hen it comes to tattoos, there are countless styles to consider for your ink. Will you go with something bold and traditional? Do you want to go realistic, abstract, cartoonish and bright? Or perhaps a delicate, simple tattoo instead? The only limit is your own imagination.

Whether it’s a dainty line drawing or an artsy single line design, line art tattoos are popular for a reason. They’re elegant, pretty, and offer some benefits over traditional tattoos – but you don’t have to take our word for it.

We consulted with Gigi, a talented South Korean tattooist who specializes in these subtle works of art, to answer all of your questions about line art tattoos, including:

  • How much do line art tattoos cost?
  • How do you care for line art tattoos?
  • What do line art tattoos look like over time?

We’ve even pulled some inspiration for your ink. It’s a lot to get through, so let’s get started.

Meet Our Expert: Gigi

A Talented Woman Tattoo Artist Who Takes Her Art from South Korea to Countries Across the Globe

Woman tattoo artist Gigi sits at a table designing a line art tattoo in her studio
South Korean tattoo artist Gigi is making her mark on the industry.

Born in Seoul, Gigi spent her teenage years growing up in Daegu, South Korea, and most of her 20s in Shanghai, China. Like many of us, she was trying to find her place in the world – until she happened upon an interview with Korean tattooist Doy on Youtube.

Known for his delicate, airy art, Doy is considered one of the best tattoo artists in South Korea.

Seeing his work, Gigi was inspired and started learning everything she could about becoming a tattooist. She began her training with a few months studying at the academy – feeling that she had more to learn, she even retook the course to hone her skills.

According to Gigi:

“I wanted to express the characteristics of subjects with only lines. I usually draw nature and animals that people like. People think that the designs will be drawn quickly, however I spend quite a lot of time drawing the subjects as realistically as possible with lines, and drawing with special ideas that clients want to represent in mind.”  

One of Gigi’s favorite parts about being a tattoo artist is meeting different people – not only from her home in Korea, but also guests from around the globe.

Now that pandemic travel restrictions have finally lifted, Gigi’s calendar is packed. She will be participating in a convention in Taipei at the end of June 2023. She’s also preparing for an exhibition of her work in Yeon Nam, Seoul in August.

How Much Do Line Art Tattoos Cost?

Most Tattoos Start at $50-$200 and Go Up Depending on Other Factors

When it comes to beauty and body modifications, a tattoo is about as permanent as it gets. So of course, you want to make sure you invest in a high-quality piece by an experienced artist that is going to look great and age well. But how much of an investment should you be prepared to make before you hop in the chair?

Minimum Tattoo Price

Generally speaking, most tattoo parlors have a minimum cost for tattoos, regardless of size, style, or placement. This minimum fee covers basic materials – like the sterile needles that need to be unsealed and used for the piece – and the artist’s time.

For a small, simple piece – like the popular semicolon mental health tattoo or an outline of a symbol that means something to you – the minimum price usually runs from about $50-$200.

Most Expensive Tattoo Pieces

Bigger, more complex pieces that require a lot of time and labor tend to be the most expensive. These typically include full sleeves on the arm or leg and large back pieces. These can cost from $1,000-$6,000+ depending on the size, level of detail, and other factors.

Tattoo Finances: Deposits + Tips

Most tattooists or studios will require a down payment to hold your appointment. This fee will be applied toward the cost of your tattoo.

It’s also customary to tip your tattoo artist. Generally a tip of 15-30% the cost of the full tattoo is recommended.

How Much Will My Tattoo Cost?

Tattoo prices will vary from artist to artist and studio to studio, but to avoid sticker shock, here are some ballpark figures for popular types of tattoos:

  • Full sleeve: $2,000-$4,000 for outline only and $6,000+ for full color; two full days or multiple shorter sessions
  • Full back: $2,500-$5,000 for outline, up to another $2,000 for filling in color; several sessions totalling 50+ hours of work total
  • Forearm: $250-$1,300; one or more sessions
  • Chest: $500-$2,000; up to 10 hours of work
  • Finger: $50-$500; likely one session
  • Hip/Thigh: $500 for outline of a ~1ft tattoo, $1,500-$2,000 to fill with color
  • Shoulder: $800+
  • Ankle: $50-$250
  • Lip/Face: $500-$3000+
  • Tiny Tattoos: Shop minimum, likely $50-$200

Do fine line tattoos cost more?

