Create Your Own Custom Tattoos Design

As we saw in the article ” History of the tattoo “, since ancient times men and women all over the world love to decorate their bodies with more or less complex and symbolic designs.

In the past, people tattooed themselves mainly for therapeutic purposes ( yes, they thought it cured diseases such as osteoarthritis! ), To instill fear in battle, or for religious reasons.
Over time this magnificent art has developed a lot, both in terms of materials, techniques, and styles.

Not to mention the subjects: while in the past they were limited, today they are practically infinite.

In this article, we will explain the basic method of drawing a tattoo in the simplest way possible.
We will do it by showing you step-by-step how to do it, or at least how we do it!

Obviously, everyone has their own method.
So you may well know another ( or more than one ).

Be that as it may, we hope it will be useful to you in some way and maybe it will help you better understand how to create the perfect design for your next tattoo.

What is tattoo

But first, let’s do a very short preface on what tattooing is.
If you don’t care because you may already know, skip to the next paragraph.

Simply put, tattooing is a human body decoration technique.
It consists in inserting pigment into the skin, more precisely in the dermis, to create more or less complex and colored designs.

The dermis is the intermediate layer of the skin, where the pigment must be deposited so that the tattoo remains unchanged over time.
You can learn more about this by reading our article ” Skin layers “.

You have surely noticed that each tattoo is different from the others.
There is the realistic one that looks like a photo, the colored one with thick outlines, the simple and small one, and so on.

This happens because there are many tattoo styles.
Each of these has particularities and characteristics that make it unique.

Therefore, to draw a tattoo correctly, it is also good to take into account the characteristics of the style we are going to use.

Drawing a tattoo – Better digitally or with pen and paper?

There are many ways to draw a tattoo.
It can be done in the traditional way, that is with paper and pen, or digitally, that is, using computers and tablets.

So let’s see what are the best tools for drawing a tattoo!


Today digital art is very popular. Just take a look on Instagram to understand.

Many tattoo artists prefer to draw digitally rather than traditionally.
Not to mention that this way there is no waste of paper!

The most used tool is certainly the iPad Pro.

Draw an iPad Pro tattoo

The iPad Pro is a tablet with an all-screen design that is very easy to use thanks to even more intuitive gestures.
The colors are realistic and very bright and the functionality is endless.

Using the  Procreate program, with the iPad Pro you can draw, edit and color your tattoos in a simple and professional way.

Test your creativity!

Probably the only downside is the price.
It must be remembered, however, that the quality is paid for and the iPad Pro is an impeccable tool from this point of view.

Graphics tablet

If you have a good computer and prefer to use this tool to create digital tattoos instead, you can choose to use a graphics tablet.

The graphics tablet allows you to draw on the computer like on paper, that is, using a pen.
To make the most of this tool, however, you need to know graphics programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of well-made tutorials on the internet!

Traditional – Pen and paper

True, digital art is gaining ground in the tattoo world.

But let’s not forget that traditional methods still exist!
They are certainly cheaper and within reach.

In fact, not everyone can afford an iPad Pro ( for example we don’t have one! ) Or a powerful computer.
Not to mention that there are many lovers of tradition!

So, let’s check out the best tools for drawing hand tattoos!

Paper, pencil, eraser, and pen

Step-by-step guide on how to draw a tattoo

So let’s move on to the main topic of this article: how to draw a tattoo.

1. Choose the subject

Choose the subject you like best: if it has a particular meaning it will also have an added value.

The first step in designing a tattoo is to choose the subject ( come on! ).

There are those who do it based on the symbolism they have, those who choose a phrase that has an important meaning for themselves, and those who choose to tattoo a subject simply because they like it.

There are no right or wrong reasons!
The tattoo is something personal that must please the wearer.

2. Choose the style

Imagine the tattoo in your mind – what color would you like to do it? In what style?

The second step to creating a perfect tattoo is to choose the style we are going to use.

Again, it all depends on the person who will wear it and their preferences.
To get an idea of ​​what the main styles are, you can take a look at our ” Tattoo Styles ” section.

