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 talk about it. Read on to learn all about designing a tattoo with your tattoo artist.
First: Pick Your Style
People who are new to getting custom tattoos may not be “in the know” about various styles of tattooing. When you’re trying to have a custom design created for you, it’s a good idea to know the type of tattoo that you’re going for. This will help you narrow down and artist and explain your desires more clearly.
There are so many styles of tattoo art to choose from. If you browse the web, you’ll see near endless options. Some of them are more popular than others, however.
Here are a few of the most common styles of tattoos and what makes them unique.
When you think of tattoos, American traditional tattoos likely come to mind first. These tattoos operate under the principle that “bold will hold.” They have dark and bold lines and (usually) bright colors that will stand the test of time.
If you think of old-school tattoos that sailors would get, you’re thinking of American traditional tattoos.
You can get anything in the American traditional style, but there are a few common tattoo subjects that you can find on any flash sheet (and they’re things that any American traditional tattoo artist should be able to do.
Lady heads, tigers, anchors, roses, snakes, and other common tattoo motifs are all readily available when you choose an American traditional tattoo artist. Some artists prefer to stick with those traditional motifs, but many welcome new and unique ideas, even if they don’t have examples on display in their portfolios.
Fine line tattoos have boomed in popularity over the past decade. They’re popular among celebrities, influencers, and “average people” alike. They’re dainty, elegant, and easy to hide.
For fine line tattoos, you want to find a great artist. Even when done correctly, it’s possible for these tattoos to fade over time. You want to give yourself the best possible chance of a long-term tattoo.
Common fine line tattoos include script, small symbols, and flowers, but people have done fine line tattoos of everything.
New school tattoos are bright, bold, and cartoonish. Try to imagine a combination between cartoonish digital artwork and classic tattoos and you’ll get New School.
This tattoo style was popular in the early 2000s and it’s since faded into the background, but that doesn’t make it less valuable. These tattoos are bright, bold, and long-lasting as long as you pick a great artist.
Common new school tattoo subjects are cartoon characters, “embroidery tattoos,” flowers, and lady’s heads, but again, you have countless options if you pick a great artist.
Neotraditional tattoos are similar to American traditional tattoos, but with a bit of extra “flair.” Often, artists will start off with traditional tattoos, but then add their own special touch.
Neotraditional tattoos have the same general motifs as traditional tattoos, but modernized. Lady heads may look more like art nouveau portraits, for example.
These tattoos are stylized and detailed, but not hyperrealistic. They’re genuine art pieces. They tend to resemble oil paint or digital art, but without the shine and bold colors of new school tattoos.
Japanese traditional tattoos are also similar to American traditional tattoos, but with Japanese motifs and subjects. The styles are both bold and strong, but Japanese traditional tattoos resemble old woodblock prints.
There are still lady heads, but they often resemble Geishas. Snakes, dragons, frogs, and tigers are all common in Japanese traditional tattoos, but again, you can have anything tattooed in this style.
Many Japanese traditional artists like to do large-scale tattoos that are characterized by dark backgrounds and bold and colorful foregrounds.
For anyone who wants a true portrait, realism tattoos are the way to go. These tattoo artists tend to meticulously trace or replicate photos to make sure that their clients get exactly what they’re looking for, and then use their own expert shading techniques to bring the images to life on skin.
This is a difficult tattoo style that will require a lot of time in the tattoo chair. In other words, this style of tattoo is a commitment (moreso than many other types of tattoos).
Blackwork often just refers to any tattoos that are black, but there are a few things that set apart “blackwork” as a style rather than just a color scheme.
Blackworkers often use unique shading styles that resemble pen and ink shading. Stippling, line shading, and cross-hatching are common for blackworkers.
These tattoos can be bold or dainty. It’s common to do “sacred geometry” tattoos in this style, but other common blackwork subjects include flowers, snakes, architectural drawings, and so much more.
Many blackworkers started with another style and then modified it for blackwork, so you’ll see hints of American traditional, neotraditional, and more.
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 private 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.
Where Is Your Tattoo Going?
