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Sketch Tattoo Designs

Updated on January 25, 2018
A cool sketch tattoo design. This sketch tattoo design looks a lot like pen ink!
A cool sketch tattoo design. This sketch tattoo design looks a lot like pen ink! | Source

Sketch Tattoo Designs: Tattoo Design Sketches

Though I have never, admittedly, been brave enough of a soul to subject myself to an art that I have grown to admire and appreciate at a distance, my husband has been. With several tattoos that now adorn several areas of his body, thirteen years of military service has offered, to his body, a well-placed canvas of tattoo design that elegantly masks his teddy bear-like interior. One of his tattoos, in particular, was the result of a freehand sketch drawing he had made. Even though his artist, at the time, made slight modifications to his design in order to encourage more aesthetic appeal, his sketched tattoo design is really my favorite tattoo of all of his tattoos.

While his other tattoos are nice, they entertain an air of "cookie-cutter" likeness, which had been extracted from those well positioned generic tattoo books that adorn the front foyer of just about every tattoo shop or location.

Like my husband, have you ever been sketching, and come up with something really cool that you have considered as a possible candidate for a tattoo to be placed somewhere on your body? Sketched tattoo designs are a popular option these days for a tattoo, whether it's a personal drawing that you've designed, or a tattoo styled to look like a hand-drawn pencil or pen sketch.

It's entirely possible to create a sketch and turn it into a tattoo template that your local artist can then ink onto to your skin. Here are some further details, along with a few pics of sketch tattoo designs, hopefully they'll inspire you to get creative and draw up some of your own.

A cool sketched tattoo design by BertsGirl at
A cool sketched tattoo design by BertsGirl at | Source

Sketched Tattoos and Designs: Draw Your Own Tattoo

Sketched tattoos are notable for a few distinct design aesthetics. First, you shouldn't worry too much about your sketch looking too much like a hand-drawn doodle. Your scratchy pen marks are actually a hallmark of sketch tattoo designs. You want your tattoo design sketches to look as though they were drawn directly onto your skin. Obviously with the dark ink and the precision of your tattoo artist, it will look a little more intentional, but hand-drawn is the look you're going for.

Some people, particularly artists, will even include a 'grid' or drawing guidelines in the background of their sketch tattoos to make the images seem more gritty and sketched. Artistic types and creative people are particularly drawn to these styles, as they exude a lot of personality. Perfect for someone who sketches or doodles all the time.

A cool sketched tattoo design of a city!
A cool sketched tattoo design of a city! | Source

How to Draw Tattoos: Sketch to Ink Sketched Tattoo Designs

The first place to start when designing your sketch tattoo design is to get a pen or pencil, a piece of drawing paper, and start working! You may have an idea in your head already, or you may want to check out some existing sketched tattoo designs and get some creative inspiration. The point is not to draw something perfect right away, but to play around.

Once you've got a draft you're happy with, you should scan the image to a computer. You may have a scanner included in your printer, or you might need to go to a print shop to have this done. You should load that sketched tattoo design in a graphics program (like Adobe Illustrator) and turn it into a vector (in Illustrator, Live Trace can help make this process painless). This will make the image a uniform shade, much easier for your preferred tattoo artist to work with.

Print your sketched tattoo design on a piece of translucent overhead paper, as well as on some sheets of regular paper. Bring these in to your local tattoo artist and discuss the design and how you want it implemented. They will give you more details on what comes next.

A cool hand-drawn tattoo design.
A cool hand-drawn tattoo design.

Sketching Tattoo Designs: Examples: A Few Hand-Drawn Tattoo Designs

Here are some examples of great sketched tattoo designs. Feel free to browse and borrow ideas from any of them. Notice that each sketch tattoo design is unique, a completely hand drawn image. Note that some of them are quite gritty and raw; sketching your tattoo design doesn't mean drawing a perfect image. The more rough and 'sketchy' it looks, the more unique, personalized and attractive the design will be (to a point).

However, it's your tattoo. Do with it whatever you like!

A hand-drawn sketched tattoo design.
A hand-drawn sketched tattoo design. | Source

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    • profile image


      5 years ago


    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 

      5 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      That was interesting. I don't have any tatoos myself but there sure are some works of art out there. Great hub!


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