How to create your tattoo style?
Find an original style without copying
27 December 2022
Reaching a style as an artist is one of the most complex tasks in the world of tattooing because it requires a lot of knowledge, and experience.
Recognizing your tattoos by how they look takes time.
Of course, creating your style is the most fun part because you can decide what you want in your tattoos and how you want to focus your career.
Do you want to know more? Let's go into detail.
Style cannot be forced, it appears after years and experience.
That is why, especially for beginners, it is better to first consolidate an excellent basic knowledge of tattooing, and learn different styles so that, little by little, you can build your identity as a tattoo artist.
With a good knowledge base about tattooing, it is possible to play and experiment much better because you will have the tools to work freely.
Let's see some important points to keep in mind.
How to define your style
As an artist, you can’t forget that you also offer a product to catch other people’s attention. This is not a bad thing.
On the contrary, thinking about it this way is an incentive to look for something original that represents you, which has not been done before, and to take the styles you like the most and adapt them to your own way.
The job will be to improve until you can detect those elements that distinguish you.
A very useful exercise for this is asking yourself questions such as:
What styles I’m more interested in and why? What is the most striking thing about each one of them?
Do I prefer to tattoo with black or colour inks?
How are my strokes? Do I prefer thick strokes or fine lines?
This will help you select what interests you most in a clear and practical way, and it will become a guide when creating your designs.
Write the answers on paper and make a score with the most critical elements.
On the other hand, how much time do you dedicate to drawing? Tattooing is not about puncturing people just because. If not, it requires a lot of training, and drawing is essential.
Drawing also exercises your eyesight, so you will discover what you are best at doing and what you love to design the most. To know more about this, read our article Learn to draw for tattooing.
How do you know when you have found your style?
Well, your tattoos will start being more and more similar, and not for lack of creativity, but because without you realizing it will be more comfortable with a specific type of stroke, a range of colors, a type of tattoo, techniques, etc.
The style that will characterize you as a professional is the one you will form with your tastes and preferences.
Suppose you dedicate the necessary time and effort to practice. In that case, you will see that your clients will start asking you to tattoo your designs on them, which is a very positive thing.
Some tattoo artists no longer tattoo designs apart from their own. However, this depends on the preferences and needs of each artist.
The challenge lies in creativity and the possibility of adapting the designs in innovative and personal ways. You need to understand that what you can offer must be different. It needs to stand out.
Each person is unique and unrepeatable. Therefore, we invite you to have an introspection moment to work and capture what makes you different from others in your tattoos.
Getting inspired vs Copying: what you can and can’t do
You need to know the difference: getting inspired and copying are just very different things.
Have you ever heard that “all artists steal”? Or that “everything is already invented”? Well, there is partly true.
Taking colleagues' work as inspiration is fine, as long as you know how to apply it in your own way and make something new and different out of it. But if you just copy and steal someone else's designs, I'm afraid that's not right. It's VERY WRONG (and yes, we're telling you in all caps as if we were shouting, to be precise).
There is something called copyright, which refers to the author's rights. Every published artistic creation is copyrighted, and this is something sacred that must always be respected, regardless of when you read this article.
Not copying and just inspiring you takes a lot of time. There is one exception to the rule: when it’s part of the practice. It's not wrong to copy a design, especially if you're a beginner.
There are templates specially designed for this type of use, such as “Flash” tattoos. Although many artists design their own Flash tattoos, you can buy stencils pre-designed for beginners.
If you want to know more about this, read our post Flash Tattoo, tattoos in a short time.
But remember, never copy another artist's work.
The work of another has value and merit, and you need to see this. The artist probably spent a lot of time and practice to develop a unique design, so you don't want to go overboard with it.
Inspiration is not copying. It is openness to creativity. It is transforming something to make it your own, giving it your hallmark with elements representing you.
Don't compare yourself with other artists
For any artist, whatever their branch is, taking the work of others as a reference is healthy and essential. But be careful not to be a victim of comparison because you might get the opposite effect.
Many confuse taking inspiration with willing to look like it, which is incorrect. Every tattoo artist takes very different paths because their stories are different as they are different people.
Understanding that there are no better or worse paths is essential for your growth and safety as an artist. Everyone's possibilities are unique, and it is almost impossible to say that there is just one “correct” way to be a tattoo artist.
So, don't panic and forget about comparisons, which often leads to frustration and stagnancy.
Tattoo artist-client relationship
Having good relationships and being kind to customers will make you stand out from other artists, not just for your innovative designs.
It is crucial to remember that tattooing does not consist only of making a drawing and that's it. Big mistake. Your client entrusts their body to you to print your work on it forever. So be considerate and treat them as you’d like to be treated.
Tattooing involves money, but many other factors come into play. That is why a certain kind of connection is necessary and, above all, to provide trust. You will learn this over time.
A good deal is also part of good business development, and it is not enough to be a good artist. The client spends many hours with you, and the tattoo ultimately becomes an experience.
We’ll tell you more about this in the article Tattoo artist-client relationship: red flags and tips. You must know how to become an excellent professional.
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