Sick

Asking the artist to tattoo whatever they want

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Is this kosher? I mean, I kind of think that I have no imagination when it comes to tattooes. I see cool stuff online but I couldn't come up with the idea myself. Is is alright to go to an artist and say.." look, i want something cool, let's say some sort of animal or flower, is there anything you'd really want to do, use my skin!". Is this basically an impossible task for the tattooer? or welcomed?

Thanks!

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It really depends on the particular tattooer. In my experience, most want some direction, but it comes down to how individual tattooers prefer to work.

With that said, I do believe in the idea that people more or less get the tattoos they deserve. Nobody begins knowing anything about tattoos and knowledge is gained through getting tattooed, though spending time learning about tattoos, looking at them and so on. So if you feel that you don't have much of an imagination when it comes to tattoos but aren't actively trying to improve that imagination, then just wanting a cool tattoo probably isn't going to hack it.

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It really depends on the particular tattooer. In my experience, most want some direction, but it comes down to how individual tattooers prefer to work.

With that said, I do believe in the idea that people more or less get the tattoos they deserve. Nobody begins knowing anything about tattoos and knowledge is gained through getting tattooed, though spending time learning about tattoos, looking at them and so on. So if you feel that you don't have much of an imagination when it comes to tattoos but aren't actively trying to improve that imagination, then just wanting a cool tattoo probably isn't going to hack it.

That's interesting. I would say that constantly looking at tattoes online on instagram, forums and facebook of my favorite artist is "active learning", right? I just don'\t seem to be able to visualize a cool tattoo and maybe I don't know exactly what I want. I really like the feeling of getting tattooed but i'm not interested in the meaning of it, just the aesthetics of good tattooes on my skin.

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I'd only do this if I knew the tattooer well already, was very familiar with their body of work, and knew deep down that I'd like to get anything they felt like drawing. It seems like a pretty big leap to me, and there are very few artists I'd feel comfortable doing this with, but that's ultimately just taste. I'd also have to be completely out of ideas, and that isn't going to happen anytime soon.

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I'd only do this if I knew the tattooer well already, was very familiar with their body of work, and knew deep down that I'd like to get anything they felt like drawing. It seems like a pretty big leap to me, and there are very few artists I'd feel comfortable doing this with, but that's ultimately just taste. I'd also have to be completely out of ideas, and that isn't going to happen anytime soon.

So how do you get ideas thta are original. Oftentimes I see a tattoo that I LOVE but I feel it's bad taste to copy. So that's another idea i can't use...so?

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So how do you get ideas thta are original. Oftentimes I see a tattoo that I LOVE but I feel it's bad taste to copy. So that's another idea i can't use...so?

Not everything needs to be an original idea. There's nothing at all wrong with getting a Hardy panther, or a girl face, or a rose and dagger just because it's less "original" than a completely custom design. Done well, there are many classic designs that make awesome tattoos, as good as (if not better than) many fully custom "original idea" tattoos. And there's a certain sameness to a lot of those anyway. But I'm getting off topic here.

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Original ideas are overrated and more often than not lead to goofy tattoos.

You think so? Let me give a few examples from a tattoo artist i recently discovered and like:

https://www.facebook.com/andimorutan.tattoos/photos/a.638226902967519.1073741836.457425161047695/699273073529568/?type=1&theater

https://www.facebook.com/andimorutan.tattoos/photos/a.638226902967519.1073741836.457425161047695/680712792052263/?type=1&theater

when i see these i'm thinking.. pretty nice! how do i get something this interesting? That's what I mean by original idea.

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If you want a watercolor tattoo find an artist who specializes in that style (like Amanda Wachob) and ask her or him if there's anything she/he has always wanted to do or has drawn or painted something that you like.. (Not sure if an artist like that would have flash to look at.) I like the matador okay but the feather turning into birds is a bit of a cliche.

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If you want a watercolor tattoo find an artist who specializes in that style (like Amanda Wachob) and ask her or him if there's anything she/he has always wanted to do or has drawn or painted something that you like.. (Not sure if an artist like that would have flash to look at.) I like the matador okay but the feather turning into birds is a bit of a cliche.

That's a neat idea!

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@Sick, I think it's okay to ask an artist if there's something they'd like to tattoo. Some will go for it but others will want something more concrete to work from to start with. Ask them and they'll let you know. If an artist agrees to do this though and draws something up but you don't like it at all, then you've wasted his/her time. You may end up with a panther, an exploding feather, or a tanuki w/ giant testicles (minus the tanuki) but you asked for it because they felt like tattooing it. You may get a watercolor artist draw a traditional eagle because you're giving them an opportunity to switch things up. Worse case, you then feel pressured to get a tattoo on you that you dislike and the artist tattoos you none the wiser. Which you shouldn't get obviously. Or everything could turn out absolutely amazing and you get a tattoo that makes you do a happy dance.

