Tattoo Art: How To Draw Tattoos To Sell

Drawing Tattoos To Be Tattooed

For awhile now I have been drawing tattoos for some local tattooist as well as selling them through ebay and this has proved quite a learning curve for my own art and how I create it.

First of all drawing your own tattoo could give you a discount if you hand over the tattoo with a few other related designs on what is called a tattoo flash sheet, a full sheet of A4 or A3 with anything from 3 to 8 or more tattoo designs, but remember you want to make it easier for the tattooist to actually apply the tattoos, so you have to supply the line work, as well as the coloured tattoo artwork and I find it best to laminate the sheets to not only protect the art, but it makes it look professional.

Really though with any tattoo art you draw and create, you need to make your art in sets, so that you can sell them in sets, as this is what the tattooists and tattoo collectors look for, as well as original and professional tattoos they cannot get anywhere else, so the customized tattoo is the best way of achieving this, if you can draw yourself, then why not try to make some money out of it.

When approaching a local tattooist, it is best to ask more questions about what tattoos sell? and what they are after, you'll find that they are more open to tell you as they have that knowledge through their weekly dealings with tattoo requests from clients, when you irst approach a tattoo artist you may nervous at first, but this usually disappears after a few meetings with them, after all you are trying to get your art out there and some of these will help spread your name if they like your work.

I've often got £30 to £40 for each set and I usually do them in no more than sets of five and some tattooists will tell you if the same tattoo sets appear down the road in another tattoo shop, then they won't buy any of your work again, so try to do two types of tattoo art, one that will be strictly one offs for your local tattooist and the other made to order limited editions that you can sell on ebay, you may need to print these all out or save them on disk and go and print a set when someone orders, my experience is that you need to provide a clear photo of what people will get when they buy and a description to back up your photo as in the beginning I did a couple of vague photos that people questioned with some feedback and this resulted in my art not selling, so I bought a better digital camera and did some better photos.

Don't have all the drawing pencils and art equipment you need? then check out - Drawing Art Supplies

Tribal Flash Sheet Example

Tribal Tattoos Sample Sheet Copyright Opengraphicdesign.com
Tribal Tattoos Sample Sheet Copyright Opengraphicdesign.com

Draw Then Sell Your Tattoo Art


So How To Draw A Tattoo

First things first, starting out with an idea helps and your idea has to be spread out as a theme for your full set, so as to make a well remembered set, you have to start to sketch and build a good series of tattoos.

Often times, I have drawn one tattoo, then cut it out and placed three large designs on one sheet of A3 and I'd probably do 2 of these and the other 3 in the set of 5 will be smaller tattoos, the mistake though is to rty and put lots of detail on your art, when in reality the designs need to be simplified, some tattooists will simplify a drawing down anyway, but if you make it easier for them, then they will be more likely to buy your artwork.

Once these sketches have been roughed out on paper, you need to black ink the designs to make them more clearer and to trace later on as you need to have the line work and the coloured work separate.

When it comes to colouring your flash sheets I colour them with felt tips and other coloured pencils like cheap Crayolas and Sharpie Markers and clean them up on the computer, add some effects to them if appropriate, although I don't have anything flash like photoshop yet, I do use other free software to add some basic effects, I use gimp, although I need to explore more of this free art software program(something for another hubpage perhaps) as it looks really good especially from what the professionals do with it, if you take a look at IDrawGirls.com which has some really good examples of Gimp produced art combined with other art software he uses...it's simple fantastic.

Then when done I number, sign and put a link to either my blog or some other web destination that shows some of my art at least, then I laminate the finished pieces and place them in my art folder until I sell them.

See how I drew a demonic tattoo idea on this hubpage - Drawing a Demonic Tattoo

I'll probably come back and do a full tutorial on how to draw what I explained here, but my scanner has gone to heaven and I'll have to get another one, although I could do a video!!

Make some money with your art and get paid to draw

One Of My Tattoo Drawings In Progress On Video

More by this Author


Drawing A Tattoo 68 comments

waynet profile image

waynet 4 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Ebay is your best bet for selling tattoo work!


linzi 4 years ago

this is really helpful i dont feel as terrified to approach the local tattoo shops now. however i was wondering if there is a website that could be recommended for me to try selling my work there. thanks


jiyjyu yjm 4 years ago

m 76uk


airplaneblues 4 years ago

Hi. I am starting to build a portfolio of tattoo art to hopefully sell and found your info on how to go about it very useful and insightful. Thought you were very generous with your time to help fellow artists progress in this field. Thanks for your advice.

