Should You Bring A Drawing To A Tattoo Artist?

Getting a new tattoo is exciting, especially if you are getting a design that has a unique meaning or significance to you. Although there are artists that will create a custom tattoo for you, you may be wondering if you could design your new ink yourself. And the answer is yes! But designing a tattoo is not as simple as it may seem.

You can bring a drawing to a tattoo artist if the design is original and isn’t copied from another artist’s work. Tattoo artists do not always tattoo custom designs. There are things to consider when designing your tattoo, like location, inspiration, and your tattoo artist’s advice, among others.

So, suppose you want to take a custom drawing to your tattoo artist. In that case, our guide will give you a simple rundown about what to expect, how to design your tattoo correctly, and knowing the rules about what is considered an original design.

What Is A Custom Tattoo?

A custom tattoo is a tattoo that has been designed specifically for a client. They can either be designed by your tattoo artist, or you can commission an artist to create a design for you. Of course, you may be more artistically inclined. In that case, you could always ask your tattoo artist to create a tattoo based on your original artwork.

A fully customized tattoo is one that you and your tattoo artist collaborate on. Custom tattoos can be something you describe and give the artist creative control over or something you propose with specified reference photos.

Is It Rude To Bring A Drawing To A Tattoo Artist?

If you want to get some fresh ink and you’re wondering if it’s rude to bring a drawing to your tattoo artist, the answer is slightly more complicated than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ The answer is dependent on a few different factors.

The first factor to consider is whether or not you have designed the drawing yourself. If you have designed a piece of art that you love, your tattoo artist should have no problem tattooing it for you. Your tattoo artist’s willingness to tattoo your design is provided that you haven’t copied another artists’ work and taken credit for it.

If you bring a drawing to your tattoo artist that has been plagiarized from another artwork, your tattoo artist may refuse to tattoo it. And for a good reason.

Not only is copying someone else’s artwork a moral issue, but your artist could also get into some serious hot water by completing a copied tattoo. The potential legal trouble is because the artwork may be copyrighted.

So, suppose you would rather play it safe and ensure that your artist will be willing to tattoo your design. In that case, you should make sure that your drawing is entirely original.

Can You Draw Your Own Tattoo?

As we have mentioned, yes – you can draw your tattoo. As long as the design is original, you shouldn’t run into any problems.

However, it’s important to note that even if you approach your tattoo artist with an original design, they can refuse to tattoo your drawing. Their refusal may be because the picture is too complicated and therefore won’t translate well into a tattoo, or because the artist that you have booked with only tattoos in a specific art style.

If your artist thinks that your drawing may need to be tweaked or undergo a slight redesign before you get inked, you may need to be flexible on your design. If your design incorporates certain linework, colors or is too complicated, you may have to collaborate together with your tattooist to come up with a new plan.

Don’t feel disheartened, though. Your tattoo artist wants to give you the best tattoo they can, so you should trust their expertise and advice. While they may need to make minor changes to your tattoo, it is only because they have a better sense of how the tattoo may turn out or how it will age.

If you think about it, you wouldn’t want your tattoo artist to give you a tattoo that fades or blends into itself in a few years – you’re paying for something that will last.

Designing a tattoo is also a lot more complicated than simply drawing on a piece of paper. There are a few things you will have to keep in mind before you begin to ensure that your tattoo comes out perfectly.

How To Draw Your Own Tattoo

If you want to draw a flawless design that your tattoo artist will only have to rework very little – if at all – we’ve got a few tips that may help.

These tips include thinking about your tattoo’s location, finding inspiration, writing your ideas down, coming up with rough sketches, finalizing your design, finding a tattoo artist, and listening to any advice that they may have regarding your design.

1. Think About Where You Want Your Tattoo

Firstly, you’ll have to think about where you want your tattoo to go. The location of your tattoo will significantly influence the design of your potential tattoo.

Every piece of your body has a different shape, size, and surface area. So, if you were planning on getting a tattoo done on your knee, for example, you’d have to plan your tattoo accordingly. It would require a much different design than getting a larger tattoo done on a bigger, flatter surface like your thigh.

Your design will also be determined by the amount of space a particular part of your body has. You wouldn’t try to get a huge piece tattooed on your finger! The area of your body that you have chosen will undoubtedly have a size limit. If you want a bigger design, some better sites include your arms, legs, and back.

