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How to Design Illustrative Tattoos on Your Own

Tips and Inspiration for Illustrative Tattoos

Any tattoo gives you the opportunity to express your personality in a unique way. One way to take this a step further is to design illustrative tattoos on your own. Illustrative tattoos may include any design that looks like a drawing or illustration and may be taken from realistic or traditional themes. Usually, these tattoos include outlines of solid black like you’d find in traditional tattoos and they may be brightly coloured or simply coloured black.

Illustrative tattoos are just one type of tattoo that you can design on your own. All you need to do is feel inspired and start drawing. You’ll never know what you come up with until you get started and if you don’t like what you’ve drawn you can go back to square one and start a new one.

There are also a few helpful tips that you can use to help you design the illustrative tattoos of your dreams that you’d love to have done to your skin.

Consider Where the Tattoo Will Be Placed

When you’re considering the design for illustrative tattoos the location where it will be placed should be taken into account. Will you be placing the tattoo in an area where it will be visible or hidden? If it is going to be placed in a hidden part of your body you won’t have to worry about the design as much. If, on the other hand, the tattoo will be inked in an area that is visible to others, there are certain things to consider.

Getting large illustrative tattoos on a visible part of the body may affect your ability to get employment, depending on your chosen field. As well, you’ll need to take extra care to choose a design that would not be considered to be offensive.

If you haven’t decided on the location where the artwork will be placed, consider whether you would want to get a tattoo that only a select few can see. Locations that are semi-private include the shoulders, neck, stomach, and the lower back. Locations with high visibility include the legs, fingers, arms and face.

Another thing to take into account when you’re considering illustrative tattoos is the curvature of your body in the area where the tattoos will be placed. The body is not a flat computer screen or piece of paper. The body should be considered to be a three-dimensional canvas that has its own set of limitations in different areas.

Become Inspired

Get some artful inspiration on the Internet, in art books and in tattoo magazines. Take a look through pictures on Instagram and Pinterest for more ideas. You can also browse through old photographs you have if you are interested in getting a portraiture tattoo.

You can also draw inspiration from other illustrative tattoos you have seen in the past. Have you noticed that you like a certain type of tattoo more than others? Perhaps you have seen other people with Asian tattoos or watercolour tattoos that you thought were intriguing. This is a great place to start when you don’t know the exact type of tattoo you’d like to get. You’ve probably seen all kinds of art forms on different individuals and have found yourself more drawn to certain tattoo designs than others.

It’s Time to Start Drawing

You don’t have to be a great artist to draw your own tattoo. If you do have some art skills, simply start sketching things out to make the images come to life. If you don’t consider yourself to be a good artist, you can always create a contemporary piece that consists of geometric patterns that are combined together to make an impressive design.

Design Your Own Small Tattoos

Small tattoos are great to start designing since many have a minimalistic design. Some small tattoos just contain text so you can choose from different fonts on the Internet that you like, experiment with various colours and choose the right words. You can also combine the text with small images or geometric shapes to add more depth and meaning to the small tattoos.

Use a Tattoo Stencil

Many professional tattoo artists use a stencil design to mark the skin before starting to ink the tattoo. You can do the same thing. Create your own stencils of the illustrative tattoos or small tattoos you have created and then mark the designs, images or text directly onto your skin using non-permanent washable markers. Take a look at yourself in the mirror and see what you think. This is the closest you can come to knowing for certain whether you will like the finished tattoo that you have designed once it has been placed on your body or whether it is best to design a new one.

Tattoo Design Apps

Another thing you can do is start checking out the tattoo design apps on the Internet. Check at the Google Play Store or at the Apple Store to find an app that you’d like to work with and download it onto your phone. Some of these virtual tattoo maker apps allow you to upload a picture of your body and then place tattoos on it. This gives you the opportunity to take your tattoo for a virtual test drive before committing to getting the real thing.

Tattoo Store Toronto

Once you have finalized the design of the illustrative tattoos, small tattoos or any other kind of tattoo that you’d like to have inked, it’s time to talk to an artist at a tattoo store in Toronto. Go over your design with the artist and let him know where you want it placed. He can let you know how well it would work and may also offer some helpful suggestions.


When you’re looking for the best tattoo store in Toronto with artists that love to work with unique images created by their clients, think of Hon Tattoo first. Visit our website at for more details and to schedule a consultation with one of our expert tattoo artists.

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