you happen to be highly sensitive to pain, or are uncomfortable sitting or laying down for longer sessions, this may be something you want to take into consideration when contemplating a realism tattoo. Be sure to discuss any concerns you might have with your artist. They will be able to help advise you on what to expect and what to prepare for given your particular design, location and goals.

Do realism tattoos have outlines?

Rather than using the stark black outlines seen in more traditional tattoo styles, realism tattoos make use of gradual shading and layering to create lifelike 3D effects that stand out. This lack of defined outline adds to the sense that you could reach out and touch the object or person depicted in a hyper-realist tattoo piece.

Realism Tattoos - Skull Octopus

Do realism tattoos last?

This is a subject that has caused much debate in the tattoo community over recent years, with many arguing that the use of several degrees of lighter shading and lack of defined outlines employed in realistic tattoos created a finished product that fades quickly and doesn’t stand the test of time. The true answer to this question, however, isn’t so black and white as many other factors besides the style of tattoo come into play when we talk about tattoo longevity.

While on one hand yes, small details and light shading will often fade quicker than dark black lines or ultra-saturated colour work, there are measures both you and your tattoo artist can take to help the finished product look good for longer. First, it’s important to find an artist who specializes in this style and has extensive practice properly applying the ink for realistic tattoos. Another factor that comes into play is the quality of the ink pigments being used, as lower quality inks will fade quicker regardless of tattoo style. Finally, how you care for your tattoo both while it’s healing and over the long term is crucial. Be sure to protect your tattoo from the sun as harsh UV rays can quickly degrade even the most meticulously applied ink.

Colour Realism Tattoo - Chronic Ink Bird

Choosing the right artist

If you’re drawn to the realism style and thinking of getting a realism tattoo the next time you get inked, the most important thing you can do to assure you’ll be happy with the end results is by thoroughly researching artists who specialize in this style. At Chronic Ink, we have some highly talented artists with the know-how needed to bring your vision to life. Check out our artist’s portfolios, our gallery or schedule a consultation today!

Ready to get your next realism tattoo?

Chronic Ink Tattoo Shops are home to some of the best realism tattoo artists in the world. Our artists will work closely with you to turn your tattoo idea into a realistic tattoo design.

Tell us Your Idea

Tattoo Locations

Downtown Toronto

378 Yonge Street,
2nd Floor,
Toronto, Ontario
M5B 1S6
Directions

Midtown Toronto

252 Eglinton Ave East,
2nd Floor,
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 1K2
Directions

Markham

7381 Kennedy Road,
Unit #105,
Markham, Ontario
L3R 5B5
Directions

Looking for your next Tattoo Idea?

Browse our selection of one of a kinda tattoo designs created by our Chronic Ink artists. Each piece is individual and will only ever be tattooed once.