Ankles are an extremely popular location for tattoos, largely because of their relative inexpensiveness and versatility; they’re easy to hide but equally easy to show off. According to Chris Evans, resident artist at Divination Tattoo and Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina, ankle tattoos tend to be small and quick to complete which is why they’re usually more affordable than their larger counterparts. But how much do ankle tattoos cost?
When asked this question, Evans laughed and shared a story about one of his former colleagues. “If a customer were to come into the shop and ask him for the cost of an ankle tattoo, he would always reply by asking, ‘How much does a bag of groceries cost?’ because for both—tattoos and groceries—the price completely changes based on what you get.“
Although cost is variable, Evans says that an ankle tattoos cost between $100 and $200, and its price “ultimately comes down to the amount of time it takes your artist to complete”
While many ankle tattoos can be completed quickly, some styles, particularly those with fine, precise details, such as hyperrealism, take longer to ink irrespective of size. “Even the smallest tattoo can become expensive as its design increases in complexity,” he says, highlighting that, “as a general rule, tattoos take longer to complete and become more costly when you add shading, color, detail and size, so if you’re planning to get a minimal, line-based tattoo, you can expect to pay far less than if the tattoo you’re interested in is highly complex,” assuming, of course, that the two designs are similarly sized.
Bruno Levy, co-founder of Bandit Studio in Brooklyn, New York, echoes Evans, saying “the more detail or complex shading, the longer the tattoo will take to render and therefore the more the tattoo will cost.” He also notes that his fees account for, and will increase, based on the amount of time he spends with a client before the actual tattooing begins on the day of their appointment. “Sometimes clients can take a long time deciding on placement even for a very small tattoo,” he says. And while it’s essential that you to take your time with your design and its placement—it is going to be a permanent addition to your body, after all—you should be cognizant of the fact that all of that time adds to the final cost of your tattoo.
Regardless of size, most ankle tattoos cost upwards of $100 because of artist or studio minimums
Many tattoo artists and shops charge minimums for their designs, meaning you have to pay a flat rate for your ink regardless of its size or style. “Most artist’s minimum are $100 or more,” says Evans, “but I occasionally come across people who charge as little as $40.“
While it may seem expensive for a small ankle tattoo to cost over $100, artists charge minimums for good reasons. When you pay to get tattooed, you’re not only compensating your artist for their design and time, according to Levy, “every tattoo requires a fresh setup,” so you’re covering hard costs associated with the process as well—things like “tubes, inks, and miscellaneous items to prep and clean the skin during the tattoo procedure.” A common factor when finding out how much do ankle tattoos cost.
As you look into potential artists for your new tattoo, you should also spend some time researching their minimums (you can normally find this information on the FAQ page of an artist’s or studio’s website). Different artists charge different minimums, and knowing that cost in advance can help you more accurately estimate the total price of your design. If you’re getting your ankle tattoo from Evans, for example, you’ll pay a minimum of $120, but at New York’s Bang Bang Tattoo, a well-known studio whose clientele includes many celebrities, a similar design would start at $500.
Artist experience and cachet can affect the cost of your tattoo
Evans highlights that whether you’re getting a dainty, minimal design or something bigger and more detailed, you can typically expect to “pay a premium if you’re being tattooed by a highly experienced, well-known, or well-respected artist.“
Someone like Dr. Woo—the Los Angeles-based artist whose fine line designs are worn by the likes of Emilia Clarke, Miley Cyrus, and Drake—will, understandably, charge a lot more than someone new to tattooing. Still, not every experienced, high-profile artist charges a large premium for their tattoos, and in advance of your appointment artists will always provide you with a free consultation and rough quote so you have a better sense of what you’ll have to spend and if you can comfortably afford it. According to Evans, “most artists can look at a design and know approximately how long it will take to complete—that’s how they’re able to provide prices in advance,” and if your artist neglects to share a quote, “you should never be afraid to ask for one.“
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