Thinking of Getting a Tattoo Sleeve – Here’s What You Should Know


Tattoos are an excellent way to express yourself. Whether you love tiny, subtle pieces or prefer the color and personality of a large tattoo, they essentially make your body a living work of art. If you’re already in the planning phase of your next tattoo project, then you’re likely considering a sleeve, which requires more thought and commitment than any other tattoo.

From the budget, design, and time it takes to complete, it’s essential to plan your tattoo sleeve before heading straight to the tattoo shop. It’s not as simple as getting a flash piece on a whim as it will cover your arm, and you have to work with the space you have. It’s also a commitment since tattoo sleeves tend to take numerous sessions.

Luckily, we’re here to help you strategize your tattoo sleeve. Here’s what you need to know:

Choose Between a Full Sleeve or a Half Sleeve

The first thing you need to do is choose between a full sleeve, which starts at your wrist and ends at your shoulder, or a half sleeve, which begins at either your wrist to your elbow or your elbow to your shoulder. Although half sleeves are shorter, they tend to be tricky to plan for since you and the tattoo artist have to work with less room.  That means you must carefully plan every design on it to make it look cohesive.

However, half sleeves are much more affordable and faster to finish than full sleeves, which can be an important deciding factor. If you’d like to have a more shocking effect on people, then full sleeves are the way to go.

Build Your Sleeve over Time or in One Session

Sleeves come in two major types: the first type is where you have a general idea, and you patch the pieces together over time, requiring less planning but just as much detail. The second type aims for a cohesive look, usually working with one artist, color, or theme. The tattoos all look intentionally chosen because they match, whereas, with the first type, they look like an assortment. However, you can still achieve a cohesive look with the first type by having designs or symbols that don’t usually go together but are done in the same style.

The second type is usually part of one big project. You’ll have a clear idea of what you want, communicate it to your tattoo artist, and have them create one piece that covers the entire or half of your arm.

Choose a Style and Tattoo Artist

There are so many tattoo styles you can choose from, but it’s crucial to choose one that you love since you’ll be seeing so much of it all the time. Be sure to explore the possible styles you can choose from, like sacred geometry designs, florals, or traditional American styles. If you want a cohesive piece, you’ll need to choose one for your entire arm and find a tattoo artist who is an expert with that style. For this reason, it’s best to peruse the portfolios of tattoo artists near you, helping you decide on the right artist for the job.

Consult with Your Tattoo Artist

Once you’ve found a tattoo artist that can realize your vision, be sure to book a consultation with them. They’re usually free, but if you agree to get your tattoo done by them, you’ll need to make a deposit, covering the time and effort the artist will funnel into designing your tattoo, especially if you end up not getting it. It’s good to have a few pegs, but be sure not to ask your artist to replicate an entire sleeve. They make art, not copy other people’s works, so it’s best to come in with a few ideas and work with them to create your dream sleeve.

Then, decide on how you want to schedule your sleeve. It’s best not to have the entire sleeve done in a day, so it’s best to divide it into several-hour appointments according to your pain tolerance. Additionally, ask your tattoo artist to find out what they prefer when scheduling projects such as tattoo sleeves.


Getting a tattoo sleeve is a great way to stand out from the crowd and take your self-expression to the next level. By following our guide, you’ll be ready for your dream tattoo sleeve in no time. Lucky Deville Tattoo Co. is a Buffalo tattoo shop with a team of the finest tattoo artists around. Whether you want a full-color tattoo or a photorealistic portrait work, we can do it all for you. Contact us today to set an appointment!