Custom Tattoo Design

What is Custom Tattoo Design and How to Choose One That’s Best for You

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.

Tattoo making

How to Start a Tattoo Shop

If you want to jump on to the tattoo bandwagon and cash in on the bountiful opportunities on offer, your first step would be to start a tattoo shop. However, it is easier said than done and you have to go through specific steps before you can hope to make it big in this field. It has to be remembered that tattooing is an intricate art and requires the craftsmanship of an expert to truly cater to the requirements of clients. Additionally, in the hands of untrained amateurs, it can lead to severe health problems and this can drag a tattoo shop owner into unwanted litigation at a later date. Hence it is always advisable to be careful and plug all the loopholes before you venture into this area.

What then are the specifics that you should look into before starting a tattoo shop?

Gain hands on knowledge – While it is true that you will be employing tattoo artists as you expand your business, it always pays to have hands on expertise. You can then be aware of even the smallest nuances of your business and get better control over it. There are many programmes that you can enrol in meant especially for budding tattoo artists. A good course that lasts between 12 to 24 months will help you greatly but it can be very expensive too. Treat this as an investment in your business and go ahead with the training. This experience will be crucial for you when you have expansion plans on the anvil in future.

A good location for your shop – Choose a good location for your shop. Pick on a place that has lots of traffic and pedestrians. A decision to have a tattoo is often taken at the spur of the moment and with a place like this, you are bound to get a lot of walk-in clients. Further, when people can see your business from the road, the impression will be tucked away in their minds for a visit at a later date. But remember, taking a shop on lease has its own legal complexities and you will do well to hire a commercial property lawyer to guide you in this regard.

Invest judiciously in equipment – Unless you have a big stash to ground your business, it’s always wise to start off with things that you need and add equipment as you expand, get more clients and hire more tattoo artists. Initially, you’ll need a tattoo gun, needles, transfers and furniture. This will include some for the lobby and some for the tattoo rooms. The chairs should be functional yet comfortable. The ambience should be relaxing enough to make your clients get over their primary fear of tattooing. So far as consumables like needle and ink is concerned, keep stocks low, maybe at two weeks level to avoid blocking your investment.

Advertising your shop – As in any business, this will be crucial for you. Have a good, attractive and user friendly website and have it SEO optimised to draw in traffic. Go for paid campaigns and opt for extensive publicity on social media platforms. Business cards and flyers too are an essential part of promotion and if your finances permit, book slots on radio and TV.

Go through these steps and starting a tattoo shop should not be too difficult for you.