Exploring Tattoo Design For Ink Lovers

Fact-checked by Layla Varela
Updated on: July 10, 2023

Tattoo design has become one of the most popular forms of self-expression, and with the wide variety of styles and designs available, the possibilities are endless. So whether you are looking for inspiration for your next design, tattoos can be a fantastic source of stimulation because of the multiple styles and intentions they may have.

So, let's dive into the exciting world of tattoo design for ink lovers!

Art of Tattooing

Tattooing is an incredible art form that involves creating permanent designs on the skin. Each tattoo design is unique and personal. Each tattoo could tell an important story to the person wearing it, being a cultural tradition of ancestors too, or just an aesthetic way to modify the skin. Tattoo artists use various techniques, including line work, shading, and color blending, to create all kinds of designs. It is a form of self-expression allowing people to carry their memories, beliefs, and aspirations wherever they go, and it is a cultural art held in the body. Whether you are doing a small, simple design or a full-sleeve tattoo, the art of tattooing offers endless possibilities for creativity and self-discovery.

A Bite of Tattoo’s History

Tattooing has a rich and fascinating history that spans thousands of years and countless cultures worldwide. From ancient Egypt to Polynesia to modern-day Western societies, tattooing has played a significant role in human culture and expression. Over time, tattooing has evolved and adapted, reflecting society's changing values and beliefs. Today, tattoos are more popular than ever, with people from all walks of life using this ancient art form to express themselves and leave their mark on the world.

Tattoo Desing

Antique symbolism in Tattoos

  • Therapeutic or curative
  • Tribal Mark
  • Identification and humiliation
  • Guild identification
  • Magic and Religious
  • Pain and Mourning


In Egypt, women used to tattoo deities, especially the eye of the god Horus, as a magical ritual and a form of protection. They believed that by tattooing their skin, they could get pregnant more efficiently and have a child with peace of mind. The most common tattoos used by Egyptian women were lotus flowers, protective eyes, baboons, and cows. Men also wore tattoos as a symbol of status and power.


​​Around the 5th century in Japan, tattoos were used to mark criminals and thieves. Then in 1842, they were banned by Emperor Matsuhito, so the Japanese tattoo artists migrated to the United States to continue their work. 

Organizations, such as the Yakuza Mafia, used tattoos to symbolize belonging to the organization; these tattoos were made in non-visible places and with highly toxic pigments that could cause death. 


In India, temporary tattoos with beautiful and detailed designs made with Henna are traditional; women tattoo their hands and feet for the ritual ceremony of marriage. The designs are related to good luck, love, prosperity, happiness, fertility, and protection. These tattoos are 3 to 7 days long.


At the time of the Holocaust, the Nazi party marked Jews with tattoos to identify them with numbers and also as a form of humiliation since their religion and its sacred scriptures do not allow them to tattoo their skin.


Ta Moko is a permanent tattoo that the Maoiries wear carved on their face. It is a tribal tattoo that gives status to the wearer and is originally from Polynesian sailors. Ta Moko is done as a ritual from an early age and is also associated with beauty. These tattoos can be on other body parts, such as the buttocks, thighs, neck, back, calves, and belly.


In the U.S., some Amerindian Indian peoples used to wear animal tattoos on their skin permanently or temporarily to give status to their Indian chiefs and also with spiritual connotations. Furthermore, American sailors also had symbolic tattoos, such as swallows, which augured a good return and a safe voyage;  some ship symbols, such as anchors and knots. As a patriotic symbol, the eagle and pin-ups were very popular among sailors.

Some Tattoo Desing Styles to Take a Look

There are countless styles of tattooing to explore, each with its unique aesthetic and history. So whether you are looking for a bold, traditional design or a delicate, fine-line tattoo, there is a style that will suit your tastes. In this discussion, we will explore some of the most popular and interesting tattoo styles, along with famous artists making waves in the tattooing world.

Tattoo Desing
  1. Traditional (American) tattooing: Traditional tattooing is characterized by bold, bright colors and designs, often featuring images such as anchors, eagles, and roses. Famous artists in this style include Sailor Jerry, Don Ed Hardy, and Bert Grimm.
  1.  Traditional (Japanese) tattooing: Japanese tattooing is called horimono or irezumi. It is known for its elaborate designs and use of large, colorful images of classic Japanese art, such as koi fish, cherry blossoms, dragons, peacocks, and gods. Famous artists in this style include Horiyoshi III, Shige, and Horitomo.
  1. Black and grey tattooing: Black and grey tattooing uses a limited palette of black and shades of grey to create designs that often feature realistic images such as portraits, animals, and skulls. Famous artists in this style include Jack Rudy and Chuey Quintanar.
Tattoo Desing
  1. Watercolor tattooing: Watercolor tattooing is a relatively new style that uses vibrant colors and loose brushstrokes to create designs that look like they were painted on the skin. Famous artists in this style include Ondrash and Eric Cantu.
  1. Fine line tattooing: Fine line tattooing uses thin, delicate lines to create intricate designs that often feature geometric shapes, botanicals, or minimalist images. Famous artists in this style include Dr. Woo, Nando, and JonBoy.
  1. Dotwork tattooing: Dotwork tattooing uses small dots or stippling to create intricate designs that often feature geometric shapes or patterns. Famous artists in this style include Chaim Machlev, Thomas Hooper, and Roxx.
  1. Realism tattooing: Realism tattooing aims to create designs that look like realistic photographs, often featuring portraits or images of animals. Famous artists in this style include Robert Hernandez and Steve Butcher, 

Tips for  your tattoo designs

First and foremost, always prioritize safety and hygiene in the tattooing process, and never be afraid to ask for help or advice from more experienced artists.

