6 Smart Ways To Tell A Tattoo Artist What You Want

I’m certain you’ve heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. But what if the picture you have in your mind needs to be translated into a tangible design by your tattoo artist?

That might sound like a riddle wrapped in an enigma, but don’t you worry, I’ve got you covered.

Here, I’ll guide you on the journey to successfully communicate what you want in your next piece of body art.

How To Tell A Tattoo Artist What You Want

Gather Inspiration

Paint the picture in your mind before you paint it on your skin. That’s my go-to mantra when it comes to tattoos. But how do you bring this thought into existence? It starts with gathering inspiration. S

tart with a broad theme or idea, then dive deeper into the ocean of creativity. Books, music, art, nature, and personal experiences – the entire world is your canvas. Explore, absorb, and get inspired.

As you do, make note of symbols, styles, and elements that appeal to you.

Do Your Homework

Once you’ve harnessed your inspiration, it’s time to translate it into the language of tattoos. Each design has a story, a genre, and a tone. Do some research about different styles and tattoo art history.

Understanding the difference between traditional, neo-traditional, tribal, new school, blackwork, and others will help you express your desires more clearly. Remember, tattoo artists are not mind readers; the more precise you are, the better they can create what you want.

Visualize and Sketch

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “I can’t even draw a straight line, how am I supposed to sketch a tattoo?” Well, your sketch doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. It’s more about arranging the elements you’ve chosen into a composition.

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Don’t shy away from using stick figures, geometric shapes, or even collage cut-outs. Your goal here is to provide a visual framework for your tattoo artist.

Find the Right Tattoo Artist

Not every artist will be the right fit for your tattoo, and that’s perfectly fine! You need someone who not only understands your vision but also has the necessary skills and style.

Look at their portfolio, check their reviews, and pay attention to their specialty styles. Once you’ve found someone you feel comfortable with, reach out for a consultation. Remember, communication is a two-way street – ask questions, listen, and engage.

Articulate Your Idea

The day has come. You’re about to meet your chosen artist and the excitement is palpable. Remember, every detail counts.

Share your research, the origin of your inspiration, your sketches, and even what you don’t want. Colors, size, placement – discuss them all. But also be open to their suggestions. They’re the professionals after all.

Be Patient and Trust the Process

Patience is not just a virtue, it’s a necessity in the world of tattoos. The process might require several revisions and discussions.

Stay patient, trust your artist, and stay engaged in the process. After all, your skin is the canvas that the masterpiece will be painted on. So, take your time to ensure everything is perfect.


How important is the sketch of the tattoo?

While not a necessity, sketches can provide a visual framework for the artist. They don’t need to be perfect, just helpful in conveying your idea.

What if the tattoo artist suggests changes to my design?

Be open to suggestions. Tattoo artists have a wealth of experience and might provide insights that enhance your design while staying true to your original idea.

How long does the process usually take?

It varies depending on the complexity of the design, the expertise of the artist, and your communication. It could take anywhere from a week to a few months.

What should I do if I’m not happy with the design the artist comes up with?

Communicate your concerns clearly and honestly. Your artist should be open to revisions and your happiness with the final design is paramount. Don’t settle until you’re satisfied.

Conclusion: Wear Your Story

Tattoos are more than just ink on skin; they are personal narratives that tell our unique stories. By gathering inspiration, doing your homework, visualizing, finding the right tattoo artist, articulating your idea clearly, and exercising patience, you’ll be well on your way to getting a tattoo you’ll love for a lifetime.

Now that you know how to convey your dream design to your tattoo artist, are you ready to wear your story on your sleeve (or wherever you choose to get inked)?

About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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