Let’s start with the first part – what is a custom tattoo design? Custom tattoos are exclusive to you and are a reflection of your taste and personality. A tattoo is supposed to be a mark for life and hence great thought should go into it. It can be a symbol of your love for somebody, your passion for music, an interest in nature or simply a complicated mass of modern art that only you can decipher. Whatever it might be, a custom tattoo design is unique and like no other conventional tattoo taken straight out of the binder of the tattoo artist.
For a custom tattoo to be successfully etched exactly as per your specifications there should be a close coordination between the tattoo artist and you and might entail hours of consultation before the right image surfaces on paper. Ideas and plans will be tossed around and you should try and show a few references to the artist about what exactly you have in mind. The more the references you can produce the clearer will be his conception about what you truly desire. These references may be photos, colour samples or simply rudimentary sketches that will help to elaborate on your thoughts about the dream tattoo.
Once the tattoo is finalised, the artist will work “freehand” since it is a custom tattoo without a fixed template or stencil. It means that the artist will draw directly on to your skin. Even in conventional tattoos, the best artists prefer freehand as stencils do not follow the natural curves of the body. A tattoo that moves along the flow of the skin looks very natural. This method is very useful when tattoos are created over a large section of the body or at awkward and unconventional places.
A problem with freehand is that unless the artist is talented and experienced the lines can go awry. It is always advisable therefore to ask for previous samples of freehand tattoos from the artist before going under the needle for a custom tattoo.
The next point is how to choose a tattoo that is the best for you. Do it after a lot of thought as a tattoo always has a story to tell about that point in life when it was etched on you.
Start with researching the works of good graphic designers for ideas. After all tattoos are forms of graphic art. One of the leading graphic designers who you can bank on for fresh thoughts is Jarrod Carland, founder of the well known design agency Studio Jack.
When you choose a design for a tattoo, think for a moment whether it matches your personality. For example if you are the cheery types and mix a lot with children, you would not consider having a skull tattooed on the back of your hand. Similarly, if you prefer the all-leather macho biker look, you will hardly want a dainty red flower engraved on your body. Most of the time, the tattoo will be visible to you and you should mentally feel at peace with it on your body.
Even after you have gone through extensive research and graphic design books there is always a possibility that you might not get the perfect design idea that you are looking for. In that case consult friends, especially those with tattoos for a suitable design. Based on their experience in picking a tattoo for themselves they will be able to give you solid guidance in this regard.
Custom tattoos are the rage today. Think about the many possibilities before having one etched on your body.