Remember that you will be (slightly) limited by the location of your tattoo. You won’t be able to get an intricate piece on a small area, like a foot or wrist. Artists aren’t magicians.
You can ask your artist to switch tattoo locations before they start tattooing you, but remember that the locations should be comparable in size. For example, you can’t move a large back piece onto your calf (or vice-versa).
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.
Be as Clear as Possible About Your Wants
Once you’ve chosen your ideal artist, gather all of your inspiration images and ideas and bring them to the (metaphorical) table. You want to give your artist as much information as possible so that they can make your ideal art piece.
But what can you include?
You can include images of their other tattoos if you like a specific style that they’ve done in the past. You can also include other tattoos, but note that a good tattoo artist will not copy someone else’s work. They can use it as inspiration.
If you have other tattoos, especially if they’re near the location of your new custom tattoo, it’s a good idea to show those to your artist as well. This will give them an idea of how they can arrange their design so it complements the rest of your art.
Photos and other images are also great for letting your artist know what you want, even if they’re more or less symbolic.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Changes
Many tattoo artists won’t show you the finished design until the day of your appointment. While this may be stressful for you, know that you are able to request changes. This is going on your body forever, and your artist will understand.
Minor changes can often be made on the same day, but if you need a significant change, your artist may request that you make a new appointment so they have enough time to bring your ideas to life.
What Will Your Custom Tattoo Design Look Like?
Are you ready to have a tattoo artist come up with a custom tattoo design for you? A good tattoo design is a collaboration between you and your tattoo artist. Gather your ideas and make a consultation appointment (or do an email consultation) as soon as possible!
At Skin Factory, our artists are ready to bring your ideas to life. Find our artists on social media or fill out our contact form to start the tattoo process.
What Is a White Tattoo, and Should I Get One?
After a lifetime of consideration, today is the day that you’re finally making a tattoo appointment at Skin Factory Tatoo! You’ve got a massive design in mind, and you know exactly where you want it – somewhere everyone will be able to see it. You are ready for a lifetime of bold self-expression featuring the most incredible artwork!
But wait. Before you commit to a whole lifetime, have you considered a white tattoo?
After all, what about the dress code at work? What about that period drama you were planning to audition for at the community theatre? And, now that you think about it, that full-color back piece you’ve been dreaming about seems like it might take a really long time.
White ink tattoos are the compromise between going big and going home. They allow you to cover your skin with large, intricate, ultraviolet reactive artwork that still allows room for delicate subtlety.
If you’re curious about whether a white ink tattoo might be right for you, keep reading to learn how to make a striking but subtle statement by trying this unique body art trend!
What Are White Ink Tattoos?
If you have investigated more traditional tattoos, you’ve probably come across a few options. These will range from full-color pieces to black and white pieces to simple black contour art. While white ink can incorporated into any of these traditional styles, a white tattoo is something unique.
White tattoos aren’t simply what’s left behind when you outline negative space. Your artist might create the outline of your tattoo using white pigment, which will leave behind a subtle, dimensional image. Designs can range from the most understated contour designs to filled-in icons.
On darker skin, white ink creates a striking visual contrast that will draw the eye. On lighter skin, your design might “camouflage,” creating a piece of personal art that’s easy to hide in plain sight. In both cases, the piece will be closer to “neutral” than other options and is unlikely to clash with clothing or other tattoos.
Your tattoo artist can use white ink in other ways, too. For example, you might choose art with a simple black contour and choose to fill it in with white.
A white halo around a traditional tattoo adds an additional visual and tactile dimension that can help it “pop.” White accents on a full-color tattoo can add stunning detail to a more complex piece.
The Benefits of White Ink Tattoos
If you’re interested in getting a white tattoo because you think they look cool, that’s reason enough! If you still need convincing, however, there are a few specific reasons why white tattoos might be the right choice for your next piece of body art.
They Are Ultraviolet Reactive
Think about what happens when you’re wearing a non-descript white t-shirt and you accidentally walk into a room that’s flooded with ultraviolet light. Suddenly, you’re glowing like a god, and everyone’s eye is immediately drawn to you!
