How to Draw Cool Tattoos Step-by-Step

Written by izzy barden
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How to Draw Cool Tattoos Step-by-Step
Take your time when designing your own tattoo. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Drawing and designing your own tattoos can help make them more personal and unique. Almost anyone can design a simple tattoo, but some artistic abilities will be necessary as the designs become more detailed. Before you start drawing, you should consider the appropriate size of and placement for the tattoo. It doesn't have to be perfect, (as an artist can easily scale the image larger or smaller), but you should have a general idea.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Thin black marker
  • Blank white paper
  • Masking tape
  • Stencil paper (tracing paper)
  • Tattoo stencil pencil

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  1. 1

    Determine the approximate size of the tattoo and designate a portion of the blank white paper for the design.

  2. 2

    Sketch the outline of the design with your regular pencil. Use light strokes, as you might make mistakes that you will need to completely erase. Don't worry about shading or incorporating colours -- just draw the rough outline.

  3. 3

    Trace over the rough pencil outline with your thin black marker. Be sure every line is exactly how you want it before you begin this step -- once you start tracing in black you will need to start from scratch, if you find an uncorrected mistake. Again, do not shade or colour.

  4. 4

    Flip the paper over and copy the black lines onto the reverse side of the page. This is necessary, since it will be this reverse image that is stencilled so it will lay frontwards on your skin. Do this in a well-lit area to ensure the lines show through. If you don't have a tracing desk, a normal desk under a bright lamp will suffice.

  5. 5

    Tape a portion of stencil paper over the reverse image of the design so the papers will not slide apart when tracing. Unnecessary motion can cause mistakes and you might need to start over with a fresh piece of stencil paper.

  6. 6

    Trace the image onto the stencil paper using a tattoo stencil pencil. Be conservative with the amount of pressure you use, as this paper can rip easily, but each line should be clear and pronounced.

  7. 7

    Give the stencil to your tattoo artist and allow him to make subtle corrections or alterations as the artist will always know best how a stencil should look before application.

  8. 8

    Allow the artist to shave the area to be tattooed and to wipe it down with a stencil solution or glycerine-based deodorant to help the stencil ink stick to your skin.

  9. 9

    Hold the ink side of the stencil against your skin and press firmly for at least 10 seconds before removing. If the image did not transfer completely (or to the artists liking), the ink should wiped off with alcohol and a brand new stencil may be necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • If you want to colour the image or shade it so the artist can use your exact picture as a guide, make the appropriate alterations to your original picture after you've made the stencil.
  • Tattoos are permanent, so make sure every detail is exactly how you want it before applying the stencil. This will help ensure that you will get a tattoo you'll love forever.

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