Tattoos are a fun and unique way to express yourself and your individuality. Many times, a tattoo is a one-of-a-kind and while it may be similar to another, you’re the only person with that particular design. However, coming up with these designs isn’t always the easiest thing to do. If you want a tattoo, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities.
You may be asking yourself, where can I find tattoo designs? The best place to find them is either at your chosen tattoo shop or on the internet. The artists at a shop can help you come up with something, or you can take inspiration from what you find on the web.
While the internet is useful, it can sometimes seem like an endless void. There are plenty of places to go for ideas, but it can be hard to find the best ones. The artists at a tattoo shop will do what they can to help you, but even their imaginations are limited without some base ideas. Read on to learn some of the best places to find tattoo designs.
How to Find The Best Tattoo Designs
There are a few different ways you can go about finding the design for your new tattoo. If you have no idea at all what you want, a good place to start is the shop.
Most tattoo shops will have what they call “flash” designs. These are pre-drawn tattoo designs that are available for anyone. They are usually small and are cheaper than a custom design because they are already drawn. They are not usually very complicated or detailed but are easy to apply.
Flash designs have many benefits. They are quick, can almost always be done as a walk-in, and will generally cost less than $100.
Tattoo shops might have some general flash that all artists will do, and some artists might have their own individual selection of flash designs. Either way, the designs will be ready for you to choose from. Many shops or artists will also break them down into themes or categories.
This can be anything from horror, comedy, movies, music, logos, animals, occult, or tribal. With flash designs, you do need to keep in mind that they are not one-of-a-kind. This means that even once you get the tattoo, the design will stay available. There could be hundreds of other people walking around with the same tattoo.
That doesn’t mean a flash tattoo is a bad idea, it just means it won’t be original. For some, this matters while others don’t care as long as they like it.
If you do want a more individualized tattoo and/or your shop doesn’t have any flash that appeals to you, you can try hitting the internet for some more ideas.
If you’re turning to the internet for inspiration, a good place to start is social media. Artists and clients alike post their favorite designs and artwork on their personal pages. Finding a style that you like and browsing what’s already out there is a great way to get inspired.
If you have an idea of what you want, start looking for tattoos that include your desired elements and style. Find a few you like and send them to your artist as a baseline reference.
Start with a few that you like, and tell them what you like about it. It’s also a good idea to find some things you don’t like. Send some of those pictures, and tell them specifically what you don’t like about them.
This helps your artist design a tattoo that is perfect for you. If they don’t know that you don’t like a certain thing, they might include it if they think it looks good. They will, of course, take it out upon your request. But, if they already know you don’t like it before starting, it saves everyone time and effort.
There are also countless Instagram and Facebook pages that are dedicated to sharing beautiful artwork and designs. They aren’t affiliated with a certain artist or client, they just share great tattoos. These are good places to go for more general inspiration.
If you don’t have any idea what you want at all, browsing multiple styles should be your starting point.
Much like social media pages that dedicate themselves to sharing beautiful artwork from all over, there are websites that do this as well.
A quick Google search will bring you to many tattoo websites dedicated to helping you find your new favorite design or style. They will break their designs down into categories. These can include several things:
- Broken down by style – new school, black and grey, traditional, etc.
- Tattoos for women.
- Tattoos for men.
- Broken down by placement – shoulder, back, chest, thigh, etc.
You can browse through these categories and see hundreds of designs to inspire you.
Commission an Artist
Another option is to commission an artist to design something for you. Of course, you can always have your tattoo artist draw something for you. This is what most people do.
But sometimes, you might find a different kind of artist whose work you just love. Maybe it’s a watercolor artist who draws beautiful animals. Perhaps it’s a digital artist who creates mystical, unique new creatures.
Whatever it may be, you might want to have their art tattooed on you. Most of these artists will be more than happy to draw something specific for you. It is unlikely they will do this for free, though. You will have to pay their regular commission rates, which is only fair considering they’ll put as much time into it as any other piece.
If you don’t want to pay for an original but still love their style, they may be willing to give you permission to use one of their existing pieces as your tattoo. This will usually come with a much smaller fee if any at all – it will depend on the artist.
Can You Use Someone Else’s Tattoo?
It happens all the time. You’re browsing the internet, and you see the perfect design. It’s the exact style you’re looking for and it includes every element you want. It’s a perfect size and it fits the body so beautifully, you just have to have it.
But, it’s already on someone else’s body. Someone already has the exact tattoo you want. Unfortunately, if you bring this picture into a tattoo shop and ask for it exactly, you will likely get turned down.
The same can’t be said for all artists, but most will not replicate a custom design that was done specifically for someone else. They are usually happy to use it as a reference or inspiration for your design, but they won’t fully copy it.
This may seem annoying, especially if you’ve found something wonderful and perfect for you. But, try to see it from the other perspective. Imagine you worked hard to come up with something for yourself. You spent hours going back and forth with your artist and paid them or someone else good money to create the design for you.
How would you feel if you happened to find out that some random person from the internet copied you and got your special design tattooed on them too? Chances are, it’s not something you’d appreciate.
So, most of the time, the answer is no, you cannot copy someone else’s tattoo. There are very few situations where they might make an exception:
- If the design is from a movie, TV show, or other recognized piece of pop culture.
- If the design is a recognized logo
- If the tattoo is a classic design or piece of flash that has been getting tattooed for years already (think sacred heart or snake and dagger).
Can You Draw Your Own Tattoo?
If you’re an artist yourself and can create your own art, drawing your own tattoo is a fantastic idea! This will ensure two things: One, that you’re getting exactly what you want, and two – it will be completely and utterly unique to you.
Plenty of people have taken it upon themselves to draw their own tattoo for these reasons, and it’s worked out great. The tattoo artist loves when this happens too because it saves them time and effort.
If you come in with a completed design that’s ready to go, it can be a similar process to a flash design, depending on the size. Chances are, there will be someone available to do it. They will also love it for the uniqueness of the experience.
Any good tattoo artist will love their job, but it can get a little tedious at times, doing the same flash or the same styles over and over again. If you bring them something different and personalized like this, it’ll be a nice breath of fresh air.
If you’re not an artist but have an idea in your head that you just can’t seem to find already on paper, you can still do your best to sketch it out. It may be a terrible sketch, but it will help your artist at least get an idea of what you’re looking for and allow them to turn it into something beautiful and unique.