One of the most common questions around tattoos are how people find up their tattoo ideas and inspiration for tattoos.
The main thing to point out here is you can’t force inspiration. You can’t force inspired ideas to come to yourself out of nowhere (well you can, but they will be terrible or misdirected usually).
Everyone is into into different things. First what you need to do is identify what type of learner you are – the easiest way to separate these is between visual and written.
If you are a visual learner, then you are going to find a lot more visual inspiration going through photography, art, drawing, painting and other similar things like that.
If you are a reader, then your imagination is going to be provoked by books, poetry, quotes and song lyrics etc.
If you already have an idea for a tattoo but just need help getting it into an actual design concept, then brainstorming is often a really helpful idea. Once you have a core concept for a tattoo, for example you want something to remember your sister by, there a lot of different things you can do to personificate that idea into a tattoo design concept.
Create a list of design ideas for that tattoo concept, then gradually keep adding to that list as you come up with more things as you come across more inspirational art. Keeping this list on your phone is a great idea as it’s almost always with you so you won’t forget to write anything down.
Going back to the example of ‘remember your sister’, you could get anything from her name, a portrait of her, something that represented a hobby of hers (musical instrument etc) or a memorable quote. But the main thing is you want to give yourself a lot of options before settling on a particular one.
If you’re looking for images to further develop your idea, then there a tons of great websites to browse an endless stream of pictures. Our Tattoo Gallery, Tumblr, DeviantArt, Pinterest and even Google Image Search can be extremely useful if you have a category to search for.
However, if you’re looking to be truly inspired you need to go out of your comfort zone. You’ll need to actually turn off your computer and go outside. Libraries are extremely underrated – there’s tons of things in books that you will never have a hope of finding on the internet.
Depending on the type of tattoo you want you can find inspiration by putting yourself into an environment where you can come up with a lot of ideas. For example, if you want an entire sleeve of different animals you could go to the zoo and look at all the animals there.
Another awesome idea is going to a local music store and looking at album covers – a lot of these can be very inspiring as the music artists were after something extremely emotive, inspiring and thought provoking themselves. The same thing can be said about movie, book and game covers too.
One thing to keep in mind is that you won’t be copying them, you are just trying to get an idea for a starting point.
But lastly, I think the best and sometimes overlooked method is to browse through a tattoo artists portfolio that is of the same genre tattoo (traditional, dotwork, realistic etc) that you are interested in getting. Look around for a tattoo artist of that type and check through their portfolio, you will more than likely stumble across something that is going to spark your imagination and inspiration, and give you great ideas for your own tattoo.