However, there are limits and rules to be respected.

There are traditional hearts and sailing ships, for example, there are no old-school unicorns.
Same thing for the Japanese: yes to peonies and dragons, no to elephants and guns.

By reading the related articles on our blog you can get a better idea of ​​which subjects can be tattooed in these styles.

Another way to learn more about the subjects in the various tattoo styles is to read the tattoo catalogs.
You can find them in bookstores, at tattoo conventions, or have them delivered directly to your home thanks to Amazon.

We have decided that this design should be tattooed on the left thigh.
So we chose the medium size.

After choosing the design and style, you need to choose the size of the tattoo.

This mainly depends on two factors:

  • the drawing
  • the area where we will go to a tattoo


“Why the drawing? 
The size also depends on the design because the more detailed this is, the smaller the tattoo cannot be.

Small and detailed designs tend to deteriorate over time and become ugly grayish spots. 


Another factor to take into consideration when choosing the right size for a tattoo is the area where we are going to do it.

Normally the tattoo adapts to the area where it is done.
In general, we can say that the larger the area, the bigger the tattoo will be.

For example, if we are going to tattoo an eye on a bicep, we will make it large all over the bicep and not life-size.

Obviously, the final choice depends on who will wear the tattoo, but it is always better to follow these precautions.

4. Adapt the drawing

At this point, we have to adapt the design to the area where we are going to tattoo it.

Tattoos must have a specific orientation.
Let’s say they have to look ahead.

If the subjects are face down ( i.e. they are straight for the wearer ) or towards the back, they are wrong.

Below we leave you some examples to better understand this concept.

The orientation of the tattoo also depends on the area where it will have to be done.

For example, a skull in profile tattooed on the right pectoral will be oriented differently than the same skull on the left pectoral.

5. Decorations

We have chosen cherry blossoms, just to give the tattoo some color.

Most likely you will have chosen the decorations already with the design, but this is not always the case.
Some prefer to add them once they are sure of what the tattoo will look like.

Many choose geometric or floral decorations.
In general, the decorations must be consistent and harmonious with the main subject.

At this point… Green light to the imagination!

Here too there is a but.
The decorations also depend on the style we have chosen, at least in some cases.

For example, in the old-school style, the decorations are practically nonexistent.
In the Japanese one, cherry blossoms and maple leaves are preferred.
In trash polka instead, there will be large black “spots” and writings scattered here and there.

Here are some sites to create a custom tattoo online for free. I have also indicated a service that allows you to write your name in Chinese and embellish it with other designs to create a very original tattoo.

Tattoos can be downloaded and printed. Surely, thanks to this vast collection of ideas, you will be able to decide more easily which drawing or writing to create. Towards the middle of the article, you will find an interesting video where you can discover many areas of the body where you can get a tattoo.

1. Tribalshapes

On Tribalshapes the tattoos are divided into categories. Select the one you prefer and print the tattoo you like. For each category, its meaning is also indicated. You can find many different genres: animals, skulls, flowers, plants, hearts, myth, musicals,s and many others. Once you have chosen the one you prefer, you can easily save it to your PC.

2 . ChineseName

NombreChino instead allows you to write your name in Chinese and create a personalized tattoo. Numerous types of writing are available.

3 . Tatmash

A rich collection of tattoos, on the left side of the site you can find many categories of tattoos. For example, drawings of flowers, skulls, dragons, and animals are available.

4. Tattoo lettering

A famous site for creating tattoos with custom lettering. The final result can be printed or downloaded. Customize text, font, font size, and word color. You can give it a personal touch by changing every single parameter of the writing. If you want to get a lettering tattoo, you will find lots of useful tools to create your perfect design.

5. Inkgenerator

You can create tattoos with writings and you can also place them on the back of a model. This way you can evaluate the position of the drawing and see how it will look on a person’s skin.

6 . Tattoo you

Huge collection of online tattoos to print. There are several categories on the left. Names, dolphins, hearts, signs of the zodiac, and many more.


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