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April 01, 2020 4 min read

How to Design a Tattoo: A Guide to Inking Your Unique Designs

A tattoo is a permanent, wearable piece of art that makes a bold statement. For a lot of people, tattoos hold personal meaning or represent something they’re passionate about. In many instances, the significance of the design can make getting inked more rewarding — both immediately and for years to come. 

If you’re getting your first tattoo (or second or third) and want to maintain creative control, you might be wondering how to design a tattoo. Believe it or not, designing a tattoo is easier than you may think, and you don’t have to be an artist. Also, when you conceptualize the imagery yourself, there’s a good chance you’ll be more satisfied with the experience than walking into a parlor and selecting from a bunch of pre-drawn tattoos. A custom tattoo design is best when the tattoo artist is presented with design ideas. 

At Affliction, we thrive on individuality and setting ourselves apart from the pack. That’s why we believe in emblem ink and having a unique tattoo. Consider this your guide to designing a tattoo.

How to Design Your Own Tattoo

The process of devising a tattoo design is relatively simple. Aside from coming up with the imagery, you’ll need to decide where the tattoo will go, as well as what size and color you want. Then you’ll have to find a way to put your ideas to paper, which you’ll eventually present to a tattoo artist. With your tattoo design ideas, you want to offer a few different tattoo art options. You can design your tattoo yourself through hand drawing or computer drawing, or you can find a few images that you like online. Bringing these images to your professional tattoo artist helps the artist create a custom ink design.

Coming Up with a Design

To design your own unique tattoo, the first step is to come up with the imagery. This could be a symbol, lettering, a realistic picture, abstract art, or a pattern. The design you land on might represent a pivotal moment of your life or a person who inspires you. It could also symbolize a hobby, where you’re from, or a personal belief. Aside from images, tattoos can be a single word, a phrase, or a quote.

Take some time to think about what matters to you most in life. What are your goals? What are your greatest accomplishments? What drives you? What’s the most influential thing that’s ever happened to you? What words do you live by? Asking yourself these questions and thinking critically about the answers will help you not only design your own tattoo, but also come up with an image you’ll be happy with forever. 

Deciding Where to Get a Tattoo

The next step in designing a tattoo is deciding where it will go on your body. Do you have a discreet tattoo in mind that will be covered with clothes, or do you want people to be able to see it? Is the ability to look directly at your ink important to you, or are you OK with getting something on your back?

With many parts of the body, tattoos aren’t entirely private and also not totally visible — at least not every day. For example, if you get a tattoo on your shoulder, back, stomach, ankle, foot, or thigh, people will only see it when you wear a bathing suit or warm-weather clothes. On the other hand, if you get inked on your hands, forearms, face, or neck, you’ll be showing off the design almost every day.

Size and Color

Once you know what image or words you want and lock down the location on your body, you’ll need to decide on the size and color (or colors). The location will often dictate the size of a tattoo, at least partially. Small designs can go virtually anywhere on your body. However, if you want a medium or large tattoo, it’ll probably have to go on your arm, shoulder, thigh, leg, back, or torso.

When you picture the tattoo on your body, what color do you imagine? Black ink is a classic choice, and it’s arguably the most versatile color. That being said, vibrant colors can be striking, and they make a bold statement. Just keep in mind that colors often need to be retouched down the line, so it’s a more high-maintenance option than black.  Your tattoo artist can teach you more about the art of tattooing and help you choose the best colors for your design. 

Put Your Ideas to Paper (or Screen)

Now that you know what image you want and where you want it, it’s time to create the actual design. If you’re not artistically inclined, you can either get an artist to sketch your idea or make your own tattoo designs with an online tattoo designer. There are tons of computer programs and tattoo design apps that are easy to use, even if you’re not familiar with graphic design.

Tattoo-Inspired Threads from Affliction

When you browse the edgy collections from Affliction, you’ll find tattoo long-sleeve shirts and other bold designs that speak to your persona. Like permanent ink, our tattoo-inspired clothing is wearable art. Our tattoo long sleeve shirts will give you that tatted look. Whether you’re not quite ready to get a tat but still appreciate the daring look or are already inked and want your threads to represent the same vibe, Affliction has something for you. Our sleeves can act as a temporary tattoo for you or simply match your existing tattoo art. In addition to men’s and women’s clothing, we carry canvases with skull and tattoo artwork.

Shop the tattooed look today. Then, head over to the tattoo shop to get your own custom tattoo.

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