Airplane


M.Stott 4 years ago

im looking for somebody to draw me a tattoo, will pay if required, will be a half sleeve, if anybody is interested please e-mail me on marcstott91@hotmail.co.uk thanx


ashutos 4 years ago

i like this web


lil momma 2008 profile image

lil momma 2008 5 years ago

Tattoo Art is so wicked! I love the art work in all tattoo graphics


Teakaboshawty profile image

Teakaboshawty 5 years ago from georgia

great work it looks so awesome


waynet profile image

waynet 6 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Okie kokie, cheers Ryan, will check out your work too.


ryan sharp 6 years ago

jenny doesn't draw all the designs give some credit to her artists , im one of them, my work is on there


waynet profile image

waynet 6 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers ShadoWind! I do plan on explaining in detail where to sell your tattoos and how to do it, through ebay for example.

Thanks!


ShadoWind profile image

ShadoWind 6 years ago

I've thought about drawing and selling tattoo designs before but never really known were to start with it, great article! :D


waynet profile image

waynet 6 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers now! Tattoos do cost a fair bit if they are big tattoos and have lots of colour in them, but people do pay for them and so there is a strong market for selling tattoos.


bladesofgrass profile image

bladesofgrass 6 years ago from The Fields of Iowa

Great Hub! I definitely respect the creativity,time, and effort that goes into an awesome tattoo. I finally got inked a year ago for the first time. The guy thought I was crazy when I told him what I wanted..since it goes halfway up my back and it was my first time. But I took it like a man and am now thinking of what I want to add to it. Thanks for sharing! :)


waynet profile image

waynet 6 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Thank you for your comment and I'll get to work on some more detailed information....


kazijamisima 6 years ago

Thank you,that is great!Stay well.


waynet profile image

waynet 6 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Hi there, your best bet is to sell them through ebay or another auction site.

I'll have a go at writing a more detailed guide soon, you've just given me an idea.

And also you could try tattoo shops to see if they will buy your designs off you and in time your own website or blog to display some art for sale.

Don't worry though I'll work on explaining some things in more detail.

Cheers now!


kazijamisima 6 years ago

Hallo.I am new in using internet and now i am traing to post my tattoo flash designs for sale.Please help me 'cos i am lost in a sea of an useless and complicated sites. Thank you in advance.Well, i gess this is not a comment -so let's make one.I been visiting tattoo sites and for some reason this sites are to complicated and meke you tired very fast so you really need a guide for this.


waynet profile image

waynet 6 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers Dale!

I have researched the tattoo niche and I have a few long tail keywords that are ace for promoting a load of tattoo hubpages, it's just writing them and drawing the pictures with them, but I like a challenge, so on with the show!

Oh and thanks for the blog mention too.

Cheers!


Dale Mazurek profile image

Dale Mazurek 6 years ago from Canada

What a great hub. As a marketer I did look at the tattoo niche but as you probably know it is a tough niche to break considering tattoos is one of the most searched words on the internet.

I love the angle you have choosen and I hope you do really well with it.

FYI, your hub is now posted up on my blog.

Cheers

Dale


faceman profile image

faceman 6 years ago

Keep up the good work.


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers now!

Yeah I think the volume does need tweaking, I've been testing out different sound combinations through different microphones and so I won't be using that one again, thanks for your comments!


spiel1221 7 years ago

I love your hub! It's just a great all around informative site.

Only problem I had was I can't hear you on your video very well - is it my computer, or does the volume need to be tweaked?


KyonSOS23 profile image

KyonSOS23 7 years ago from Nabon

nice example tattoo


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Aha you paint on motorcycles, that is ace!

painting is fun wherever you paint!

Thanks for your comment!


DOC1952 profile image

DOC1952 7 years ago from Portland,Or.

I got a lot out of this one. I use all kinds of art to use as a base for painting on motorcycles.


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Thanks Ebower!

This is what I prefer, to draw the designs and let someone else worry about inking it on!


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers Fortunerep!

Yes I'm getting to a point were I do need to copyright my stuff, as my style is skulls and evil demons, so cheers for the reminder about copyright!!

I do sell flash sheets on ebay every chance I get and to some local tattooists or I set aside some special pieces if I visit out of town and I try my luck with other tattooists.

