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How To Draw Tattoo Designs

Needle Groupings For Traditional Tattoos

5 Easy Heart and Roses Designs | How to Draw a Tattoo Design

Traditional tattoos can be tricky because you really want to get all the lines in one pass. While other styles make it easier to cover mistakes up, American Traditional is known for its thick, bold lines created with a 14 round liner.

For shading and color packing, you should always go with the largest mag you can use for the design. A lot of traditional artists use flat mags instead of curved mags, since flat mags were the only option back when the old school style was developing.

Pro Tip: Use One Medium

A lot of artists believe that old school tattoos age better because they use thick lines and lots of black ink. In theory, this prevents them from fading, and because the lines are spaced out, they wont blur together as they expand over time.

What To Practice Drawing For Tattoos

Smooth, steady lines are what you need to practice the most. Keeping the thickness and spacing of your lines consistent is vital.

One of the exercises I do is to draw a single, curved, twisty line from one side of the page to the other. Next, draw a second line parallel to the first, following it precisely. Try to keep the line smooth and the gap between the 2 lines the same from one end to the other. You will need to repeat this over and over again until the whole page is covered by lines. Try to keep all the linesand the gaps equal distances apart.

When you look at the drawing afterwards you will see where you have done it better and the places where you have not done it so well. Keep practicing and you will see your results improve.

You will need to practice every aspect of your drawing skills. We have some fantastic FREE Drawing Tutorials here. Dont get frustrated. It can get boring doing the same thing over and over again, but the practice will be worth it in the end.

Should You Float The Needle Or Ride The Tube

You can use two different methods to determine your needle depth.

Ride the Tube

This means pushing the tube all the way down on the skin. You can use this method to make it impossible for you to go too deep in the skin and get blowouts. However, riding the tube makes ink splurt from the tip of your machine, which makes it hard to see your stencil. And it causes more pain to the client since you are dragging the tip of the machine across a freshly tattooed line.

Float the needle

Floating the needle means keeping the machine off the skin. The machine stroke will have to be long enough that you can get the right needle depth. While you do have to control the depth manually, no ink will spurt from the needle tip, and you can see your stencil, which allows you to tattoo more accurately. However, blowouts are possible if youre not sure how to manually control the depth properly.

You must have a long enough stroke to be able to do this so that your needles fully retract into the cartridge/tip with each up and down cycle. If it does not, then you wont get good ink flow, and your lines will not come out solid. For more info on this check out our article on machine stroke.


Many new artists ride the tube in the beginning. However, you should aim to float the needle later on, as it will give you more accuracy with your linework.

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Improve Your Understanding Of Line

Don’t shade anything at first, just concentrate on making strong lines. Draw in pencil every day. Draw the things that are around you as exactly as possible. Tattoos are very much defined by the line, so get used to thinking about the things you draw as being made up of a collection of lines. Push yourself to draw increasingly complicated things, such as the pattern of brick on a building, wallpaper, or designs from clothing. Keep these drawings in a folder.

Tribal Tattoos: Everything You Need To Know

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Easy, step by step how to draw Tribal drawing tutorials for kids. Learn how to draw Tribal simply by following the steps outlined in our video lessons.

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How To Tell If You Have The Right Needle Depth

Getting the right tattoo needle depth is something you have to get a feel for as a tattoo artist. If youre tattooing a line, youll feel the vibration in your stretching hand that indicates youve hit the right depth in the skin.

Whether you have the right needle depth depends on what part of the body you are tattooing. For example, the skin on the shins is very different to skin on the arm or eyelid. Additionally, the skins thickness will be different for every person. But as a rule of thumb, you can expect mens skin to be a little thicker than womens skin. And the older someone is, the thinner their skin will be and the more gentle you will have to be.

How To Make Sure Your Design Fits On The Body

When you are designing a tattoo, its best to get an image of the body part youll be tattooing – ideally, youd get a picture of the person you’re tattooing if they’ve come into your studio.

Getting a picture is especially important if youre filling in a gap. If they’ve got a bunch of other little tattoos that you need to draw something in a weird gap, you want to either take a photo or get a tracing of that part of their limb. That way, you know the exact size of the space that you’re working with.

