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I’ve been designing my own tattoos for over a year now. I might be starting a tattoo apprenticeship soon, so I’m practicing drawing tattoo design more. What do you think?

I’ve been designing my own tattoos for over a year now. I might be starting a tattoo apprenticeship soon, so I’m practicing drawing tattoo design more. What do you think?

I’ve been designing my own tattoos for over a year now. I might be starting a tattoo apprenticeship soon, so I’m practicing drawing tattoo design more. What do you think? from TattooDesigns

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43 Comments

  1. critiques: the top of the dagger is pretty solid, the blade looks a little lumpy, and kinda looks like legs (calves and thighs) if that was intentional, kudos. the snake is pretty rough, the scales are really inconsistent, and the width of the snake varies way too much, the snake is also a bit right heavy so it makes the image less balanced. personally, I’d also play with the positioning of the scales so it felt like the snake was more fluid/ moving around the blade rather than a flat strip design. I’d also think about bringing part of the snake over the blade, so it’s not just an image on top of another image, it’ll help unify the imagery.

  2. Try making use of the ratio of small:medium:large. Based on your design, the body of the snake and the dagger are top heavy. It would look visually interesting as well if there appears to be dimension in the snake, turn its head forwards or at a 3/4 angle facing left. I suggest to make the dagger a little bit thinner and longer, pointier at the edge. Since the face of the snake is at the right, it would make it balanced if the tail ends on the left too! Hope this helps

  3. I would make the dagger thinner and longer. Then layer a section of the snake over it so it looks like it’s “wrapped” around the dagger.

  4. Not bad, but keep practicing specific comps and themes and you should improve. Snake body has a lot of wonk in the contour. Draw more snakes. The style is fine, but also need to work on your lines and precision, the smaller details are getting lost, and I don’t think ink on skin will help those areas.

  5. When drawing trad, try make everything consistent over the whole design, the belly scales should all follow the same curve and be the same width apart, the body should be also the same width. Look online and really study hard why other peoples trad tattoos look really good and some just look like trash, there are a lot of rules to follow when it comes to the style

    A good exercise for drawing snakes is get Blu-tak or a putty of some kind that holds it shape and make a sausage out of it, flatten the bottom of it to make a belly and bend it to interesting shapes and draw quick 5 min poses of it.

    Another thing is ditch the ipad and get a sketch book and only use the ipad for final designs. Draw small thumbnails of design ideas, it’s harder to get natural feeling designs on an ipad and its a huge mistake I see all beginner artists make. Drawing small also let’s you erase parts and fix the design easier rather than having to fix a huge area, it also doesn’t demotivate you as much if an idea doesn’t work that you only spent 5 minutes on rather than an hour
    If you draw 100 small 5 to 10 minute flash designs and redraw the final versions it’ll be really strong for your portfolio

    Also more more more, you will never ever draw too much, keep going

  6. I have plenty of ink on me, but I’m far from smart on this – genuine question out of curiosity – wouldn’t it be better to do this on paper since you have to develop the skill of drawing it on someone’s skin? I could be out to lunch on that, no idea. Like I said, just out of curiosity.

  7. Hi. Keep up the work. Draw every single day. But try paper more. Also painting approximates tattooing more. Definitely if you want to become a traditional artist. I’m an apprentice myself. Make yourself a nice big book with your work and look for a quality shop. Please don’t become a garage tattoo artist.

  8. You’re only as good as youre reference. Google image search old versions of the image you’re wanting to draw and put it on the page you’re drawing on in an under layer. Use procreate. Keep drawing.

  9. I like it! I agree with the other criticisms so far but I think you did well using layers and symmetry tools to help and I think your lines look good 🙂

  10. Most things have been said already, but I’ll say it might be worth looking at how the scales on the belly look quite unnatural at the fact they’re always on the same side. Snakes twist and bend so the belly twisting would make it feel less static.

  11. Snakes bodies don’t work like that.

    You should look at some reference pictures to see how the scales lay when their body twists and turns.

    Looking at the belly, there’s no way it would be that straight as it twisted around a dagger because their muscles just don’t work like that.

  12. You need much more solid drawing skills in general. I can’t tell if this was supposed to be stylized or realistic, but it’s neither. Start over, get a basic course on drawing skills, practice practice practice.

  13. I recommend varying your line weight more to prevent the composition from becoming muddy, generally using larger line weights for outlines and smaller for detail. Don’t do it just subtlety, really go for a distinct difference, it’ll read clearer. Next, practice creating more dynamic and clear silhouettes. If you were to black out the whole design, is it interesting? If you cross your eyes is it still generally legible? This will help you plan for how it’ll age in the long term. Study how other tattoo artists use shapes to simplify designs, there’s nothing wrong with copying as long as you realize you’re doing it to *study*. In classical art training people often try to mimic masterpieces in order to pick up new techniques, I’ve found it helpful w tattooing as well

  14. Personally, i would wrap the snake around the sword(the same figure, you just put the snake behind the sword here instead of “around” the sword). Now, I feel like the snake is too hidden for it to be of significance honestly.

  15. A lot of good feedback, just wanted to add that not everything needs to be symmetrical. The shape of the dagger sure, however the two marks on the blade and the crosshatching on the handle definitely shouldn’t be.

  16. The snakes weight kinda fluctuates. One trick I use is to made ur pen size really big and just draw an S, then follow that outline for the body! That way it’s the same thickness the whole way through

  17. I’d recommend getting a pencil and some paper and practicing that way. Tablets are nice for seasoned tattoo artists and make drawing easier, but these artists also paid their dues by spending hundreds of hours sketching with pencil and paper to solidify some basics of drawing. Just a thought!