It's just about getting my name out there as a tattoo artist.


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Thanks Profoundidiot!

If you think that's what you want to do then you can always try being a tattooist or a tattoo designer, I prefer the latter as I hate the sight of blood and would probably upchuck all over the person I was tattooing.


fortunerep profile image

fortunerep 7 years ago from North Carolina

What you are drawing is called in the tattoo world as flash and can be worth a lot. Be careful that you have it copywrited so it can' be stolen, Beautiful artwork!!

dori


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers Leslie!

I like doing those videos and there will be more videos uploaded soon!


TheProfoundIdiot profile image

TheProfoundIdiot 7 years ago from between homes

Very good ideas.

I've often been told that what I draw looks a lot like tattoos. I have thought about becoming a tattooist but I don't think I could stick people all day long(if people wince in pain, I feel it too). Perhaps this is an option for me.


Ebower profile image

Ebower 7 years ago from Georgia

This is interesting...I never really thought about the people that actually draw the designs...cool!


Island Tropical profile image

Island Tropical 7 years ago

What a cool hub!


Leslie L. Sanders profile image

Leslie L. Sanders 7 years ago from Queen Creek, Arizona

This IS a great hub. I especially love the videos you add to your hubs. Very good!


articleposter profile image

articleposter 7 years ago

Great article, and very good tips.

thanks


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Yes I draw the tattoos but don't ink them on people, I much prefer to draw the designs and just create some fantastic tattoos from my head!


ediddy5 profile image

ediddy5 7 years ago

Are you a Tattoo Artist?


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

I still have lots of old image comics from when I was obsessed about collecting them after leaving school, I would love to work for image, but then there may be more of a sense of achievement if I self publish my works and go that route, but anythings possible, good luck with your work too!


bill yon profile image

bill yon 7 years ago from sourcewall

check out image they are a company made for creator owned properties,as long as you can do everything yourself (write draw letter color) Image will put you out there worldwide and you retain ownership and full control over your creative properties,Image also publishes all catergories,super-heros,horror,sci-fi,etc...but you have to be good no make that you have to be awesome!good luck on your journey into the realm of comics,maybe just maybe we might both be at comic-con a year a two from now signing autographs,and talking to fans,anythings possible!!good luck!!


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

I'm trying to break into comics too, but not any comics company in particular, just publishing my own as and when I have the time, would love to see some of your work!

Tattoo drawing helps your design skills a lot, as I have learnt a lot about spacial design and awareness of designs to be used for many different tattoos, so it does help to practice this type of art form well.

Cheers Bill!


bill yon profile image

bill yon 7 years ago from sourcewall

I've never thought about designing tattoos,I'm into manga,and cartooning,Pin-up,and childrens books,(trying to break in to comics)but I guess I will give this a try,see what I can come up with.


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Thanks for your comments Dee!

First of all, Ebay is really easy to use when you are listing stuff, granted it does take a bit of trial and error to get things right and so long as you list detailed descriptions and titles, then you are on the right track with your Ebay listings.

Really though to get things kicked off, you need to have a load of your work in a portfolio offline and also online on a blog or other website and this will be your best work, there are various tattoo forums you can join and try and get your tattoo work out there too, just do a search for tattoo forums on Google!

Also you can try other sites where you put your designs on t-shirts and other gifts to sell like Zazzle and Cafepress, as these are extra revenue earners if you can market online and offline combined.

If you need any more help just ask some more questions and I'll be happy to help!


Dee 7 years ago

Hello! Great site, just wanting to sell my art, I have taken my portfolio to all the tat shops in Saginaw, MI and to a couple in N. Carolina, all stated my work is very good and original. Long story-short, auto accident 6/26/08 took away my job, my house, and my kid, I am at rock bottom but I am back drawing again while I continue to heal and just began my research with your site. Very cool and motivated me to pursue this career change (was a clinical social worker for 9 years prior...)(prior to that 12 years of Army service) I really want to do this. Any further help (like do not know how to use e-bay (lol Hey I am 44...hard to teach an ol dog new tricks) So I am going to check out the sites you recommend and would love any other feedback as well. I will try to get some of my pics so that you can see my work. Thanks

Dee


Kimberly Bunch profile image

Kimberly Bunch 7 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

Awesome article.