If they’re a blank canvas and you’re just doing a tattoo on their forearm, then take a photo of that part of their body, trace it, and use that tracing as the boundary of your drawing.


You can either put an image of the body part as a layer in Procreate on an iPad, or you can print off a photo and put a piece of tracing paper over it to trace the shape.

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Use 3 Points Of Contact

Like a tripod balances a camera, having three points of contact will keep your tattoo machine steady, which is especially important when pulling smoother lines..

Here is how to establish 3 points of contact:

  • Put the pinkie finger of your tattooing hand against the thumb of the stretching hand
  • Lock elbow in against your ribs or on massage table
  • Plant your wrist against table or tattoo chair

In this position, rather than move your hand to tattoo a line you want to keep your hand stiff, hinge at your elbow, and move your entire arm. This will help keep wobbles out of your lines.

Tattoo Designs Should Match The S

3 Easy Traditional Tattoos to Draw | How to Draw a Tattoo Design

All the muscles in the human body flow in a natural S-shape. If you design your tattoos with this principle in mind, then they’re going to sit on the body a lot better, and it’s going to compliment the person’s figure.

Even if the tattoo isn’t done perfectly, it will still look good because it’s designed for that specific part of the body.


You dont have to stick to one direction. You can still have the general flow and shape coming from a different direction. However, as long as you have that flow in mind when youre creating a tattoo, itll make the design process a lot easier.

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Which One Tattoo Picture You Want To Draw First

We offer to you a a huge bank of drawing lessons with quite a variety of tattoo ideas. Tribal Tattoo, Tattoo design, Tattoo Skulls This rubrics you can found on our website! Draw Tattoos for men or Hello kitty skull perfectly with our step by step instructions. As far as improving your skill goes, this is highly effective in an exciting way. You are going to be able to start off simple, or start off at something that matches your skill level, and then work your way up. You will be able to gradually improve upon your abilities until you are able to draw tattoo designs from scratch. Working your way up to this is easy and fun because of these tutorials, which makes it something that anyone can begin doing. You will find that you are a better artist in no time at all.


Check Out Some Tattoo Books

Get some books that have lots of pictures of tattoos and flash. Look and see what color combinations other artists use. Use your inking skills to replicate the designs you see.

As you browse through hundreds of examples, you will see that the really amazing tattoos have great line work. That will be your most important skill.

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Design For Every Body

Youre going to design differently if its a forearm tattoo versus the lower back. The curve of the body is different, and you need to design with that in mind, says tattoo artist Carrie Smith. Because the contours of the body are different, the level of pain or discomfort that comes with getting tattooed changes depending on its location. If your client doesnt handle pain well, you may need to counsel them to avoid specific areas like the ribs or feet.

Staying Involved In The Process

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Whether done by freehand or using a stencil, applying a mockup of the design before the process of inking onto the skin can help the client feel more involved in the process of putting a work of art on their body forever. The client can contribute their own creative input with the artist and truly collaborate on a rough draft of what the tattoo is going to look like.

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What Apps Do Professional Tattoo Artists Use To Draw On Ipads

Professional tattoo artists use a variety of apps to draw tattoos on an iPad, including Procreate, Adobe Illustrator Draw, Inkpad, and Autodesk Sketchbook. Each of these apps offers its own set of features and benefits, making them ideal for creating intricate and detailed designs. Additionally, some of the apps even offer collaboration tools, allowing tattoo artists to work together on projects in real-time.

When choosing an app to draw tattoos on an iPad, its important to consider the features, tools, and benefits offered by each one. Additionally, be sure to read reviews and compare the different apps before making a decision. Ultimately, the best app for drawing tattoos on an iPad depends on the users individual needs and preferences.

Planning For Tattoos To Wrap

In this example, well be making a forearm tattoo. After you sketch the shape of the arm, you can add a dotted line outside of that to account for areas where the tattoo will wrap.

It’s okay to go outside of the main shape of the arm if it’s little background elements. For example, a rose, leaves, water, smoke, flames, etc.