  1. Develop your own style: While it's important to be adaptable and able to create a range of styles, developing your own unique style can set you apart from other tattoo artists. Experiment with different methods and find what feels most natural to you.
  1. Communicate with your clients: Effective communication is vital in the tattoo design process. Take the time to understand your client's vision and choices, and work with them to develop a design they will love.
  1. Use reference materials: When designing a tattoo, it can be helpful to use reference materials such as pictures or illustrations to ensure accuracy and provide inspiration. Please, avoid copying other artists' work and always give credit.
  1. Pay attention to composition: A well-composed tattoo can make all the difference in the final result. Consider the tattoo's placement on the body and how the design will flow with the curves and contours of the skin. Also, consider skin tone and subtone to choose the right color palette.
  1. Keep practicing: As with any art form, practice makes perfect. Continuously work on your design skills and experiment with new techniques to continue growing as an artist.

You can become a successful and respected tattoo artist with hard work, dedication, and a commitment to learning and growing.

Some digital apps you might use in the Tattoo designing process

When it comes to designing tattoos, several apps can help you create your own custom designs. These apps offer a variety of features, from drawing tools and image libraries to templates and design inspiration. Let's see some of the more often apps used in tattooing. 



One popular design app is Procreate, a digital art app that can be used on iPads. It offers a wide range of brushes and tools that can be used for drawing and designing tattoos. The app's layer management feature allows for easy experimentation and refinement of designs. Procreate also offers a time-lapse recording feature, which can help create videos of your design process. Additionally, the app allows for easy export of designs in a variety of formats, making it simple to share your work with clients or other artists.

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Another excellent tattoo design app is Adobe Illustrator, a vector-based design software that can be used on desktop and mobile devices. It offers a variety of tools and features that can help you create precise and detailed designs, and it allows you to export your designs in various formats for use in tattoo stencils, it is one of the most often software used in tattoo designing, and design in general.

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Tattoo Designs and Ideas

If you're looking for an app that focuses on tattoo design, several options are also available. One popular app is Tattoo Designs and Ideas, which offers a large library of tattoo designs and ideas for inspiration. You can browse the designs, save your favorites, and share them with friends. The app also includes a feature for creating your own designs using various tools and fonts. It also allows you to create and save custom designs for future reference.

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Clip Studio Paint

Is an excellent choice available for Mac Ox and Microsoft Windows for tattoo designers who want a powerful and versatile digital tool for creating their designs. It offers a wide range of customizable brushes, including those that mimic traditional painting tools and vector tools for creating precise and scalable projects. The software's 3D modeling capabilities can help designers create realistic and practical designs that fit around the body's contours. Additionally, the layer management feature allows for easy experimentation and refinement of designs. 

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Ink Hunter

Think before you ink is the Slogan of  Ink Hunther, the app that allows you to try out tattoo designs in augmented reality using your phone's camera. Simply select a design outline or the design from the app's library or upload your own, then point your camera at the area where you want the tattoo. The app will superimpose the design onto your skin, allowing you to see how it will look in real life. This app is super helpful to tattoo artists to show their work on the skin before inking.

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Tattoo Stencil: 

​This app allows you to create stencils for your tattoo designs, which can be helpful in transferring the design onto the skin. Simply upload your design to the app, adjust the size and placement, and the app will generate a stencil that can be printed out and used during the tattooing process. It is perfect for tattoo artists to use at conventions and events. It is available on Apple Store and Google Play.


Entering the world of tattooing is not easy, but developing your talents as a tattoo designer is a good way to start your career as a tattoo artist. ¿How about improving your knowledge and skills with a Procreate Course or Clip Studio Paint Course?How about improving your knowledge and skills with a Procreate or Clip Studio Paint course? You can also take an Illustrator course to learn how to vectorize your Stencils.

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What should I consider before getting a tattoo?

Before getting a tattoo, consider the design's meaning and significance, the placement on your body, the artist's expertise, and the safety and hygiene of the tattoo studio.

How can I ensure the longevity and vibrancy of my tattoo?

Taking care of your tattoo after getting inked is crucial for its longevity and vibrancy. Following your tattoo artist's aftercare instructions, avoiding direct sunlight, and using tattoo-friendly moisturizers can help maintain its appearance.

Can tattoos have therapeutic or cultural significance?

Yes, tattoos have diverse cultural and therapeutic significance. They have been used historically for tribal identification, guild membership, protection, magical rituals, and to mark significant life events like marriage and mourning.

Are there any specific cultural considerations for tattoos?

Yes, tattoos can have cultural significance, and respecting and understanding their meaning in different cultures is essential. For example, some cultures may view specific tattoo designs as sacred or spiritually significant.

Camila Marcelo is an experienced online education content creator with over 7 years developing engaging videos and written content on technology. She employs proven teaching methodologies to make complex topics understandable for diverse learners. Camila is passionate about democratizing access to digital skills through emerging tech and optimized instructional design.
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