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Yes Nelle, tattoos are sold over ebay and through designers websites and blogs and there are some great tattoos being designed out there, there is a great artist called Jenny Clarke who sells tattoos directly from her website http://www.jennyclarkedesign.com and her designs are highly sought after by collectors and existing tattooists.


Nelle Hoxie 7 years ago

Fascinating hub. I had no idea a person could sell tattoo art. It's amazing to me what a person with creativity can do to make money! Hope lots of tattoo artists buy your work!


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Then you would have to get it corrected or inked over if possible, shaky hands are a bad idea, if you see a tattooist who has shaky hands, they may have been doing the five knuckle shuffle too long!! lol!


happylabtails profile image

happylabtails 7 years ago from FLORIDA

Gosh what happens if you make a mistake I tattoo pets with I.D. numbers and sometimes they jump and it makes it difficult to get the letters and numbers on perfect, so far so good but it is still a worry.


kriszha profile image

kriszha 7 years ago

Brilliant post, thanks for sharing.


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Give it a good go Kalley86!

Drawing tattoos is the easy part, selling them does take some work, but if you plan things out and try and organize your tattoos into themes and categories, then you'll have more chance selling something.

Remember there are many different people all wanting different tattoos, try and cater to each and every one, I've been diversifying with drawing dolphins and roses (something that I would never ever thought I'd draw!!)

Good luck tat designing!!


Kailey86 profile image

Kailey86 7 years ago from Whitehorse, YT (Canada)

Great article! I myself love to draw tattoo art but I don't know how to tattoo. You've given me some great ideas.

Thanks :)


USAPoolToy profile image

USAPoolToy 7 years ago from Florida

Nice creative article..

Thanks!!


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Thanks Mattn78 and TicksProfessional!

While I would like to take credit for the tattoos above, they are not mine, I just selected some good tribal designs from a site called Opengraphicdesign.com, although I may upload some of my tattoo examples at a later date.

Cheers there!


TicksProfessional profile image

TicksProfessional 7 years ago from Lucknow India

A very nice hub, with so much info...My sis does a lot of abstract drawing. She might be interested in tattoo designing as well...so i sent her the link. I am sure she would find your hub impressive.Your designs are awesome. Thanks for sharing!


mattn78 profile image

mattn78 7 years ago

Interesting Hub!!

Thanks.


dhamakas 7 years ago

ecellent tatoos and great design , i hope i can put that on my hand and impress as many as i can


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Thanks Henry!

It's nice to have the person who designed thoses tattoos right at the top of this article come and comment and your website looks very interesting with more infinite variations of tattoo art, I have bookmarked it to return later!

Cheers there, I will be doing some of my own custom tattoo designs here and how to draw them type stuff, because I just love tattoo art!

Thanks now!


Henry 7 years ago

Cool post. I've been drawing those tribal art graphics for a while. Check out my site for more ideas http://opengraphicdesign.com/art/tribal-art-using-...


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Your welcome PJ!


PJ_Deneen 7 years ago

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer Waynet. This helps a lot.


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Hi there PJ!

Flash sheets is only the technical term, you can use any piece of paper, so long as you can colour the tattoo designs with some good coloured pencils or felt tips, as to create a strong tattoo design.

I however use A4 and A3 sheets of cartridge paper and I do find a lightbox very helpful in the tracing process of designs, so yes a lightbox is needed, but not essential.

Cheers now!


PJ_Deneen 7 years ago

Interesting hub. Can you explain a little more about flash sheets? Do you buy them blank and then trace the designs on them? Do you use a light box to do this?


EdenvaleShoppes 7 years ago

Nice creative Hub!!

Thanks.


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

It is somehing great to get into, just for the learning experience of supplying what others are requesting in tattoos.

Cheers artguy!


artguy profile image

artguy 7 years ago from Columbus

I have not tried tattoos, but now that I know you can sell them I might.

Thanks for the info.


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

I know I could make a bit more money if I actively sold them through Ebay every week, but time is the issue.

Drawing them in sets really help the themes come together, especially if you plan on drawing variants of your work, I drew and sold a flaming skull set which multiple designs of flaming skulls in a set of 6, so it really helps if you target one type of design to draw in different ways.

Cheers Robert!


robertsloan2 profile image

robertsloan2 7 years ago from San Francisco, CA

Thank you! I've drawn tattoos for friends and had the fun of seeing the resulting tattoos, also done a few commissions for tattoo designs. I haven't tried to sell flash though. THis is very useful information.

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