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Getting new tattoo ideas can be truly incredible, but coming up with pretty difficult.

No matter whether you’re getting a tattoo to commemorate something important, to honor a loved one or simply because you like a particular theme, it’s essential to spend some time considering what you want and where you want it.


On my blog, I’m dedicated to helping tattoo clients make the most out of their studio experience and find a piece that’ll make them smile for the rest of their life. To help you out with generating a great idea for your next piece, I’ve handpicked some of my top tips on coming up with unique concepts for tattoo projects.

It’s important to consider why you’re getting a tattoo

The best way to kickstart the idea generation process is to consider why you’re getting a tattoo in the first place. What made you want to get one, or to head back into the studio to get another piece done? Reflecting on this can be truly helpful.

Contrary to popular belief, not every tattoo has to have a deeply symbolic meaning. While some people certainly get them to honor loved ones who’ve passed away or important milestones in their lives, other people might get them simply to make themselves feel more confident or to encapsulate a favorite style of art.

Whatever your reasoning, it’s absolutely valid. Just make sure to reflect on it, perhaps jotting down a few reasons so you can scribble out some ideas. Writing down your thought process can be truly helpful for making sense of your ideas.

If you’re unsure about the meaning and why you’re leaning towards a particular piece, the most common reasons that people opt for tattoos is;

⦁ To match the tattoo of a loved one
⦁ To commemorate a loved one
⦁ To feel cool/match an aesthetic
⦁ To honor a key milestone
⦁ To replicate a favorite art piece/style
⦁ To reclaim their body
⦁ To commit to a goal or promise e.g. people going straight edge

Of course, this list is not exhaustive and there’s no wrong reason for getting a tattoo. Spend some time going over what makes you passionate about getting a tattoo, and it’ll help you to narrow down what sorts of themes that you’re looking to get.

Surrounding yourself with art can be very helpful

Make sure to keep yourself visually stimulated while coming up with ideas for a new tattoo. I would recommend heading over to Pinterest as a starting point, and pulling together a moodboard to drum up some new ideas.

Tattoo magazines can also be a great source of inspiration when you’re brainstorming for a new piece. They often feature a mix of upcoming artists and studios alongside established, long-term studios so you’ll be able to see the best of the best.

Do make sure that you’re not asking your artist to directly rip off another artist’s work, though. Not only is this unethical towards the original artist and client, it can also be disrespectful towards your artist as well. Taking along a piece from another artist is great as a point of inspiration, but not as a point of reference.

Social media platforms like Instagram are packed full of incredible artists to draw inspiration from, too. Not only is there a thriving tattoo community there, there’s also an exceptional illustration and graphic design community there, too.

Other sources of inspirations can be museums and galleries, pop culture and treasured items like family heirlooms. Fill your brain up with different points of reference and keep a note of them, in the form of a visual moodboard or even journal.

Make sure to find an artist that aligns with your personal tastes in art

While your artist doesn’t have to have the exact same taste as you in when it comes to your tattoos, it does help to have someone who values the same things as you and draws from the same sources of inspiration.

Before heading over to a studio, make sure to go through your artist’s portfolio and double check their work. What styles do they do? Are there any running themes? Do they offer up art that you’d be happy to have on your body? Spend a good while sitting with their portfolio, and make sure to jot down any questions that you’d like to ask them, too.


Deciding whether you want color or not can make all the difference

While the color vs blackwork debate might not be something that you immediately think of when you’re planning out your tattoos, it is a pointer that you’ll need to spend some time going over and evaluating at some point.

Knowing whether you’re going to get bright colors, thin lines or heavy black shading can make a huge difference to your final piece. It can also limit which artists you can work with and the placement of your tattoo, which can all interact with your idea generation process when you’re trying to come up with new tattoo concepts.

Of course, picking one over the other doesn’t mean that you can never go back to the other. Plenty of people mix and match between color and monotone style tattoos, with some folk choosing to do just their arms in color and legs in blackwork, for example. Others simply mix it up with their sleeves and feature both.


Taking this one step further, some people also choose to go over old tattoos with blastover style work e.g. heavy blackwork over color, and sometimes white tattoos over blackwork areas for added effect. These types of tattoo projects are long term commitments, of course.

It’s not a limiting factor, but is worth considering when you’re coming up with ideas for your next piece. This is especially true if you already have any tattoos, as you’ll need to decide whether you want them to match styles or contrast.

Make sure to book in a consultation with your chosen studio

As noted in the section about surrounding yourself with artwork and inspiration, having reference materials to inspire you is very important. It’s even more important to book in a consultation to chat with your artist, to make sure that your ideas are feasible and that your artist can carry them out accurately.
Consultations are offered by almost every studio, so don’t be afraid to drop your artist a message and enquire about one. They’re free, and often don’t take up too much time. It’s a great way to see if you’re a fan of the studio setting and the general environment, too.

Once you’re at a consultation, you can go through your desired ideas with your artist and chat about what you’re inspired by. Your artist will be able to take your ideas and turn them into sketches, or guide you towards something more realistic.


Make sure to triple check your spelling when drawing

If you’re including any sort of script in your tattoo concepts or ideas, make sure to always triple check the spelling. Even if it’s a phrase, name or word that you say/see every day, it’s important to be absolutely sure that you’ve got the spelling down.

Moreover, make sure to triple check any translations if you’re getting a tattoo in a different language. Even if it’s a language that you’re familiar with, it’s always good to get someone else to verify that what you’ve put together comes across in the tone that you want it to.

Consider your readability when sketching out a script idea, too. It’s all well and good putting together a fancy, flowing script that looks lovely on paper, but you need to consider whether people can actually read it when looking at it, too. Elaborate script tattoos can be jaw-dropping, but they require a skilled hand to make them perfectly readable.

Look into different kinds of symbolism

Finally, a great place to draw inspiration from when you’re coming up with great ideas for your next tattoo is specific categories of symbolism and representation. Literal tattoos can be wicked, but tattoos with a deeper level of meaning can carry a lot of weight.

Getting someone’s name as a tattoo is cool, but getting a unique tattoo that represents their personality and meaning in your life can be utterly magical.

A great place to start is different symbolic ‘languages’ like the Victorian language of flowers. If you want to get a tattoo that represents a friend, why not pick a flower that represents something you love and admire about them? It’ll still be beautiful to anyone viewing it, but carry a deeper level of weight when you look at it.

Work with me to create your tattoo today

All in all, spending some time on your tattoo ideas can make an absolute world of difference when you’re looking to get your next piece.

If you’re in the Tucson area in AZ, why not stop by the studio? I would love to help you out with finding inspiration for your next piece. Feel free to book a consultation, or drop me a message here to learn more about what I could do for you.Best Tattoo Ideas, photo of left arm with tattoo

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