Canelo Alvarez: Secrets of a Portrait Tattoo


Image from CNN

In early November, fans saw the boxer Canelo Alvarez step into the ring and take on Sergey Kovalev. Alvarez triumphed and took home the World Boxing Organization title for the 175-pound weight class. But it wasn’t his victory that kept fans talking.

This major match gave the world a glimpse of his tattoos. Canelo’s back tattoo is text which offers inspiration to us all: “Destiny is not a matter of chance. It’s a matter of choice. Life is hard but never give up. Keep on trying and always believe in yourself to achieve your dreams.”

The real interest, though, comes from his arm tattoo. His arm features an awesome portrait tattoo of his daughter. And his incredbile tattoo ink lets us learn a lot about how to get a good portrait tattoo.

Serious Subject

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Image from The Sun

This should go without saying, but we’re going to spell it out: if you’re getting a portrait tattoo of someone, you need to make damn sure that you love them.

Some people rush into relationships and get inked way too early. For example, Johnny Depp got “Winona Forever” when dating Winona Ryder. After they broke up, Depp had to change it to “Wino Forever.”

Canelo got a portrait tattoo of his flesh and blood. This means he’s not likely to regret the ink at any point during his life.

Check (And Doublecheck) Their Portfolio

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Image from Pinterest

We’re going to level with you: not all tattoo artists have the same skill level. And many artists struggle with tattooing portrait tattoos.

That’s why you need to seriously research the artist’s portfolio, either in-person or online. Don’t pay much attention to their other work. Instead, focus on how detailed and realistic the portrait tattoos are.

Keep in mind that there is almost nothing worse than a bad portrait tattoo. It can turn you into a laughingstock and even insult the person you are trying to honor. Before you get a portrait tattoo, do as much homework as you can on the artist.

Big, Bold, and Bright

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Image from Inked Mag

Here’s the other side of the equation: a tattoo artist can only work with what you bring them. In order to bring a portrait tattoo to life, the artist will need a reference picture.

If you simply bring them a crumpled-up photo from many years ago, the artist won’t have much to go on. The less detailed the reference picture, the less detailed (and accurate) your portrait tattoo will be.

Long story short? Take the time to find a really large (say, at least 8×10) photo for reference. Ideally, this photo will be well-lit and showcase the person’s personality as well as their appearance.

With the right reference image and the right artist, you can enjoy the quality of a Canelo Alvarez tattoo.

Canelo Alvarez and the Portrait Tattoo: What Comes Next?

Now you know more about how you can bring your dream portrait tattoo to life. But do you know where to get regular guides and features in the world of tattoos?

Here at Tattooing 101, we’re here to bring out your best possible ink. Bookmark the site today and enjoy our inky inspiration every single week!

Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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