The Artistic Journey of Leonardo Santana de Freitas: A Tattoo Artist's Odyssey

Leonardo Santana de Freitas, a talented tattoo artist hailing from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, is a creative force to be reckoned with at the age of 37. In this exclusive interview with TattooGende, we delve into the life and experiences of this remarkable artist and learn about his evolution from a young dreamer to an internationally recognized tattooist.

Early Life and Interests

Leonardo’s artistic journey began with a deep passion for drawing, creation, games, and animated movies. His fascination with art led him to venture into the world of illustration at a young age. At the age of 16, he took his first step into the tattoo industry, working as an assistant in a tattoo studio, where he served as an illustrator and prepared stencils for tattoo artists. This early exposure marked the beginning of his enchantment with the world of tattoos. Over the years, he honed his skills and competed for a scholarship for an illustration course. Eventually, he became a drawing instructor and pursued a degree in Design at the School of Fine Arts of the Federal University of Bahia. His artistic journey continued, and he secured a position as an intern, later becoming an animator and 2D and 3D motion design video editor in television journalism, working with one of Brazil’s largest television networks, TV Globo.

Family Background

Surprisingly, none of Leonardo’s family members were involved in the arts, making his artistic pursuits a unique journey within his family.

Becoming a Tattoo Artist

Leonardo’s dream of becoming a tattoo artist was sparked in 2003 when he first stepped into a tattoo studio. However, due to financial constraints, it took him over a decade to realize his dream. In 2015, he began researching how to open a tattoo studio and work professionally. During this time, he had a significant role in an advertising agency, which temporarily delayed his dream. In 2019, he decided to pursue tattooing professionally and started as a student under the guidance of Raphael Lopes. Today, he not only owns his own studio but also enjoys international recognition.

The Learning Process

For Leonardo, learning tattooing wasn’t a natural process, but his innate ability to immerse himself fully in subjects of interest made the journey more manageable. He embraced the knowledge he already had and took an introductory tattoo course. The technological advancements in tattoo equipment, making the process safer in terms of biosafety, particularly appealed to his love for technology.

Unwavering Passion

Leonardo’s passion for tattooing remains as strong as when he first started. His commitment to producing content, teaching, and learning is well-known among his clients and followers. He sees tattooing as just one aspect of his multifaceted career.

Unique Tattoo Style

Describing his tattoo style as resembling pencil drawings with sketching techniques, known as “Sketch,” Leonardo’s work is a testament to his ability to deconstruct elements while maintaining the harmony and balance of shapes. This unique style demands a profound understanding of illustrated forms.

Favorite Tattoo Subjects

His favorite tattoo subjects include pop culture, anime, fantasy, movies, and series themes. Leonardo enjoys bringing his clients’ beloved characters and stories to life through his artwork, making each piece a personalized masterpiece.

The Design Process

The design process begins with an in-depth chat with the client to understand their perspective and expectations. For more complex projects, in-person meetings or video calls are scheduled. Leonardo then embarks on the research phase, collecting references and keeping the client updated on the progress, making adjustments based on their feedback until the final result is achieved. The creation itself takes place on his iPad, offering a seamless digital design experience.

Mastering Challenging Techniques

The most challenging tattooing techniques for Leonardo were whipshading combined with balanced dotshading. Achieving the right balance between these techniques demands a delicate touch, precision, and a keen eye for detail. Overcoming this challenge enhanced the complexity and richness of his tattoo work.

Critical Elements of Tattoo Designs

Highly expressive hatching techniques are a critical feature of Leonardo’s tattoo designs. Additionally, he focuses on clean visual characteristics, which receive praise from clients and students alike. These elements define his unique style and contribute to the impact of his designs.

Most Satisfying Part of the Process

Leonardo loves every aspect of the tattooing process, but he has a special fondness for the design and creation phase. It allows him to unleash his creativity, understand his clients’ visions, and craft unique and meaningful tattoos that clients will cherish.

Evolving as an Artist and Tattooist

Leonardo believes that continuous learning, staying updated with the latest tattooing techniques and styles, and attending workshops are crucial for evolving as an artist and tattooist. Collaborating with fellow artists, experimenting with diverse designs, and embracing creativity are all part of his strategy for growth as a tattoo artist.


Leonardo Santana de Freitas is not just a tattoo artist; he’s a storyteller, a creator, and a visionary. His journey from a young, passionate artist to an internationally recognized tattooist is a testament to his unwavering dedication and commitment to his craft. As he continues to evolve and push the boundaries of tattooing, we can only expect greater heights from this exceptional artist.

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His favorite tattoo subjects include pop culture, anime, fantasy, movies, and series themes. Leonardo enjoys bringing his clients’ beloved characters and stories to life through his artwork, making each piece a personalized masterpiece.

The Design Process

The Design Process

Family Background

Family Background

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