The only exception to this rule is the Japanese style, where tattoos are designed to wrap around the whole body.

Example of a Tattoo the Wraps Around the Body Correctly:

In this example, you can see how the shape of the body is traced in red, and that all the main elements of the tattoo fit inside that area. Only leaves and clouds wrap outside of those boundaries.

Example of a Tattoo the Wraps Around the Body Incorrectly:

When you don’t draw to the shape of the body, the designs just won’t fit well. In this example, the design has a lot of gaps, it doesn’t come down the full way of the torso, and it wraps massively around the ribs. Because it doesnt fit the clients chest, the design will not sit well on the body, and it wont be as aesthetically pleasing.

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An Introduction To Tattoo Design

Tattooing, or marking the body with a permanent design by inserting pigment into the skin, is an art form that dates back thousands of years. While some tattoos hold cultural significance, many people get body art for aesthetic or sentimental reasons. Tattoos are an opportunity for people to creatively express themselves. I encourage my clients to choose tattoos that mean something to them, but to also look at them as artwork, because itll be on their body forever, says tattoo artist Lorraine Salazar.

Creating tattoos is a unique design challenge. With a curved canvas and complex tools, these designs need to follow specific rules to look good in the long term. When talking with clients about their ideal tattoo, be sure to set expectations with them and explain your techniques and specialties. Creating a design youre comfortable tattooing will ensure it looks beautiful for years to come and help you create the best tattoo for each unique customer.

Research Drawings Your Like

5 Drawing Hacks For Better Tattoo Designs

Even if you have already thought of a theme, it would be good to have an open mind. Do some research by scanning ideas from art books and tattoo magazines. Or you can go online and do a Google search for tattoo designs.

Creating a tattoo design that has significance to you can be very rewarding. Consider important dates, hobbies, beliefs, interests or meaningful quotes.

As much as possible, stay away from the current trends. It would be safer to choose tribal styles, zodiac signs or floral designs.

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Drawing Everything In The Reverse Order Can Work

You can draw a tattoo in reverse order too. If you have a finished drawing you can take some tracing paper and try to draw a line drawing that will guide the tattoo artist so he can reproduce the image.

This is somethingtattoo artists have to do all the time, but it increases their work load. If you can do it for them you are more likely to get a good reaction.

Doing it this way can work, but it can be difficult to simplify some pictures. You need the drawing for the tattoo stencil to be simple enough, while still keeping the details needed.

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Find The Right Tattoo Artist

Lastly, find the best tattoo artist. After creating your own tattoo drawing design, look for the artist that can bring it to life. Take your design to various shops and get their comments. In order to make sure that the artist is professional, check if he is licensed.

Also, examine their portfolios to ensure that they can do an excellent job. Some artists may give you some suggestions. Be open and welcome it! Some may offer free consultations. Grab this opportunity right away!

Your Tattoo Drawing Is Complete

30+ Cute Easy Tattoo Drawing Ideas

Hopefully, you had fun with this step-by-step tattoo drawing tutorial. Now that you can draw a tattoo, perhaps you can draw a character with a tattoo marked on his or her body next?

Check out our tutorial on how to draw a boy or a girl to make it happen!

Remember, all of our drawing tutorials are 100% free for you to use as learning materials for your drawing activities.

We are regularly updating our How to Draw catalog, so dont forget to keep re-visiting our website so you can continuously enjoy all-new drawing tutorials.

Dont be embarrassed! Youve worked hard for it so were sure it looks impressive!

We cant wait to see your cool tattoo drawing!

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How To Practice Drawing 3d On The Body

  • Start by using a coffee cup or some other curved container. Ink your drawings directly onto the surface of the cup with your medium-tip pen. Keep practicing until your lines are as good on a curved surface as they are on flat paper.
  • After you feel comfortable with this, get some wide masking tape and tape a body part, placing each strip of tape right next to or slightly overlapping another strip to form a wide area to practice on. Then use a medium-tip pen to lay your lines down.
  • Notice how the image looks from various angles and how the body part changes the appearance of the image.
  • Continue this practice and observation of many different body partsyours and friends’.
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