The same thing happens to white ink tattoos. While some of these tattoos will be nearly invisible from a distance, they are all UV reactive. Under ultraviolet light, they glow faintly neon and come to life!
This is a great way for those with a rich nightlife to transition from day to night! You’ll be able to wear your tattoos proudly in a professional environment without attracting any negative attention. As soon as you’re under club lights, you’ll become a walking, glowing work of eye-catching art!
Until someone manages to invent a long-lasting glow-in-the-dark body pigment, white ink is the next best thing.
They Are Subtle
Even if you’ve always wanted a tattoo, you might not want to show it off to the entire world. Often, clients use tattoos for memorial purposes. Some pieces have special, secret meanings.
If you want a permanent piece of art but still want to keep it to yourself, white ink means you don’t need to hide it away.
On lighter skin, white ink might only be visible in certain light. Even if you have a large piece, they tend to blend in with your flesh tone. They look more like a shimmer on the surface of the skin and don’t attract visual attention in the same way as traditional tattoos.
Think about looking at a photograph with a camouflaging animal in it. At first, you might not even realize there’s an animal in the picture. Once it’s pointed out to you, however, your eye will go straight to the animal every time.
That’s the experience that many individuals with white ink tattoos have. They manage to hide their body art in plain sight, but let those they love in on their “secret.”
Normally, those looking to “hide” a tattoo might have it done in a spot that’s hidden under clothing or hard to see without a mirror. White ink opens up the option to have tattoos in more accessible locations.
If you want to honor someone you’ve lost, carry your childrens’ names with you, or etch a meaningful affirmation into your skin, consider white ink. A small, white ink tattoo on the wrist or finger makes for a gorgeous permanent reminder just for you.
They Are Unique
Some people get white ink tattoos for the subtlety – others like them because they’re looking for a way to stand out! If you’re already a body art fan with traditional tattoos, a white ink piece can add some interesting stylistic contrast to your extant collection.
White ink tattoos can be just as intricate as traditional tattoos and have a sense of lightness and airiness that more substantial tattoos lack. They also tend to have more tactile dimension than black ink tattoos, which is a great way to add some texture to your body art.
Some body art aficionados like using white ink in the negative space between their other pieces. They allow you to have one set of tattoos during the day, and a second set under blacklight.
Other Things to Consider
White tattoos are an excellent compromise for someone who is reticent about showing off body art, or who might be more interested in a subtle tribute. A white ink tattoo is still a commitment, however. There are some special considerations when it comes to the care and maintenance of these pieces that you should keep in mind before you commit.
They Tend to Fade
White ink was not initially created to be a stand-alone pigment. Tattoo artists use white to change the tone of their other pigments to allow for shading and variation in color.
As a result, white ink tattoos tend to fade faster than traditional tattoos. You may experience a transition period during which the white tones look somewhat uneven. Most tattoos end up settling into a light, subtle scar-like appearance, which many people love.
You can care for your white ink tattoo by avoiding direct sun exposure and wearing sunscreen daily. Even so, your tattoo probably won’t have the same level of brightness and contrast after a few months or years. It will always be there, but you might have to look harder to find it.
This is a feature for many people, who may not want to commit to a piece for their entire life. Knowing that their white ink tattoo will fade over time means they don’t have to worry about the effects of aging on the art. The tattoo will age along with them in a pleasant and unobtrusive way.
They Require More Healing Time
White ink is unique and requires special expertise to apply correctly. The ink itself is thicker than black or colored pigment, but it’s less pigmented than other inks overall. It’s supposed to be somewhat transparent by design.
The light color means your artist will have to apply the ink more aggressively than other inks to make sure that it takes. As a result, white tattoos may require more healing time than traditional tattoos. You may experience more pain and swelling with a white ink tattoo than you would with a more traditional tattoo, even if the piece is small.
After you receive your white tattoo, you’ll want to carefully heed the aftercare instructions given to you by your tattoo artist. As with all tattoos, there will be some scabbing and flaking. Great aftercare is key to keeping your white ink tattoos looking crisp and clean.
