Four Tips For Designing Your Custom Tattoo

Creating your own custom tattoo design is an exciting process, but it can also be nerve-wracking. After all, you’re trying to design something that will become a permanent part of your self-expression! Don’t worry – these four tips will help you through the process.

1.) Decide Where You Want The Tattoo

When you talk to your tattoo artist you want to know, in advance, where you plan to locate the tattoo. Just like the tattoo you’re about to get, your body is unique and has it’s own angles and lines. If you place a design in the wrong spot on your upper arm, for example, you could end up with something that looks warped or misshapen every time you flex your arm. 

You also want to consider the visibility of your design. Some people want the world to see their tattoos and some people want to keep them private. If your design is something that some people may find offensive, you may want to locate the tattoo somewhere it can be covered, if the need arises.

2.) Decide On The Specific Elements Of Your Design

You have to decide how specific you want your custom piece to be. That means knowing how much leeway you are going to give an artist to create the design, and how much effort you are going to put into creating the design. Do you want butterflies riding across your back or do you want exactly seven butterflies on your back? Are they all red and orange or are they each different colors? 

Some people are comfortable giving their tattoo artist the majority of the control over the design. Some people know exactly what they want the design to look like, down to the last flower petal, before they ever step through the door of tattoo studio.

If you have very specific requests or ideas in mind, tell your tattoo artist before he or she starts to plan the design. That will save both of you the frustration of going through unnecessary revisions during the design process.

3.) Decide On The Design’s Style

Part of building a custom tattoo is deciding on the style that you want. Tattoo styles are heavily influenced by changes in culture, location, and popular trends.

Some styles work better than others, depending on what type of design you want. For example, an eagle done in “Old School” or American Traditional style is going to have heavy, thicker lines with less detail (and less realism) than one done with a gray wash that shows every shadow and feather. Neither are going to look anything like a Celtic or tribal design.

Keep in mind that some artists work better in one style than they do in others. Often, deciding what style you want can help you find the right artist to do your work, because you’ll end up eliminating those artists who don’t work well in your preferred style.

4.) Don’t Be Afraid To Bring In Illustrations

Once you’ve figured out where you want your tattoo, what you want it to look like, and the design elements, it’s time to talk to the tattoo artist and sketch out the design.

When you talk with your artist (like those at The Ink Lab), don’t be afraid to bring in illustrations, photos, or even rough sketches of the design that you want. Visual information helps your artist determine what you like and what direction to take the tattoo, even if you are giving him or her a great deal of creative license.

It takes a little extra time and work to come up with a custom tattoo design, but in the end you’ll have a tattoo that’s truly original, and as individual as you are.