How to Choose a Tattoo Design that is Right for You
The process of choosing a tattoo design will be different for everyone. Movies and television have given us scenarios of intoxicated people comically stumbling into a tattoo parlor on a whim or a dare, often ending in some cartoon character being forever colored into their skin. Bear in mind that if you are obviously drunk, no self respecting tattoo artist will tattoo you. They know, as should you, that the decision to get tattooed lasts a lifetime, and they certainly do not want to be blamed for you waking up the next day with a hangover and a scab forming on your new tattoo of tweety bird holding a machine gun.
Put some effort and thought into what you want. Give it a little time. Getting a tattoo on the spur of moment just to have the experience rarely results in anything truly meaningful, unless you are going through tremendous life changes and want to commemorate them forever. Start picking your design by looking at pictures that strike a chord within you.
Flash art is a great way to begin to get ideas for what kind of image you want to have to represent this part of your life. Artists generally provide several notebooks of flash art, including various animals, symbols, fairies, dragons and skulls. Looking at these images, you will begin to get a sense of what it is that excites you, and when beginning with a flash drawing, you can always customize your chosen image with add on’s and color changes. Talk to your tattoo artist about what it is you like about the flash and what you would like to add. This will insure that no one else is walking around with your tattoo.
Perhaps the most meaningful designs are those that the individual comes up with on their own. Tattoo artists usually love the challenge of bringing a clients vision to life, first on paper and then on skin. Many tattoo artists say that, by far, custom work is the most satisfying, and they often put much more focus into the design elements to really make the design pop.
Begin creating your design by looking at your life. What has meaning in your life right now? Is it a person, a situation, or a feeling? Put a picture to it. It could be a combination of pictures. Play around with ideas without making any one of them wrong. There is nothing permanent about this process. Try to allow each aspect of your design to have meaning for you. This forms a personal bond between the images and a vision of your life that you want to represent, and creates a tremendously personal experience between art and wearer.
Of course, not everyone wants a completely unique design. Some people just really like the way that classic tattoos look, and they want to replicate that look on themselves. For example, swallow tattoos and Japanese koi fish have a look about them that many people adore. They, too, can be customized to the wearer. At the very least, find meaning that holds true within the scope of the design that you choose, even if you don’t come up with it yourself.
Identifying with your tattoos comes naturally when you have chosen imagery that you love, or have strong emotional reasons for the imagery that you chose. Tattoos do not define us, as some might want to believe, because we are far more than the pictures that we put upon our skin. But tattoos can certainly introduce other people to our intensity, our pride, our love, our personal battles, our strength, our sense of humor and our spiritual nature without us ever having to say a word.