Chapter One Tattoo

Small Tattoos San Diego – Does Size Matter?

Small tattoos in San Diego have been a mainstay in the San Diego tattoo scene. Now in 2022 full sleeves and huge back pieces tend to dominate our feeds when we are looking at tattoos. The art that can be created on such a large canvas can be extremely intricate and allows for all sorts of designs and imagery. As cool as they can be, they are not for everyone. The time, cost, and dedication for such pieces can become overwhelming to some and can become a large, and very reasonable, barrier to getting a tattoo. As well, there still exist many professions that prohibit visible tattoos. There are also a bunch of people who are already covered in large tattoos and don’t have any extra limbs to allow for a sleeve or large tattoo. So what is one to do? Enter small tattoos.

Anthony Bourdain by Dan Collins

Firstly, what even constitutes a small tattoo?

“Palm-sized”? Less than 3 inches? One inch? Trying to force anything into a single category can be difficult, especially when considering art done on the body where the “canvas” comes in varying shapes and sizes. For the purpose of this article, small tattoo will be used in a very general sense as everyone may have their own definition of what they consider to be a small tattoo.

Small tattoos have really blossomed in popularity lately. Whether as a first tattoo, gap filler, or something in between, small tattoos are everywhere. Small tattoos, when done correctly, are just as permanent as any other tattoo. A small tattoo will of course take less time to be done, and will probably be less painful (though not always!), but that does not make them any less meaningful or important. Of course tattoos do not require meaning, but for many, especially those with few or no tattoos, a meaningful small tattoo can be very important in their decision to get one.

How much is a small tattoo in San Diego?

Many shops (Chapter One Tattoo included) do have a shop minimum. From there tattoo prices vary depending on artist, detail, size and placement. For a quote please submit a contact form or schedule a consultation (they’re free!).

Small tattoos are becoming increasingly popular, and San Diego is no exception. As with all tattoos, make sure to do your research and find a talented artist to make your small tattoo. Ideally one who specializes in such a style to ensure the best experience which in turn will lead to a better tattoo. Thankfully, we at Chapter One Tattoo have several artists who specialize in fine-line and single needle tattoos and can help make your next small tattoo idea into a reality!

What type of small tattoos can I get?

Many small tattoos are done with a fine-line or single needle style, but not all! By utilizing a smaller needle, it allows the artist to fit more detail into a small tattoo and make something more intricate, but not every small tattoo requires that technique. Despite generally being associated with bold lines, even some American Traditional flash can be done small enough to be considered a small tattoo. It is important to be aware of the possibilities and limiting factors of a design when getting a small tattoo. For example, when doing line work, the lines must be spaced out enough to allow them to remain as individual lines as the tattoo ages rather than blending together into the all too familiar blurs that we can sometimes see on much older tattoos.

When looking into getting a small tattoo, there are just as many factors to consider as when getting any other tattoo, if not more so. A small tattoo, by its general nature, forces one to be more selective on what is included in the tattoo since there is less room. This can often lead to really clever designs and creating a unique small tattoo to represent something that would normally require larger space. And although smaller tattoos will take less time than larger tattoos, not all small tattoos are equal. A small mini-portrait will take much more time than for example a small, simple cross tattoo.

Hot Air Balloon by Anna Cojocari

It is much more common with small tattoos to have a client bring in their own design that they or a friend drew up. This is always welcome, but as with any tattoo, it is generally advisable to be open to small changes in the design as not everything that can be drawn can be turned into a well done tattoo, especially a good small tattoo. Communication with the artist is key so if there are certain elements that must be retained, keep in mind it may have to become a slightly larger tattoo. A good tattoo artist will be transparent with what can realistically be done and should be open to working on making sure the design is one the client is not only happy with, but will stand the test of time. Be aware that some tattoos we see on social media may look great for the photo, but not all will look so good in the years to come. Be sure to find a trustworthy artist who makes a small tattoo that is built to last and looks good in the future and not just for a post online.



Who is the best artist for small tattoos in San Diego?

Chapter One Tattoo, located in Ocean Beach, offers small custom designs made with precision and care. With highly competent artists on staff, your small tattoo will be designed with attention to detail that results in a piece of art that you can enjoy for many years to come. A small tattoo done correctly can be just as meaningful as a large one, so if you’re considering getting tattooed, Chapter One should be your destination for small tattoos in San Diego.