Like any other type of tattoo, the cost of a fine line tattoo depends on the size, placement, and color requirements of that tattoo. Fine line tattoos require higher quality material as well as extra time, skill, and experience – all of which can lead to your tattoo falling on the higher end of the price range.

fine line tattoo after 2.5 years
Fine line rib tattoo fresh and after 2.5 years. Images by u/srslytho96 on Reddit.

What Do Line Art Tattoos Look Like Over Time?

Fine line tattoos sometimes get a bad reputation as aging badly and requiring frequent touch-ups. Like any tattoo, a fine line tattoo will settle over time – and choosing an experienced tattoo artist using high-quality materials can help ensure your line art tattoo will look its best for years to come.

Inks designed for fine line tattoos are typically thinner than normal tattoo ink to minimize bleeding. Needles should also be small in order to create extremely fine designs, typically 29 gauge or smaller.

line art tattoo after 4 years
Ankle tattoo fresh and aged 4 years. Images by u/Swimmi1998 on Reddit.

Best Places for Fine Line Tattoos

When deciding where to place a fine line tattoo, try to choose an area of the body that doesn’t bend and is mostly protected from the sun. Your tattoo artist can make recommendations, but generally these spots are good choices:

  • Inner forearms
  • Upper ribs
  • Upper thighs
minimalist tattoo aged 2 years
Minimalist mango tattoo after 2 years. Images by u/Lorenorsara on Reddit.

Trickiest Spots Fine Line Tattoos

You can obviously have a tattoo placed wherever you would like it, but some places are particularly difficult – especially if you like the look of a delicate line art design. The skin in these areas have lots of capillaries, which can lead to the ink spreading or growing blurry under the top layers of skin.

Tricky areas for delicate tattoos include:

  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Wrists
  • Face/neck

If you’re interested in getting a tattoo in one of these areas, be sure to find an artist that specializes in this kind of tattoo. Check out pictures on their social media of fresh and healed pieces they’ve done in the past to make sure you like what you see before booking an appointment.

How to Care for Your Line Art Tattoo

In addition to size and location, there are other factors that influence how a tattoo ages. Following the tattoo aftercare routine recommended by your artist can help your tattoo heal properly, and so can avoiding excessive sun exposure after your tattoo heals.

Inspiration for Your Next Line Art Tattoo

Not sure what your next line art tattoo should be? Here’s some inspiration for your ink!

Matching Line Art Tattoos with Your Bestie

friends with line art tattoos of a rose and butterfly
Image provided by Gigi.

Matching tattoos are popular for a reason – whether you hop in the chair with your sibling, parent, S.O., or bestie, matching ink is a permanent reminder of how important they are to you.

Line art tattoos like these minimalist matching rose and butterfly tattoos make for great matching tattoos. They’re not too expensive, and they don’t take too long to get done. Plus, these elegant designs will look great for years to come.

Capture Your Fur-Baby’s Likeness

continuous line art tattoo of cat and dog pets
Images provided by Gigi.

Any pet parent will tell you that fur babies play just as important of a role in their lives as human babies. If you want to carry a reminder of your pet with you all the time – but don’t have the budget or the stamina to sit through multiple sessions as you have the shading on their furry little face inked onto you – a line art tattoo is the perfect solution.

Add A Pop of Color

line art tattoo with some color
Image provided by Gigi.

Choosing a tattoo isn’t just black and white – for some people, color is an essential part of the equation. Luckily, if you like the sleek look of a line art tattoo you don’t have to sacrifice your colorful ink aspirations. Including a splash of color is a great way to make a line art tattoo stand out.

Line art tattoos can be a beautiful addition to your body art.

And if you take proper care of them, they will continue looking fresh for years to come. If you're interested in booking an appointment with our featured expert, visit lazystudio.co.kr/gigi or DM @gigi_tattooer on Instagram.

Jun 21, 2023