They Can Distort
The thickness of the white ink means that it takes a very talented tattoo artist to create thin, delicate designs. If you’re looking to get a tiny piece, or you want something specific like a mandala, white ink can be tricky. As these pieces heal, they occasionally distort as they settle into your skin.
A white ink tattoo will never look as crisp and clean as it does on the first day. They look different on different skin types, and it’s hard to predict how well they’ll take to your skin. For that reason, most artists suggest that you don’t get a white ink piece as a first tattoo.
White Tattoo Ideas
If you are willing to take a risk on a truly unique tattoo, a white ink piece is a great place to start. All you need is the perfect design to get you started!
Consider the special qualities of white ink when choosing a design. What would look incredible glowing under black light? What design would still look great once it has faded enough to become part of the fabric of your skin?
Many creative clients have already taken these things into consideration. Here are a few popular options that might inspire your meaningful white ink tattoo.
Look to the Stars
With their incredible blacklight glow, it’s no wonder that so many clients have used white ink to depict images from astronomy. One of the most popular images is constellations, with their clean lines and specificity.
Solid astronomical icons also make great white ink tattoos. They’re perfect for tiny half-moons, brilliant stars, or even little planet designs. These saturated images glow brighter under blacklight when compared to thinner contour designs.
Grow and Glow
Fans of the white ink tattoo are also overwhelmingly fans of floral designs. One of the most popular white ink images is a white daisy. Whether you choose a subtle daisy silhouette or choose to fill in the petals, these look gorgeous and maintain their integrity as they fade.
Those who are fond of the delicate nature of white ink tend to go for art featuring greenery. Botanical plants are a popular subject. A fern, palm leaf, or other tropical design can add a secret hint of summertime all year long.
Keep It Light
As discussed, white ink is a popular option for memorial tattoos. It allows you to permanently wear a reminder on your skin without broadcasting it to the world. Many of our white ink tattoos feature personal images with special meaning to the client.
Some of our most striking white tattoos have been images of feathers, ghostly animal silhouettes, and snowflakes. A light image deserves gentle treatment. White ink is a great medium for these airy subjects.
Schedule a Consult at Skin Factory Tattoo
If you’re looking for a more understated piece of body art that will never clash or go out of style, a white tattoo might be your perfect match. You’ll love the near camouflage effect of having artwork big or small hiding right in plain sight! Under ultraviolet light, your tattoo’s iridescent glow will elevate your self-expression to the next level.
Ready to glow for it? Skilled artists at Skin Factory Tattoo’s Maui and Vegas locations are ready to consult with you about their next great masterpiece. Reach out today to get the process started!
The Strategy of How to Time and Plan a Tattoo Sleeve
From the design, budget, and number of sessions it will take, you need to first strategize how to plan a tattoo sleeve before embarking on this design journey.
Are you planning your next big tattoo project? Getting a sleeve is no joke and it’s a big commitment. It requires a lot of planning, money, and time. Do you know how to plan a tattoo sleeve?
Planning a big tattoo takes some forethought. It’s not like grabbing a quick flash piece on Friday the 13th or adding a new piece to your thigh. It’s an entire project and you need to decide how you want it to look. You only have so much space.
Does this sound overwhelming to you? We get it. We’re here to offer some advice so you can get your new sleeve started. Keep reading to learn all about strategizing and planning a tattoo sleeve that you’re going to be proud to show off.
Decide: Full Sleeve or Half Sleeve?
The first step for planning your tattoo sleeve is figuring out whether you want a full sleeve (one that runs all the way from your wrist to your shoulder) or a half sleeve (which runs from either your wrist to your elbow or your elbow to your shoulder.
Planning a half sleeve tattoo is often more complicated than the full sleeve because you only have so much room and it tends to be more important that everything looks cohesive. We’ll talk about cohesion later on.
Half sleeves will be more affordable and they’ll take less time than full sleeves. Full sleeves have a more jarring visual effect (which some people want). Artists will be happy to work with you when you’re trying to decide and they can make suggestions based on your preexisting tattoos and on what will work best with your body.
Eclectic, Cohesive, or a Mix? You Choose
Sleeves come in two primary varieties: eclectic and cohesive.
