Updated: September 14, 2020
By Derek Martin
Let’s face it, deciding when to get a new tattoo is the easy part. Trying to decide what design to actually get is the real pain in the ass.
As a tattoo enthusiast myself, I know first hand what it’s like to agonize over the design of a new tattoo.
I never could understand how some people walk into a tattoo shop, pick a generic design off of the wall, and get it permanently tattoo’d onto their body.
While I’m not necessarily knocking anyone who gets their tattoos done this way. I’m just saying that method is definitely not for me.
When it comes to tattoos, I’m far too meticulous of a person to simply pick out a design on a whim.
And while some tattoo collectors might say that I overthink it, I know there are plenty of others who are just like me.
So if you happen to be struggling with your next tattoo design, or if you’re simply looking for some inspiration, this article is for you.
Deciding on what tattoo to get is hard. Fully designing it is even harder. That’s why I highly recommend you check out Miami Ink Tattoo Designs Gallery.
When it comes to designing or simply finding your next tattoo design, Miami Ink Tattoo Designs hands down offers the largest and most comprehensive tattoo design gallery in existence.
If you check out their website you will find over 60 design categories that contain a shit ton (over 30,000) of unique tattoos to design, edit and modify.
There is also a bunch of tattoo fonts to choose from, and even hours of tattoo videos that help with the whole design process.
It’s been one of my go-to tools for a number of my own personal tattoos, and considering its convenience and ease of use, I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to start designing their own ink. It’s also a very useful source for tattoo artists as well.
The one downside about Miami Ink Tattoo Designs is that it isn’t free. It does cost about $10 to gain access to the designs and the tattoo designer, so that’s definitely something to keep in mind.
You can check out Miami Ink Tattoo Designs here.
When it comes to designing a tattoo online, it doesn’t get any easier than having someone else designing it for you.
That’s where Fiverr comes in.
If you’re unfamiliar with Fiverr, it’s an online marketplace where you can hire low cost freelancers for pretty much any job you can think of.
Graphic design, logo design, writing, commercials, videos, and especially tattoo design are all available on Fiverr.
The best part is, hiring a freelance tattoo artist on Fiverr is pretty damn cheap.
Prices range from as little as $5 to as much as $200 depending on which freelancer you decide to go with (there are thousands).
Also all of the tattoo designers offer free revisions if you aren’t satisfied with the completed design.
Considering the low cost and free revisions, Fiverr is definitely a good option for anyone looking for a custom designed tattoo.
You can browse all of Fiverr’s tattoo design artists here.
How to Design Your Own Tattoo for Free
Designing your own tattoo can be a very rewarding experience, assuming the final product comes out as you hope.
While having a bit of artistic ability and a creative eye are both certainly helpful — they are definitely not required.
The great thing about designing your own tattoo is the fact that you aren’t under any time constraints. This allows you to take your time and design it exactly how you want it. Plus you can make endless revisions and it won’t cost you a damn cent.
If you do decide to tackle your own tattoo design, it can sometimes be difficult come up with every element of the design from scratch. Even if you do have a general idea of what you want your tattoo to be, it can often be difficult to map out every intricate aspect of the design.
If you do find yourself short on ideas or inspiration, here’s a few tips that can help you break-through that creative barrier.
Whether you literally have no idea what you want your next tattoo to be, or even if you have a specific theme in mind, you should always be on the lookout for fresh ideas that might elicit inspiration.
Pinterest, Youtube, Google, magazines, museums, art books, cultural symbols, and religious symbols all make for excellent sources of tattoo inspiration.
There are also tons of tattoo conventions, or even pictures of tattoo conventions online that you can check out to help you gain some inspiration.
Browse Tattoo Artist Portfolios
Another excellent source of inspiration is browsing through tattoo artist portfolios. Any decent tattoo artist will have a portoflio of their past works for potential customers to peruse.
Simply walk into any tattoo shop in your area and ask the receptionist to see the collection of portfolios. Since many shops employ multiple tattoo artists, you’ll probably have quite a few portfolios to browse through.
Not only are these portfolios a huge source of inspiration, but they might also help you find a tattoo artist that you’d like to do your tattoo.
Take a Walk Through Nature
While I’m not suggesting you get up close and personal with any dangerous wild animals, I do however recommend you take a walk through the woods or go hiking on a nature trail.
The sights and sounds of nature offer endless inspiration for some amazing tattoo designs. Trees, birds, plants, water, rocks, flowers, fish, animals, and insects are all excellent sources of inspiration for some really cool tattoo ideas.
I suggest either bringing a pencil/drawing paper or a camera to capture sights that you think would translate well into body art.
Tattoo Designs to Avoid
I’m not your dad so I’m certainly not going to tell you what tattoo to get or not to get. But I will give you a few suggestions to keep in mind.
Trends come, but most importantly trends go. When it comes to designing your next tattoo, I highly recommend staying true to your hobbies, special interests, or beliefs.
It’s best to avoid tattoos that are inspired by pop culture or current events. Sure your tattoo might be relevant for a year or two, but in 10 years from now nobody is going to know or care what your tattoo means.
Let me be clear, portrait tattoos can be fucking awesome. If they are done by a highly skilled tattoo artist that specializes in portrait tattoos.
The problem is that most tattoo artists aren’t skilled enough to perform life-like portraits. What’s worse is that most of these artist won’t tell you that they aren’t the best person for the job.
So unless you’re willing to find a highly skilled — and highly expensive — tattoo artist to create your portrait tattoo for you, I suggest you avoid getting one.
Things that are funny or humorous tend to be short lived. While getting a tattoo of a funny meme might elicit a few laughs in the short run, it’s absolutely going to lose its humor and meaning in the long run.
Imagine your parents or grandparents trying to explain their Chia Pet tattoo, or what their, “Where’s the Beef?” tattoo means.
Future you is not going to appreciate having to end every conversation about their tattoos having to say, “you had to be there.”