Will a Tattoo Artist Copy Somebody Elses Tattoo Design?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on February 01, 2022
    Last Updated: February 1, 2022

Tattoos are now more popular than ever, and the inspiration for a tattoo design can come from just about anywhere. You may have seen a drawing that you like or a piece of art, or there could be a symbol that has a significant meaning to you.

It could also be that you’ve seen a tattoo design that you like and want tattooing on your body. However, this would be copying another tattoo artist’s creation, which you should avoid.

Is it possible for you to enter a tattoo studio and ask a tattoo artist to copy the tattoo design precisely as it was initially drawn? Is this seen as rude, or does it even break copyright law?

Copying is a big issue throughout the tattooing industry, and there are many different attitudes to it. We’ll let you know if a tattoo artist will copy another tattoo or if it needs to be changed. We’ll also let you know how many tattoo artists feel about copying another artist’s design.

Why Would You Want To Copy Another Tattoo?

You may have seen a tattoo design that you like. This design may have been on social media such as Pinterest or Instagram, or it could have been on another person’s body. 

The tattoo design they have is personal to them and their tattoo artist and shouldn’t be copied. You’ll have the tattoo for many years to come, so you need to make sure that it’s personal and unique to you and has a significant meaning.

Will Tattoo Artists Copy Another Tattoo?

The majority of reputable tattoo artists will not copy another tattoo and will be offended if you ask them to. They are artists in their own right and are able to produce stunning designs of their own. 

By copying another tattoo, it’s not only seen as rude, but it could be violating copyright laws. If you take someone else’s work and get paid for it without crediting the original artist, you are breaking the copyright law.

If you see a design that you like or are inspired by, why not take it to your tattoo artist and ask them to create your own unique tattoo design using the image as inspiration. This design won’t offend and won’t break any laws. You’ll also have a stunning unique tattoo of your own to show off.

Design Inspiration or Copying?

People who are looking for a tattoo design are often inspired by other designs that they have seen. Whether it’s a drawing of a tattoo design or a tattoo that they’ve seen on someone’s body, it has inspired them to have the same kind of tattoo.

When you’re inspired by something, the next step would be to use the design to create a piece of art inspired by what you’ve seen but unique to yourself.

Copying another tattoo is a whole different ball game. 

A piece of art such as a painting by a famous artist from history that you like can be reproduced as a tattoo. The artwork is the intellectual property of the artist who would have died many years before, such as Claude Monet, for example. In this instance, a tattoo artist would be generally happy to reproduce this on your body as a permanent tattoo. 

If you see a tattoo design online or on a person’s body and ask your tattoo artist to replicate this exactly as shown, this is copying. This would be violating the copyright laws and could get your tattoo artist and yourself into trouble.

Getting Permission To Copy the Tattoo Design

If you’re using another tattoo design as inspiration for your own, this is not an issue. Suppose you want to copy another tattoo design exactly as it was originally inked on someone else. In that case, there are ways that you can do this and avoid any issues or violations of copyright law.

The first thing you need to do is contact the original artist to ask their permission to use the design or some aspects of the tattoo design. When doing this, you’ll need to make sure that the person you contact is the original creator of the design and not someone who has copied the design. 

If the original tattoo artist refuses to give you permission to use their design, you could ask them to collaborate with you to design something similar that’s unique to you. Collaborating with the original tattoo artist will then provide you with joint ownership of the new design so that you can use it at a later date.

How To Avoid Copying of Tattoo Designs

If you’re a customer going into a tattoo studio with a new design you need to tell your tattoo artist where the design came from. If it’s from another tattoo artist, you must ask their permission before having the tattoo inked onto your skin.

You can now buy tattoo designs online. By doing this you’re not breaking any copyright laws as you have paid money for the design. 

As a tattoo artist, you need to watermark all of your designs as this will prevent them from being copied, especially if you’re posting the images online. This will highlight that the designs are your own designs and are not to be used without your permission. 


You may think it’s ok to see a tattoo design that you like and ask your tattoo artist to copy it for you. However, it’s not quite that simple. 

A tattoo artist will think it’s rude of you to ask them to copy another tattoo as they are a respected artist who creates their own unique designs. By copying another tattoo you could also be violating copyright laws and this could cause an issue for both you and your tattoo artist.

The best way to avoid any issues with copying would be to use the design that you like for inspiration, creating a new and unique design for you.

Related Tattoo Articles