Eclectic sleeves tend to have a basic idea in mind and they’re patchworked together over time. These sleeves require less planning but just as much attention to detail as their cohesive counterparts.
Eclective sleeves can still have cohesion. You might work with one artist throughout the process, or choose one color, style, or theme as a throughline. For example, many people have sleeves full of American traditional tattoos that don’t “go together” per se, but they still look like they were done with intention because they match.
Other people choose blackwork for their sleeves, or an arm full of florals. While these things aren’t all part of one piece in a traditional way, they still make up a whole.
Cohesive sleeves are based on one project. You come in with something in mind and the tattoo artist will come up with a single piece that covers your entire (or half) arm. While this takes more planning in the design stages, you don’t have the task of filling in all kinds of small leftover spaces from an eclectic sleeve.
Blackout sleeves are trendy right now, which is a full sleeve of black ink or black ink with white or skin-colored designs, like a reversal of the traditional tattoo sleeve.
Pick a Style and Artist
There are all kinds of tattoo styles to choose from. Because a tattoo sleeve is such a huge commitment, it’s important that you pick a style that you love. You’ll be seeing a lot of it.
American traditional and Japanese traditional are two popular styles for tattoo sleeves because they include bold lines and shading so you know that the sleeve will have longevity. Some people like sleeves full of tribal-style tattoos, or sacred geometry designs.
If you’re doing a completely cohesive piece, you’ll have one style for the entirety of the arm. You want to choose an artist that’s adept with that style, not just your favorite local artist who’s done other styles of work that you like.
Visit local shops for portfolio books and check out the Instagram accounts and galleries of local artists to see portfolios. These portfolios will help you decide who the right person for the job is.
Talk With Your Artist
Once you’ve chosen your artist, it’s time to have a consultation. Tattoo consultations are often free (though you will make a deposit that goes into the final cost of your tattoo. That deposit covers the time and effort your artist will put into the art in case you choose to not get the tattoo).
While you may come in with ideas, don’t come in with a sleeve that you want an exact copy of. Instead, come in with concepts and other drawings that have a similar feeling to what you have in mind.
An artist’s job is to make art, not copy. Your tattoo artist will make a design that suits your needs and works best with your form. Many will make small alterations on the day of. They know that a sleeve is a commitment.
Some artists will give you the option of scheduling a sleeve for one day. If this happens to be your first tattoo, don’t choose this option. Even if you’re a tattoo veteran it might be too much for you.
It’s wise to schedule blocks in several-hour increments depending on your pain tolerance.
Talk to your artist about how they prefer to schedule large projects like this and make sure to discuss the cost. Because most artists charge by the hour, they may want you to pay as you go or they may want a larger upfront sum.
If you aren’t doing it all in one go, it’s best to give yourself time to heal between sessions (especially if you’re doing lines and color or shading on separate days).
Now That You Know How to Plan a Tattoo Sleeve, Get Started!
Knowing how to plan a tattoo sleeve is the first part of the battle. The actual planning? Much more difficult.
Find a great artist who can help you bring your tattoo sleeve ideas to life. We know planning a big tattoo is hard and we want to make sure that you get something that you love.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started.
The Best Spot For a First Tattoo
Don’t regret where you get your first tattoo on your body. Here is the very best spot for a first tattoo and why it matters!
Do you’re thinking of going out and getting your first tattoo!
Did you know that 27% of women have their tattoos placed on their ankles, while 34% of men choose to have it done on their upper back shoulder?
As the saying goes, the body is a canvas, but how do you make the decision of where to put permanent artwork? There are so many factors that you should consider when picking the best sport for a first tattoo.
Keep reading to find out all about tattoo placement, and ultimately, make the right decision for you.
The Best Spot for a First Tattoo
When asking the question, “What is the best spot for a first tattoo?”, we would first like to say, there’s no direct answer to this question.
Before you head into a shop though, ensure that you understand tattoo shop etiquette and the exact behavior that is required from you.
Many different people, from many different walks of life, choose to get a tattoo for a variety of choices. Things like other people being able to see your tattoo, the industry that you work in, your family’s culture, could all play a part in where you choose to put your first tattoo.
