Sleeve Tattoos — A Commitment to the Journey

Sleeve tattoos are enjoying a serious wave of popularity these days.

As well they should — they are fantastic pieces of body art that can bring you satisfaction for decades to come.

So, if you’re considering getting a sleeve tattoo… great, that’s awesome!

But, hold on one second. Let’s consider a few things.

Sleeve Tattoos Aren’t Snap Decisions

I hope you’re fired up about getting a sleeve, but I also want to be sure you’re armed with all the information before you sit down in the chair.


This isn’t something you do on a whim some random payday because you’ve got some extra cash in your pocket.

Getting a sleeve of any type is a major body art project that some consider a type of adventure.

When done right, it can be an awesome addition to your body and a rewarding journey.

But, when done without the proper forethought and commitment to the process, you could be left seriously regretting the whole decision.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone — quite the opposite!

I’d just like to offer you some sound advice from my experience in the business to be sure you understand the process and will be happy with the final artwork you’ll be wearing.

Find the Right Artist

Straight to the point — you need to find the right person to do your sleeve.

I just wrote about how to identify the best tattoo artist in your area,  but now I’m going to double-down on that advice, especially when it comes to sleeve tattoos.

A major project of this scope requires some serious talent. You need to be sure the artist or shop you’re hiring to do your sleeve is up to the task.

Be prepared for a multi-session undertaking.


If you don’t like your artist’s personality, their business practices, or the shop’s vibe — well, this isn’t going to go very well.

That leads me to my next point.

Sleeve Tattoos Require a Commitment

Time, pain, and money — a considerable amount of all those is what you’ll be investing in this project.

The different types of sleeve tattoos, such as the following, require varying levels of commitment:

  • Quarter sleeve — Reaches down from the top of your shoulder halfway to your elbow
  • Half sleeve — Stretches from the top of your shoulder to just above your elbow
  • Full Sleeve — Extends from the top of your shoulder all the way to your wrist
  • Hikae — Japanese-style sleeve tattoos that cover a portion of the chest and reach either your elbow or wrist

As you can probably guess, the amount of area covered translates to time in the chair. The time required can be further increased by the detail and shading involved.

Extensive time in the chair means the total cost of the finished product will also be considerable.

An experienced tattoo artist isn’t cheap, but is well worth the investment. 

It also translates to more time spent getting personal with a tattoo machine. You may have a tough time completing the process if you have a low pain threshold.


We can get you a little help with the pain, though, if you need it.

A 5% lidocaine topical gel can take some of the edge off for an hour or so, and that might help you get through some tougher sessions. So, don’t completely lose heart here.

Trust the Process — Let the Artist Design It

Once you’re ready to make the level of commitment sleeve tattoos require and take this potentially life-changing journey, you need to sit back and let the process unfold.

Honestly, other than honoring the commitment of showing up and doing this thing, sleeve tattoos are best left to the artist.

Each artist has their own aesthetic. You’re going to get superior work if you let us design and execute what we do like nobody else in the way that has built our reputation.

Another reason to let the artist do the design work is balance. You want the tattoo to blend and flow with the muscle shape and tone of your arm so that the image won’t stretch and distort with every movement, never looking the way it was intended to.

Give the artist some ideas. Look through their portfolios, and help them understand what you want. Then, let them do their thing!

In other words… Let the art express itself.

Click here to learn about American Traditional Tattoos

Sleeve Tattoos Are Lifetime Investments

Let’s face it, a sleeve is not the “entry-level model” of tattoos.

This is both a lifetime investment and a really involved, intense journey. So, pick an artist you love and make the commitment to get the sleeve tattoo you really want.

Then, let the artist do their work for you.

Sleeve tattoos are awesome and complex works of body art. The right one for you is out there, so enjoy the adventure! Fill out our contact form and let’s set up an appointment to get started.