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  Style > Tattoo
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Designing Your Own Tattoo

Making Long-Lasting Decisions

The first thing to realize when it comes to designing your own tattoo is that it does not mean you have to be able to draw your own tattoo yourself. As a tattoo is a permanent skin mark that will stay with you the rest of your life, it often helps if it relates to you more personally, with the idea that you and your skin art would like to have a long and happy life together. Tattoos often mark a transition or event in our lives, but too often I feel people choose imagery that is too much about the moment in which the event happened and not about remembering this moment for the rest of your life.

Many cultures have tattooing as a component of larger rituals that mark significant passages in life, and many people continue to get tattooed both consciously and unconsciously at important crossroads and moments in their lives. Try to ask yourself why you wish to be tattooed. What will the mark mean to you? Is this something you wish to share or keep more to yourself? Family and work situations should be considered. All this can contribute to the style and placement of your tattoo design. The key here is, if you feel any hesitation or uncertainty, just wait. There is always another time and place for you to get a tattoo. Always. Really.

Incorporate and Collaborate

What is this moment of remembrance about? An event? A person? A pet? A change? Tattoos can be about anything but really they are about you. Very few cultures practice ritualized marking anymore, leaving individuals to make up their own designs instead of having historically and culturally prescribed ones as in the past. Is this about spiritual or personal growth? Designs can be large or small, a choice which can be related to the transition, or not at all. Imagine looking at that part of your body in ten or twenty years and seeing a slightly paler and softer version of the design you are planning. Will your tattoo be someplace that will change shape as you gain or lose weight?

I always find pictures of what I want to get tattooed to show the artist. Textures, colors, gemstones and flowers are easy to bring along to say, "I'd like it to look like this part." Often I have an outline of a symbol. It may not be the exact size, but that's one of those things the artist can handle. I want them to have great references and inspiration, and then draw me something original that expresses part of my emotional, mental and spiritual being. I like to have part of the design firmly set in my mind, but leave elements open for the artist to handle. This way, the two of us create a truly original tattoo that no one else will wear.

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