But let’s dive straight into the areas of the body that we believe are the best spots for a first tattoo.
1. The Upper Collarbone
Tattoos generally, over time, will fade in direct exposure to sunlight. If you’re leaning towards getting your first tattoo on your chest, then the upper collar bone is a great choice.
It’s rated one of the least painful places to get a tattoo, and also, the skin in this area doesn’t stretch as much as the rest of the chest over time, so your tattoo should remain fairly constant.
2. Your Back
If you’re worried about your tattoo changing shape over time, then the back is a great location for your first tattoo.
The skin here stays pretty constant if you experience weight gain, pregnancy, or other body changes.
The upper part of your back offers a solid canvas if you’re looking for a place that you can easily cover your ink in your daily life too.
3. Your Wrist
Most female customers will choose the wrist as the location for the first tattoo. It’s the perfect placement for a tattoo that is delicate and dainty.
But be warned!
The wrist has a lot of nerve endings, making the tattoo itself more painful than in other more cushioned areas of the body. Also, you’ll find it harder to cover up this bad boy in warm weather.
Be mindful of your choice of colors too, with the wrist spending much time in the sunlight, you may find that your tattoo fades quicker than it would in other areas. Chat to your tattoo artist about what color choices he would recommend for a tattoo on your wrist.
4. The Back of the Neck
The back of the neck is a popular choice for women with long hair, that feel they’ll easily be able to hide the ink if the situation calls for it.
It’s the perfect place for a small, delicate design to make its first appearance.
The level of pain in this area is not too high, in comparison to your rib cage for example, but during your time in the chair, the sound of the machine can seem really loud, ‘tricking’ people into believing it’s more painful than it actually is.
5. On Your Chest
The chest is generally an area chosen by men more so than women, and given the proximity to the heart, it’s the perfect place for a tattoo that holds a lot of meaning for the person getting it.
It’s similar to the way a footballer’s badge would be displayed, their team’s crest is sacred to them, and so should the tattoo be to you.
Also, the chest is the perfect place for you to consider a heart tattoo design.
It also allows for larger designs to be chosen, as opposed to the smaller areas on your wrist and ankle.
Places to Avoid for Your First Tattoo
Generally speaking, the biggest concern for someone getting their first tattoo is the level of pain they expect.
Obviously, getting a tattoo isn’t like a unicorn licking rainbows on your skin, the process can be painful and lengthy, depending on the location and the length of time that you sit in the chair.
Also, one factor which is hard to measure is your own level of tolerance for pain. If you’re one to scream when getting a vaccination, then you may want to stick with the list above.
Here are some of the areas that you should avoid if you’re worried about pain:
- The rib cage is extremely sensitive
- Fingers have little cushioning between the skin and the bone, so are quite painful during the tattoo process
- Elbows also lack enough ‘meat’ to create a cushion, so you’ll feel the tattoo needles right down to the bone
- The ankle is not an ideal place for your first tattoo, with the skin sitting so close to the bone, as well as all the weird ways you have to keep bending your foot in order to get the perfect tattoo
Choosing an area for your first tattoo though, shouldn’t be made on the level of pain that you wish to avoid, but rather, on the perfect placement for the design you’ve chosen.
You’ll really want to chat to your tattoo artist about the designs that you have in mind, and where he thinks the tattoo will be showcased best.
Heading Out for Your First Tattoo
Now that you know the best spot for a first tattoo, you should take your time in finding the right artist to do the application for you.
Look out for professional studios that have the right sanitation and disinfection procedures in place, the last thing you want to end up with is an infection.
Also, never make your decision based on price, like the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Rather budget more for your first tattoo, and get exactly what you’re hoping for.
Contact us if you have more questions about the process, or would like to schedule that session for your first tattoo.
7 Blackwork Tattoo Styles To Inspire Your Next Tattoo
Have you been saving it? Counting your coins and filling your tattoo jar for this very moment? Whether you’re tattoo covered or preparing to get your first piece, it’s a fun and exciting occasion, and one that needs some good art to go with it.
