Is it rude to design your own tattoos?
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Is it rude to design your own tattoo? Don’t do these 5 things!

This is a common question that often comes up concerning tattoo design. Many people have an idea for a tattoo but are worried to approach a tattoo artist with it. They wonder, is it rude to design your own tattoo?

It isn’t rude to design your own tattoo. It’s important to get a tattoo that has meaning for you. However, not all designs can be tattooed and not all tattooists want to use someone else design so you will need to be flexible. An artist will work with you and won’t be offended by your request.


Whether or not a tattooist will get offended or can or will use your design is down to several factors. If you understand how to approach the situation you have more chance of getting the tattoo you want and not upsetting your artist.

Is it rude to design your own tattoo?

It isn’t rude to design your own tattoo and approach your artist with it. Tattooists are very used to this. Many people want to get involved with the tattoo process and have an idea in their head which they get down on paper. This is great as you are fully channelling your tattoo from a thought to a realised piece of art. It will have more meaning for you.

However, if you are worried about coming across as rude there are some things you need to bear in mind so as not to piss your tattooist off.

Several factors come into play when you approach a tattooist with your design. These are…

  • Your flexibility
  • Your drawing skill level
  • The style the tattoo artist normally works in.

Let’s look at these individually

Will Tattoo Artists Tattoo Your own drawing? Maybe, if you are flexible. It’s not rude to ask though…

How flexible you are with your tattoo design.

If you come into a consultation with some sketches and ideas most artists will welcome this. This gives them a good idea of what you want and something to work from.

However, if you come in with a fully finalised design that you are very rigid about tattooing exactly the same you may run into trouble.

The problem is that drawings don’t transfer exactly onto the skin as they are on paper.

Part of the skill of a tattooist is knowing what will work well as a tattoo and what will age well.

Often, a clients design will not take these things into account. For example, you may have small elements that are too close to each other.

The tattooist will know that in two years those elements are going to close up and blur if they tattoo it the way you have drawn it. Then their name will be on a poor tattoo.

So they will want to make adjustments to the design to prevent that. If you aren’t flexible about the design you may come across as rude by discounting the tattooists knowledge of how tattoos work.

If you have the flexibility you will be able to collaborate with your tattooist to create a design you are both happy with.

Your tattoo drawing skill level

This is a really awkward and uncomfortable area for most tattooists. We have all had someone approach us with a tattoo design drawing they were really proud of. But the truth was that the drawing was terrible and we have had to tell the client we couldn’t do it.

It’s awful to have to tell someone their drawing is no good and most tattooists hate doing it. Having your art criticised is really upsetting for most people, especially if you have spent a lot of time drawing it.

Artists have to be honest when in this situation. Please don’t be offended by it. However, take their comments on board and don’t demand they tattoo it exactly as you have drawn it. That would be rude.

The bottom line is that a tattooist is judged on producing professional work.

If the drawing isn’t up to the professional standard we can’t put it on your skin.

An artist’s tattoos are an advertisement for their work so a poor quality drawing will reflect badly on them. They aren’t trying to be an asshat about it. They just have to protect their reputation.

If your drawing isn’t up to scratch an artist may be able to work with you to polish it up to the standard they would be happy to tattoo so that you can still get the tattoo design you want.

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The style the tattoo artist normally works in.

Tattoo artists are not all the same. Some tattooists are happy to work across a lot of different styles and have a lot of flexibility in the kinds of tattoos they create.

However, other tattooists specialise in one particular style. This is usually a style of artwork that they draw themselves and that they have come to be known for doing.

It’s easy to work out what your tattooist does. Go to their Instagram account and look at the work they show.

Does it range across different types of tattoos or is it all similar in style? This will give you a good idea of the kind of tattoos they produce.

If they have a recognised style they like to stick to, they are unlikely to want to tattoo your design if it’s different from their own.

However, they may be open to redesigning it in their own particular tattoo style so it’s a good idea to be open to that.

A tattooist who works across a range of styles may be more open to working with your own design.

Tattoo Design Don’ts

  • Demand the tattoo is created exactly as you have drawn it
  • Ask an artist to copy someone else tattoo
  • Be offended if the artist doesn’t want to tattoo your artwork
  • Demand an artist does work in a style that they don’t normally do
  • Be a jerk about it

Tattoo Design Do’s

  • Understand that not everything will work as a tattoo
  • Be flexible
  • Understand that some artists have their own style and won’t tattoo anything else
  • Understand that some tattoos won’t work in certain placements
  • Work with your artist to come up with a design
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Is it okay to bring your own design to a tattoo artist?

Tattoo artists are used to people bringing their own tattoo designs. If you are flexible and work with the tattoo artist they won’t mind you bringing a design in to them. It may be helpful for them to see what you want as a starting point for discussion about style.

Will tattoo artists tattoo your own drawing?

Tattoo artists will sometimes tattoo your own drawing. However, it depends on how flexible you are about what you want. The tattoo artist may not want to do it if the design isn’t good enough or if it is a different style to what they normally work in. Work with your artist to get a design you love.

Conclusion – Is it rude to design your own tattoo?

It isn’t rude to design your own tattoo. Most artists will be happy to see what you have designed.

It’s also OK to take a design in that you like to show the artist. They may use to as a basis for their own design.

You need to have a lot of flexibility and work closely with your tattoo artist to create a tattoo design that you are both happy with.

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