How to Design a Tattoo on a Computer

Tattoos have always been an avenue of self-expression or displaying cultural or spiritual beliefs, motivation, lifestyle, and identification with a particular group of people. 

With the evolution of tech, the tattoo world has not been left behind. On the contrary, it has only gotten better. Everything from the machinery to the execution and, most importantly, the design has changed and has become more expensive but easier to get a tattoo.

Tattoos designed by artists can be pretty expensive, so why not create them yourself? In this article, we’ll help you understand how to design a tattoo on a computer despite your inexperience.

Designing a Tattoo on a Computer 

First and foremost, tattoo placement is crucial as it ensures visibility, or lack thereof, coupled with the best color combinations to use for your skin tone. 

Your choice of a tattoo artist is also quite crucial as coming up with a design that works well with their style is crucial as to how the tattoo comes out. The software you use to design your tattoo is also pretty important, amongst other factors, as we shall discuss in this article. 

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Tattoo Design

There are a couple of factors to consider when designing your tattoo to ensure the best outcome of the design.

Tattoo Placement

Placement and visibility are crucial while designing a tattoo. While planning your design, explore the canvas and shapes of your preferred spot while considering your body movements.

It’s also best to consider whether you would like the tattoo to be visible or hidden. High visibility areas include the arms, face, hands, and legs, while lower visibility areas would be the shoulders, back of the neck and ears, stomach, lower back, etc. 

The location of your tattoo also plays a significant role in the design, size, and even the colors of your tattoo.


Color is a crucial factor to consider, especially while considering maintenance. If you prefer bright and vibrant colors, be sure you are ready to commit to regular touch-ups to maintain the vibrancy of the tattoo(s). 

While touch-ups are not crucial to the life of a tattoo, colors such as white or yellow may look dull and can compromise the integral design. 

For darker skin tones, bright colors may not be the best choice as they may appear illegible or invisible. Most people with darker skin tones opt for solid black tattoos as they are compatible with every skin tone. 

Black tattoos heal faster, look cleaner, and often serve as the primary color for most tattoos. They also do not need regular touch-ups and are body parts exposed to the sun as they tend to fade slower. 

Complexity of Design 

Designing a tattoo is an exciting art experience for tattoo enthusiasts and should inspire you to be creative and think outside the box.

If you are not artistically inclined, drawing a tattoo from scratch may seem difficult. We suggest finding a couple of images online that you like and combining, editing, and rearranging these images to make a comprehensive design.

Sometimes, a simple design may yield the best result. Too many fine details and colors may be difficult to execute and leave room for error.

Steps to Take When Designing a Tattoo on a Computer 

Here are steps and recommendations to design a comprehensive tattoo with a solid design you can be happy with. 

Conceptualize the Tattoo

If you have no idea or haven’t settled on a design concept, we suggest browsing tattoo blogs or tattoo artists’ Instagram pages. This is also a great way of finding a tattoo artist you want to work with. You can also browse Pinterest to get an idea of the style you prefer. 

Popular sites you may want to look through include DeviantArt, The Dots, or Dribble.

Consider Your Elements 

After finding your inspiration, it is essential to convey your ideas in an illustration application to try and get a solid grasp of your design. 


Your choice of colors is key as it will determine your tattoo’s vibrancy and overall look. Light colors like blue, red, orange, or green will look great if you have fair skin. Your color palette is also essential to make sure all colors are aesthetically pleasing.

If you have a darker complexion, black and grey tattoos work better as they would highlight your skin tone quite well. Light-colored tattoos fade relatively easier on dark skin tones


If you plan to get a text tattoo or an image and text surrounding the tattoo, your font choice will be crucial to the overall look. Usually, graphic design software comes with different font styles to experiment with and choose from.

For the best outcome, we recommend experimenting with different colors, fonts, and letter sizes. It is vital to choose the same font style, so your tattoo looks harmonious. The more creative and legible your font is, the better the tattoo will look. 

Design Modification

Below are great examples of applications to use when designing your tattoo:

  • Tattoo Maker: This app is suited for android devices, and it provides hundreds of pre-loaded designs and fonts. You can also upload images of your body and add your designed tattoo to your body image to see how it would look. Virtual Tattoo Maker does the same thing, but it is only compatible with Apple devices. 
  • Procreate: This is a beginner-friendly illustration app for digital artists or painters and comes with several brushes, pencils, inks, etc. Procreate is very flexible to use and saves your progress automatically, and gives you time to polish up your tattoo. 
  • Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop: Considered the holy grail for digital artists, these applications can be used independently but work better together. Photoshop helps you modify the design of a photo, while Illustrator lets you sketch new elements. The best thing about them is that you can copy and paste all items from one app to another without problems. Amazing!

Design Your Own Tattoo!

Tattoos are a way to express ourselves or send an important message. With the modernization of everything around us, the tattoo industry has evolved in all aspects, including design. We can now design tattoos and art on computers, making it easier and flexible for clients and artists.

When choosing a tattoo design, the factors to consider include where you would like it to be placed, elements of said tattoo such as text, colors, lines, and the artist’s prowess in executing your idea. The best thing about art is that it knows no bounds. So let loose and design a tattoo best suited for you!

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