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Fine Line Tattoo Guide

Before you make the decision to get any tattoo there are some questions you have to ask yourself. Getting a tattoo is a permanent decision, It will become a part of your body forever. Jumping into that decision without extensive research and thought isn’t always the best choice. We will be touching base on a super popular style that has recently made a huge impression in the tattoo scene, which is Fine Line Tattoos. This style emphasizes the idea of less is more. Artists use fewer needles, super fine lines, and minimal shading to create delicate and elegant works of art. This requires precision focus and patience.

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Questions Before Getting a Fine Line Tattoo

Do I want Black & Grey or Color?

This is a super important factor. Fine line tattoos will be done mostly in Black & Grey with very little exceptions to color. Unless you are looking for the outline to be in color. Color pieces usually are more detailed and use more shading techniques. For good healed results larger pieces and placements will be ideal.

How big do I want this Tattoo?

Fine line pieces are predominantly going to be on the smaller size range. With some exception to medium projects but are rarely ever large. However, a large fine line piece is possible.

Do I want to see heavy shading or a more softer look?

This type of style focuses less on shading and more on the linework. If you are looking for dark shading and thicker lines this isn’t the right style for you.

Would this be the right style for a first timer?

Yes! Since the pieces will be fairly small, the needle will be thin and the piece will require minimal shading this is the perfect style for a novice. The sitting time will be short and the amount of pain will be less. They are super easy to take care of since there is not a lot of surface area to look after.

Fine Line Tattoo Styles

As stated above Fine Line Tattoos are predominantly black and grey as with color pieces they require more shading and thicker outlines. Fine Line pieces focus more on thin lines, minimal shading and some have a realistic approach. This style is best for tiny tattoos. Quotes, Numbers and smaller symbols are often requested designs for fine line pieces. Realism is also popular for this style which is a branch off of Fine Line which is called Mirco-Realism. These pieces are black & grey realism packed into a mini tattoo.

Numbers & Symbols:

A lot of people like to get lucky numbers, angel numbers and dates in a small thin style. Even small symbols like hearts, smiley faces and stars are super popular!


This type of style has only recently made its way into the tattoo world as technology has grown and materials like needles have adapted. It focuses on creating mini versions of realistic pieces. With that comes the need to use fine line techniques so details don't merge together. However, not all micro-realism designs are considered fine line.


This focuses more on the design style and can be done in many different techniques. Fine Line Chicano pieces are a good example of how black and grey shading can be incorporated into smaller works. This style is good for those looking to get a detailed that also does not have to take up a large part of their body.

Size & Placement of Your Fine Line Tattoo

The size and placement of any tattoo is incredibly important. Size can impact the following:

Design and Artist:

Although an artist can specialize in Fine Line Tattoos that doesn't mean they can do all Fine Line Tattoo styles, such as Micro-Realism. This style requires an artist who has the ability to execute a realistic piece in a microform. The design will impact whether or not the piece can be considered fine line or not. You will have to look at the outline proportions and shading.


Pricing of tattoos have many factors: Where the shop is located, whether the studio prices by piece or per hour, and if your artist is in high demand. Some smaller tattoos will be on the lower price range because of the amount of time put into it. Again it all depends on where you go!

Healing and Aftercare:

Smaller lines are subject to fading more than others because the technique used to achieve the delicate look. However, that doesn’t mean the tattoo won’t look good once healed. Precise aftercare steps done correctly after you receive your tattoo are what ensures positive healed results. This is for all tattoos!

Size & Placement of Your Fine Line Tattoo FAQ

Size and placement is a good thing to know before going into any tattoo. However, it is something you should always keep an open mind about. Artists usually do know what's best. Certain placements might not be the greatest for specific pieces and certain sizes might interfere with the design and ultimately how it will look once healed. Take finger tattoos for example, if you are getting a fine line finger tattoo expect fading! You produce a lot of oils on your hands, fingers rub against each other and washing your hands frequently can all affect the healing.

What is the best placement for a Fine Line Tattoo?

There is no best placement for a Fine Line Tattoo. Just always keep in mind certain things like spots on the body that fade easily, whether or not you would like to add different pieces around the tattoo and whether or not this piece will get exposed to frequent sunlight.

What size should I anticipate for a Fine Line Tattoo?

Fine Line tattoos are not subjected to a specific size (unless it is micro-realism). Keep in mind that just because it is Fine Line doesn’t entail it has to be small it just means that the lining work will be thinner and more delicate.

Selecting an NYC Fine Line Tattoo Artist

When selecting a Fine Line artist it is truly important that they specialize in this type of style. They need to have the correct needles, an understanding of how to create something delicate but lasting and be able to execute precision to the T.

Selecting an NYC Fine Line Tattoo Artist FAQ

What should I look for when selecting a Fine Line Artist?

Take a look at their portfolio, study their lines and shading. You want someone whose work is clean, elegant, and captivating. A super important thing to look for, for any tattoo artist is healed pictures of their work! Also the studio they work at.

What Type of Studio should I go to for a Fine Line Tattoo?

Location is an important factor. It would be ideal to go somewhere that will be easy for you to get to if a touch-up if needed. Make sure your artist makes you feel comfortable and the shop environment is welcoming. You will most likely not find a Fine Line Tattoo Artist at a Traditional Shop.

Book Your NYC Fine Line Tattoo at First Class Tattoos

We have a diverse set of artists and guest artists at our studio. All types of Fine Line pieces are frequently produced at First Class Tattoos in NYC. We want to make sure you are matched with the correct artist who will give you exactly what you are looking for. All tattoos will be inked and completely customized for each and every individual client.

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