Once you saved the money for a tattoo, you’ll be looking for the right design and the right artist. There are so many incredible tattoo artists in the world and great styles including blackwork tattoo styles.
If you’ve never gotten a tattoo before, if it’s been awhile, or if you’re looking to work with a new artist, it’s good to brush up on your tattoo etiquette. And if you’re considering blackwork, it’s good to know some of the styles more commonly seen so you know what you want.
7 Blackwork Tattoo Styles
blackwork tattoo styles
A blackwork style tattoo means it’s done with black ink only. This is a style derived from ancient tribal tattooing but has evolved greatly to incorporate all kinds of art styles today. Below you will find all kinds of blackwork tattoo ideas.
Tribal tattoos may be what you think of immediately upon hearing blackwork style tattoos. Tribal tattoos are some of the first tattoos to exist and come from a long line of traditions. They are often beautiful, solid pieces, but are by no means the only option when considering a blackwork style tattoo.
Geometric style tattoos are very popular for blackwork, and allow artists to be creative and innovative with designs. You may want to go to an artist who does a lot of geometric designs and allow them to create something with little guidance.
Geometric tattoos can be complicated tessellations or simple designs built from various shapes. They can be smaller pieces, but also look great as a full sleeve or back design. Either way, they are a great choice for a tattoo in the blackwork style.
Ornamental designs are similar to geometric designs, but rounder, ornate, and similar to henna styles. You may want a more mandala-type design, which would fit into the ornamental style. This can translate well to larger designs, but also works well on the small scale.
Blackout tattoos are exactly what they sound like. They fit perfectly within the blackwork style tattoo category and consist of large blocks of completely filled in black. These tattoos can be very striking and are often seen on arms and legs.
Blackout tattoos, like most all blackwork style tattoos, will age well if you take care of them. They don’t rely on thinner, more ornate designs, and may not require shading depending on what you want.
5. Dark Art
The dark art style often takes inspiration from etchings. It can feature alchemy imagery, taking influence from tarot cards and other sources. Dark art can be beautiful and as ornate as you want. The artist may also approach designs in unique ways, using dot work or dark lines depending on the piece.
6. Graphic Art
Graphic art works especially well as a blackwork tattoo style. Think of all the visual prints done in black and white. Many artists take inspiration from manga and comic work, creating unique graphic art tattoos in all black. These tattoos may depict scenes or characters, and verge on looking exactly like illustrations.
When using only black ink, the artist will need great skills to work on the linework needed for certain pieces. However, if you know the work you want and are working with the right artist for that piece, you’re sure to get a great tattoo from the process.
Lettering, calligraphy, and graphite inspired tattoos do not always fit into the blackwork tattoo styles. Often lettering or script tattoos will use greys and white to add contrast and create shading and shadows. But blackwork style can certainly work with lettering designs.
Often having solid black lettering can create beautiful and bold lettering. And many of these styles, including lettering, can be combined in various ways within the blackwork style. You can have a tattoo that incorporates graphic and blackout components to create an individual tattoo for you.
You don’t have to have a full tattoo design ready before walking into a shop or contacting an artist. If you find someone whose work you admire, that might be all you need and you can then ask for their available designs. Most tattoo artists are happy to work with you to help create a design you will be truly happy with for the rest of your life.
For many of these styles, it is good to find artists who usually do these types of designs. That way they are more likely to want to work with you on your specific tattoo, or will have some good flash options already available for you to choose from. Remember, getting a tattoo isn’t a solo experience but one between both the artist and the client.
Go Get Inked
You can usually find artists who specify that they do blackwork. Whether you’re looking for a new striking piece, or want to cover-up a previous work, blackwork is a great option for your next tattoo. Blackwork tattoo styles can vary greatly but include a lot of choices to suit what you want.
Once you’ve decided on a general design idea or picked the perfect artist for you, you’re ready to make that appointment and get your next work of art. If you found this article helpful in giving you the blackwork tattoo inspiration you needed, check us out for more good design styles, tips, and tattooing news! Stop by our Maui Tattoo shop or our Henderson location.