Types of Tattoos: A Comprehensive Guide

por eztat2 supply en June 27, 2024

Your Custom Tattoo Design Guide: Tips, Tricks, and Mistakes to Avoid

Did you know that the practice of tattooing is around 6,000 years old? That’s right! When you’re working with a tattoo artist, you’re participating in an ancient tradition.

Maybe you’ve gotten pre-drawns or flash pieces in the past, but now it’s time to get a custom tattoo design of your very own. How do you even start the process?

We’re here to help. Read on to learn all about designing a tattoo with your tattoo artist.

First: Pick Your Style

If you’re new to getting custom tattoos, you might not be familiar with the various styles of tattooing. When you’re having a custom design created for you, knowing the type of tattoo you want will help you narrow down an artist and explain your desires more clearly.

There are countless styles of tattoo art to choose from. If you browse online, you’ll see a near-endless array of options. Some styles are more popular than others, though.

Here are a few of the most common styles of tattoos and what makes them unique:

1. Black and Grey Tattoos

Let’s start with the basics; black and grey tattoos. These are the starting points for many people who decide to get a tattoo. Black and grey tattoos are great because they fit every single tattoo style. The designs can appear realistic thanks to proper shading of the grey or by watering down the black. Some tattoo artists even use negative space to emphasize a particular design or to give depth to the tattoo.

2.  American Traditional

Americana tattoos are believed to originate from the 18th century when they were worn by soldiers who traveled and fought overseas. 

The Americana tattoos are known for their sleek, simple but clean design, where the colors are saturated and the designs feature roses, animals head, pin-up symbolism, and military-related signs.

3.  Realistic Tattoos

Realistic tattoos can comprise various designs; they are not limited to only one set of illustrations and images tattooists usually do. However, realistic tattoos have a unique and characteristic visual appeal. They make every design appear real, regardless of whether they portray a pet, a human, a flower, or even a fictional character. Whatever they depict, the design will appear alive. Such tattoos require a highly skilled tattooist and belong to the pricier, high-end tattoos.

4.  Abstract Tattoos

Abstract tattoos are based on abstract art, or rather the presentation of abstract concepts through art. These tattoos can be pretty random and at first unplanned and illogical. However, the point of abstract tattoos is to look unique and random, without much thought or meaning to it. Abstract tattoos are extremely versatile and can fit any type of aesthetic or personal preference.

5.   Geometric Tattoos

Inspired by a variety of shapes and designs, geometric tattoos can be anything from simple to intricate. These tattoos often suit everyone, but the design needs to be in line with the placement of the tattoo. A geometric tattoo can be inspired by some tribal tattoos or tribal symbols as well. The modern aesthetic of geometric tattoos, however, features a more mechanical, sharp, and bold but subtle appearance, which requires a skilled tattooist for proper execution.

6.   Japanese Tattoos

Japanese tattoos are probably the most famous type of tattoos. They’ve maintained their popularity over hundreds of years in the East, and for decades in the West. Their traditional appearance, as well as execution, makes each Japanese-style tattoo a true masterpiece. Once associated with the mafia, samurai, and the Japanese underground, they are nowadays a staple in the global tattoo community. Japanese tattoos often feature traditional Japanese symbolism as well as bright, bold, and highly intricate designs.

7.  Words and Phrases Tattoos

The majority of tattoos feature some kind of imagery or illustration. However, word and phrase tattoos only feature, well, words and phrases. They only contain letters, and sometimes numbers (in the case of a date, for example). These tattoos are often simple, subtle, and small. However, even though they may seem simple to execute, they still require a highly skilled tattoo artist experienced in writing with a tattoo pen. Otherwise, a word or a phrase may appear inaccurate and off.

Pick Your Color Scheme

Speaking of blackwork and black tattoos, have you thought about your color scheme yet?

First, decide whether or not you’re going to want color in your tattoo at all. It’s common for people to stick to black tattoos once they have their first one to make their art all cohesive regardless of the styles that they choose.

There’s nothing wrong with color tattoos, however.

Most tattoo artists will recommend bold colors rather than washed-out watercolor tones, though you can do either. Soft pastel colors are less likely to hold long-term. That said, it’s your body and your art, so do what feels right for you.

The style of tattoo will help dictate your color choice, but it doesn’t have to. Tattoo artists tend to be flexible and they often love a challenge, so don’t be afraid to ask about unique colors and color combinations.

Have a General Idea in Mind

When you’re getting custom tattoo art done, you want to start with at least a vague idea. Tattoo artists are artists, so they can work with something loose, but if you don’t give them anything to go off of, they won’t know what you want.

Do you already have other tattoos that you’re trying to match? That might be enough to get your artist started.

Does your artist have other pieces that somewhat resemble what you’re looking for? That’s also a good enough place to start.

Sometimes it’s as simple as having a “theme” and a few images in mind that your artist can work with. For example, you could say that you want a blackwork tattoo with a knife and a flower.

You’re giving your artist the freedom to choose the type of knife and flower, but you’ve given them a base idea to work from.

If you have a specific image in your mind, you’re going to have to provide specific images and instructions. We’ll talk about how you can do that later on.

Consider Making an Inspiration Board

So you know that you want a custom tattoo, but you’re not sure what you want. You don’t want to get a pre-drawn design, but you’re overwhelmed with options. You don’t even know where to get the tattoo!

It might be time to browse the web and create some kind of inspiration board. You can do this easily on sites like Pinterest and Tumblr.

Look for tattoos that fit a style that you’re looking for and start collecting them. You can also look for photos and drawings of a few themes or subjects that appeal to you, even if you haven’t yet narrowed down a final idea.

Seeing all of these images in one place might help you decide which elements of each image you like.


Sketching a Design: Yes or No?

This is a tricky issue. Should you sketch your own design or have another artist sketch it before you go to the tattoo artist?

If you want something hyper-specific, it’s okay to sketch it out ahead of time. If you’re paying another non-tattoo artist for their work to get it put onto your body (make sure that you have explicit permission to do this and that you’ve paid them for their time), then a sketch is also appropriate.

You can always provide a loose sketch for your artist that just shows placement and a general idea, even if you’re not a good artist yourself.

With this in mind, remember that your tattoo artist is a genuine artist. You don’t need to provide them with a sketch as long as you’re able to convey your thoughts about what you want.

Pick the Right Artist

Speaking of your artist, make sure that you take your time when you’re making your decision! Tattoo artists aren’t a monolith, and different artists have different styles and subject preferences. While they’re versatile, it’s a good idea to pick an artist who has plenty of experience with the style that you’re looking for.

Check shop and artist portfolios online. Many artists (most, even) have Instagram accounts where you can see up-to-date portfolios with all of their current work.

Many of these profiles will also include booking information so you can get in touch with your artist as soon as they’re ready to take on new clients.


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