Personally I have never started completely blank. I have always given an artist something to start with cuz that's just me. It doesn't limit their creativity though. In the case with my back piece Jill Bonny completely changed what we had discussed at my consult. The subject was the same but after some thought she felt the idea we discussed was stronger carried out in a different composition. I was so blown away by the new image, I couldn't even begin to fuck with her head by making some wise ass comment. And I love me my wise ass-isms.

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From an artists perspective, i'd say go in at least with an idea of the tattoos the artist youve chosen has done that you like and explain why you like them (colours, layout,subject etc) and at best say youd like something along those lines.

dont go in saying 'do what you want', no one ever really means that and if they explain something they'd be stoked to do and you say, yeah but not that. well, then you will have a deflated and slightly annoyed artist in your hands, vague guidance is great.

the artist puts out there work theyve enjoyed or that shows their ability, all within the realm of what that customer asked for, however, so just cos you like what you see them posting doesnt mean it's what they want to do, it might be something entirely different that they simply havent gotten a chance to tattoo ever before.

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Sometimes artists have specific ideas that they want to do. They might have them drawn up for convention tattoos. They might also have a vague idea but want to draw directly onto skin. Keep an eye on your favorite artists Instagram feed for these kinds of things.

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I just like giving a really vague direction. All it takes is a word or two and that should be enough. "A weird lady head" or "a B&G snake."

I would rather not have to give a long winded explanation of what I want.

I also like picking out of line books. Because typically this is what the tattooer is stoked to do.

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So how do you get ideas thta are original. Oftentimes I see a tattoo that I LOVE but I feel it's bad taste to copy. So that's another idea i can't use...so?

Nothing is original in tattooing. Nothing is original in life.

Even though I have my own self-imposed rules that if a friend of mine gets a certain tattoo, then it's off limits for me. I'm such a hypocrite.

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I just like giving a really vague direction. All it takes is a word or two and that should be enough. "A weird lady head" or "a B&G snake."

I would rather not have to give a long winded explanation of what I want.

I also like picking out of line books. Because typically this is what the tattooer is stoked to do.

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Nothing is original in tattooing. Nothing is original in life.

Even though I have my own self-imposed rules that if a friend of mine gets a certain tattoo, then it's off limits for me. I'm such a hypocrite.

Not a bad rule! but you'd have no shame getting something similar to a good one you've seen on instagram?

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Not a bad rule! but you'd have no shame getting something similar to a good one you've seen on instagram?

I mean, my pals @9Years and @hogg have awesome tigers from Tim Lehi. I would get a tiger from Lehi too, just not the exact same tigers. I need a little variance.

But let's say someone got a Rose of No Mans Land on their hands, I probably wouldn't get that on my hands anymore.

BUT! I would totally get an Eddy Deutsche ROA even though my pal Taro has the same thing. As long as there's variance.

I have a lot of weird rules.

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Research the tattooer you like and ask them to do a subject matter you know they like. As others have said this might not be the most prominent thing in the portfolio but on instagram a lot of tattooers do point out what they like, and want to do more of.

When I'm not getting flash I usually like to have a lot of control over how it's going to look (usually in the terms of a small sketch that the artist can adapt to their style) but I still target an artist that I know is going to love the idea more than any other tattooer I could have pitched it to. Because if they dig it, you're going to get a much better and more lively end product.

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I think this approach may work better for people who already have a number of tattoos, because the tattooer can kinda have a gauge of what you're into. Otherwise just find an artist you like and look through their flash or line drawings. Like others have said, originality is overrated.

I can't imagine being an tattooer and having to constantly try to flex the creative juices all the time with people who want something original but aren't creative themselves. And don't get me wrong, I'm completely guilty of this as a collector. When I got tattooed by Matt Arriola I think I said "I want a trippy Jesus head". This was on a day's notice. Though, to be fair I did say I'd be happy with a traditional one too. It worked out and I got a great tattoo, but I know if I were him I'd just be like "okay, wtf is a 'trippy jesus head' supposed to look like?"

Also, really glad to see @Valerie Vargas pop in with some wisdom.

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I did not know what my my side/rib/hip tattoo was going to be until I met with the artist at the show,a couple years ago,

and I had a first session yesterday on my arm/shoulder,I told the artist that I liked water lilies and skulls and told her she could do whatever she wanted with those basic elements,she loved it,I consulted with her a week ago and when she showed me the drawing,I was blown away and told her I love it and to do it that way,and IMO this tattoo is going to be amazing !

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The last few have been "hey I've got this weird space to fill and I liked seeing [example of previous work] from you, what do you think will fit?"

I try to give a little direction since I have a good idea of what I like from my favorite tattooers, but sometimes the shape of the space is enough to prompt cool ideas that I couldn't come up with on my own, sketchbooks and flash are of course also good ways to get something unique.

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