Designing A Tattoo
It has been a long time since I wrote a post on how we design a tattoo. With our tattoo design process being updated, refined and improved all the time I thought it was about time to write a new entry. In this post I will explain how I create a tattoo design from first concept to the final design with a full time lapse showing the whole process.
Researching Your Tattoo Design
Finding research for custom tattoos is the first step when creating a design, I usually only have a customers, often vague, idea to go on. Writing a brief for designers is never easy and part of my goal is to help the customer get across what is initially only an idea. I ask the customer for as much information as possible from features they want in the design to reference images they may have and designs they like the look of. The more information I have on a request the better idea I get of how the customer wants their tattoo design. For more information on coming up with ideas, check out our recent post Finding Your Tattoo Ideas.
Concept creations is arguably the most important part of any design process. As you can see from the time lapse video above the first concept for this raven tattoo design is almost completely different to the how the final design turned out. With that being said the first concept is probably the most important of the lot.
When creating the first concept all you have to go on is your research, the customers brief and your understanding of that brief. There are times when I have nailed the design with the first concept but as in this design the huge change between the first and second design shows just how two people can see a tattoo brief totally differently. The reason this first concept is so important is that it gives the customer a chance to see the direction I am going and to adjust the request accordingly. Once I have my customers feedback I can then put the design on the lightbox trace what worked and change what didn’t.
That sounds great! I agree I think the raven will work well with the trees as well. I can’t wait to see the next concept.
One thing I came to learn very quickly from tattoo artists feedback is that often the outline of the design is of more use than the final fully shaded drawing. When I create a tattoo I draw the outline stencil on a separate sheet of paper over the lightbox as you can see in the video above. This is so that I can give my customer a full tattoo stencil that lines up correctly with my final drawing. Each feature of the design needs to be outlined carefully, this way the tattooist can take each feature separately.
The design looks awesome! I can’t wait to see it finished.
How I Create A Tattoo Design
My final drawing is of course the culmination of all the previous steps. To create a tattoo that embodies my customers brief, designing a tattoo outline that matches perfectly with the full drawing and finally creating an original piece of artwork. The full shaded drawing is actually my idea of how the tattoo design should look. While the tattoo artist will always know best how to create shades, textures and the full tattoo. My aim when creating the final drawing is to make a guide for any tattoo artists as to how I imagined the final custom tattoo to look.
Most artists are their own worst enemy and I am no different. A lot of the time I do not even like to look at my previous drawings as all I see are the bits that I would change now. Although this sounds very negative it is actually how I improve, I am always learning from each drawing I do and I always like to think each drawing is better than the last.
Oh wow that is truly incredible! That is one of the most unique and interesting designs I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to see it in person.