4 Different Ways to Create Your Own Tattoo Design (Even if You Lack Design Skills)

Lucas Lenzi ZeT I6av9rU Unsplash

Tattoos are a deeply personal art form that allows you to express yourself in unique ways. While a talented tattoo artist can conceptualize and render an original design for you, creating your own sketch is a different experience entirely. But, what if you aren’t a designer or really artsy?

How to Create Your Own Tattoo Design Regardless of Skill

The process of designing your own tattoo is similar to any other design process with one major exception: tattoo pigments react and look differently on different skin tones and skin types.

1. Examine a Tattoo Database and Preview the Design on Yourself

If you have a design in mind but you don’t want to use it as a blueprint to create something unique, take a free-to-use tattoo design from a database. Apps like Tattoo Designs and Tattoodo have thousands of designs anyone can use or show to their tattoo artist for inspiration.

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While these apps are helpful, they won’t give you an idea of what each design looks like on your body. InkHunter lets you play with placement and size, so you’re sure to get the tattoo you want. Plus, you can upload your own designs or try out pre-made art from the app gallery.

2. Use a Photo as the Basis for Your Design, Then Apply a Pop Art Effect

Maybe you don’t want to create a tattoo based on someone’s picture, or maybe you just want to use a picture for a tattoo. While these are great ideas, you need to find a great artist to bring a realistic image to life. Once you find them, you’ll probably have to wait months to see them.

If your heart is set on using a picture, consider applying a filter to it to create pop art. Pop art filters still retain the images’ details while removing shadows and multiple colors. Not only does this give your image a comic book-like effect, but it also makes it easier for an artist to draw.

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3. Consider Splicing or Editing Someone Else Artwork for One Image

In the process of looking for inspiration, you likely found a few tattoos or images you wouldn’t mind using. While there’s nothing wrong with using these images as a reference, copyright law states that you can’t put another artist’s artwork on your body unless you edit or transform it.

You can edit a design without complicated editing software by cutting and pasting images together, either on the computer or on paper. Feel free to change the colors in your design or add/subtract elements from the final product. Once done, print on high-quality printer paper.

4. Draw a Really Rough Sketch and Ask Your Tattoo Artist to Fix It

Tattoo artists are excellent illustrators, and they won’t mind creating a new drawing for you if you ask. It’s rare that tattoo artists will charge extra for this service, so long as you give them enough time to draft something. You can get in on the design process by handing over a rough sketch.

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When we say rough sketch, we mean rough. Stick figures and a rough outline are good enough if you provide some direction and you’re open to criticism. While this does mean your tattoo artist is doing most of the work, you still have to create something that’s unique and special.

In Conclusion…

Creating your own tattoo design is a fun experience, but it comes with a few challenges if you aren’t an illustrator or experienced editor. Fortunately, you can use apps, software, tools, and your limited art skills to make something that you’d be proud to tattoo on your body.