How To Draw A Tattoo

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 15, 2020
    Last Updated: November 21, 2020

It’s easy to pick out your favorite tattoo from a catalog, but it doesn’t always carry the same meaning as a custom design. Many tattoo artists are happy to let customers express themselves by creating their own unique pieces. 

A professional artist can make drawing tattoo designs look easy. However, for most of us, it’s a labor-intensive process that requires plenty of time, thought, and effort to achieve. Here, we’re going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to draw tattoos.


Consider Your Passions

A tattoo is a permanent form of personal expression, and it should have some sort of significance to you and your lifestyle. When drawing your own tattoo, try to come up with ideas and themes that align with your interests. 

Avoid creating a tattoo on a whim or designing it after a current fad. A tattoo lasts forever, so you don’t want to get one based on a temporary interest. Almost 25% of people end up regretting their tattoo down the road, but you can avoid being one of them with plenty of research and planning. 

It’s best to base your tattoo around long-time hobbies, interests, and deeply-held beliefs. You should also consider what style meshes best with your personality. If you’re not sure about artistic direction, you can seek outside inspiration. 

One of the most obvious places to look for design ideas is by studying other tattoos. You can look through professional artists’ portfolios to get a sense of what you do and don’t like when it comes to body art. 

You don’t necessarily have to stick to looking at tattoos for inspiration. You can also look through artwork, cultural artifacts, or even out in nature to find the sort of style you want for your tattoo. As long as you do your research, you’ll have plenty of unique ideas to pull from when it comes to the drawing stage. 

Choose a Location

You should consider your tattoo’s location before you start drawing it to get an idea of size and shape constraints. The site also determines visibility, which may be important for those in a professional setting. Even if it’s not at the moment, you may want to avoid designing tattoos for highly visible areas, as it could affect your future job prospects.

Think about your body as a canvas. Take some time to look over all of the areas that you could potentially place a tattoo. Some people want something that’s readily visible, while others prefer a more private location. Many choose to get a tattoo that they can display to the world or cover up as needed. 

When choosing a location, it’s a good idea to remember that some areas are more sensitive than others. You should save intricate designs for the most painless parts of the body, such as the outer thighs, forearms, and lower back. Areas such as the ankles, knees, and chest areas are more tender. It’s best to stick to simple designs here, as the tattoo artist can complete them more quickly and with less pain. 

Once you’ve chosen a location, make a note of how much space you have available. You should also consider factors such as bumps and bones that may distort your canvas. If the tattoo is in an area prone to sagging, know that the design may experience distortion over time. 

Make a Rough Sketch

It’s only after you’ve done your research that you should break out the pencil and paper. Once you know the content, the style, and the location of your tattoo, you can begin to sketch out a rough design draft. 

Don’t limit yourself to just one sketch; try out various design ideas to see which ones you like best. You can also make tweaks as needed to whittle your piece down to perfection. Many people go through multiple iterations of the same design before they make a final decision. 

Choose Colors

While many people choose to get tattoos in traditional black ink, color is becoming an increasingly popular part of tattoo culture. The colors you choose will depend on your design, palette preferences, and skin tone.

Remember that while color tattoos make an eye-catching statement, they also require more maintenance than black ink tattoos. The older a color tattoo gets, the more it will fade into your skin. Your tattoo will need a touch up every so often to keep colors looking bright and bold.   

Get Outside Input

Getting input from friends and family can help you to have more confidence in your tattoo design. It can also help you to make improvements you may not have considered otherwise. You should ask those closest to you what they think about your design and its potential placement. While not all feedback will be positive, it’s a good idea to listen to what your friends and family have to say. 

Professionals know how to draw tattoos that will look good off-paper, and so it’s a good idea to ask their opinion on a piece before finalizing the design. Most artists will happily schedule a consultation, often free of charge. They can offer expert design pointers and help you to ensure that your tattoo will look good on your body. 

In Conclusion

If you follow our step-by-step guide, you can draw custom tattoos that are both attractive and meaningful. Let your creative side go wild and design something that you’ll be proud of for a lifetime.

Once you know where you want to place a new tattoo, you can sketch up a colorful design that revolves around your hobbies and passions. With a little bit of input from friends, your family, and your artist, your final design will be a piece that truly encompasses who you are as a person.