The amount of detail in your tattoo is also something to consider. If you want a tattoo that contains a lot of detail, your tattoo artist will need more space to work with. Delicate linework and smaller, less intricate designs will require much less space.

Lastly, you’ll need to think about whether or not you’re okay with other people seeing your tattoo. If you work in an office that is strictly against showing off your body art, you’ll have to limit your designs to places on your body that are easy to cover up. These areas include your stomach, thighs, upper arms, and back.

2. Look For Inspiration

Now that you have a more solid idea of where your tattoo is going to be placed, you can move on to looking for inspiration. Be careful not to copy someone else’s artwork or tattoos, though! Your inspiration should be just that – a helping tool that will give you an idea of what you want your potential tattoo to look like once it’s done.

There are several places where you can draw inspiration from, including the internet, tattoo magazines, or even drawings of artworks similar to what you have in mind.

A good starting point to finding inspiration is knowing what tattoo style you’d like, what images you would like to incorporate into your tattoo design, and, of course, the location. For example, if you’re looking for a tattoo of a specific flower, you could search for similar tattoos by using keywords such as ‘rose tattoo on calf.’

You should try and be as specific as possible when looking for inspiration so that you get a better idea of how your design would translate onto the part of your body you have chosen.

If you’re not sure what kind of design you’d like, you can always start by browsing through a few tattoos. Look for something that sparks your interest, and think about whether or not you want the design because it’s trendy or because it has a symbolic meaning to you.

Just remember that tattoos are permanent, so just because you like the look of a particular tattoo now doesn’t mean you’re going to like it in ten years! Take your time choosing your design to avoid getting a tattoo you might regret later.

3. Write Your Ideas Down

Before you begin to draw the design for your tattoo, you should write down all of the things you’d like to incorporate into your tattoo. By having a list of what you want, you’ll be able to come up with a creative and unique tattoo when it comes down to it.

If you are still on the fence about what you want, you should spend a little longer on finding tattoo or artwork inspiration that you like. As we’ve mentioned, tattoo planning and design takes some time. So don’t worry about rushing it!

4. Draw Up A Rough Sketch Of Your Tattoo

Once you’re sure your list is comprehensive and covers all of the aspects you’d like incorporated into your tattoo, you can start to sketch out a basic design.

Don’t worry if your sketch isn’t perfect the first time around. You should play around with composition, linework, and detail as much as possible before considering your design complete.

These rough sketches will serve as the first building blocks of your final design. Once you have an illustration, you could even try to replicate it on your desired location with a marker to get a good idea of what it may look like.

You could also scan your sketches into a digital program that will allow you to photoshop your design onto your body. This can be a handy step in seeing how your template works and whether or not you’ll have to change the composition before taking your drawing to your tattoo artist.

5. Pick A Final Design

Once your sketch is precisely how you’d like it, go ahead and create your final drawing. Be sure to make the design as clean as possible – unless you’d like your tattoo artist to touch up your design before you get it tattooed.

If you don’t have a ton of artistic ability, that’s okay! You can approach your artist with a rough sketch of your design, and they can rework the design for you using their expertise and skill.

When you’ve finalized your sketch, try hanging it somewhere where you will see it every day. That way, you can tell whether or not you want to make a lifelong commitment to your design.

6. Find Your Tattoo Artist

Spend some time picking a tattoo artist that is experienced in tattooing an art style that closely fits your design. This can help to make sure that your tattoo is done by someone that has knowledge on how to make your tattoo as good as it can be.

A competent artist may also be able to give you tips on how to best implement your potential tattoo to make it stand out and fit the style of tattoo better.

7. Take Your Tattoo Artist’s Advice

Take your piece to a few different shops and listen to what the artists have to say. They are experts, and they may have some knowledge on how to fix your tattoo that you haven’t considered. They may feel the need to make changes to your design as they see necessary, which you should always accept as long as they are licensed and credible.

They may have advice for modifying the body part or artwork to better fit you. Your tattooist may also be able to make you more comfortable by avoiding placing an intricate tattoo in an area that is more painful than you imagined.

To ensure that the healing process is as swift and painless as possible, you’ll want to follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions.


Before you approach your tattoo artist with your custom design, you should consider following our tips to ensure that your tattoo is exactly what you want. Tattoos are a commitment, so you should spend your time designing your new ink before getting it done. You also don’t need a ton of artistic experience to create a fantastic tattoo!


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