How to Come up with Tattoo Ideas: 9 Steps to Ideation and Inspiration

How to Come up with Tattoo Ideas: 9 Steps to Ideation and Inspiration

Getting a tattoo is a big deal. You want to be sure that the idea you choose is going to say exactly what you want it to, and represent something meaningful in your life.

It can be hard coming up with ideas when they seem so infinite! Where do you even start? How do you know if an idea is any good? And how many times have we all been stuck staring at a blank piece of paper, trying desperately to come up with some sort of unique inspiration?

This guide will help walk you through the process of choosing the right design for your body art. By following these steps, not only will you find inspiration more easily but also learn about different ways on how you can easily come up with your own personal tattoo designs.

1. Figure out what you want your tattoo to represent

how to come up with tattoo ideas

The first thing you're going to need is a good idea behind your tattoo. What do you want it to represent? The meaning behind a tattoo is different for everybody, and it's worth doing some research before you go too far. If you can articulate this to your tattoo artist then you will have a better chance of getting a tattoo that really speaks to you.

Tattoos that have meaning and are inspired by memories tend to be more powerful and will leave you with a tattoo that stays with you for a lifetime.

2. Make a list of what inspires you

Now that you have an idea of what exactly you want your tattoo to look like, it's time to figure out what about that design inspires you. How is this detail important? How does it make you feel, and why do these feelings matter to you?

It can also help if the things on your list are specific. Instead of saying 'I'm inspired by all animals', try listing out each one separately. This will help guide your mind towards which animal tattoos are most popular at the moment, as well as let others know exactly what about them inspires you so they can better understand your reasoning behind choosing a certain animal design for your body art.

After you've created a list of all the things that inspire you, look over it again and try to figure out what kind of theme ties them together. Are there similar colours or styles? Does one stand out more than the others in some way? How would you describe each item on the list so someone else could understand why it's meaningful to you?

These details help create what is known as your 'concept'—a term used to describe both the style and meaning behind your tattoo. It can be helpful when planning designs to find an exact word that describes how you want your tattoo to feel, which makes choosing concepts much easier!

3. Consider the location of the tattoo and how it will affect your daily life

a man having his back tattooed

The last thing you want is to be reminded of something terrible every time you look in the mirror. And it's important to keep in mind that some tattoos can be harder to hide than others on certain parts of your body.

If you're considering a tattoo on your ribs or below the knees, then you probably won't need to worry too much about how easily it could clash with your everyday wardrobe choices. But if your tattoo will be located anywhere else, such as on your wrist, shoulders, face, hands, or neck, then try and imagine yourself wearing different items of clothing so as not to clump up your design. How would a T-shirt go over it? How about a dress shirt? Can you see this style working with a pair of skinny jeans? How will it look with a tank top?

These details may seem irrelevant at the moment, but they become much more important once you actually have your tattoo. You don't want to wind up being forced to wear long-sleeved shirts every day just because you forgot to consider how your tattoos would work with any short sleeves.

4. Research the meaning behind certain tattoos, such as tribal designs or images from nature

There are plenty of tattoos that don't necessarily represent something specific but can still lend to meaning. Tribal designs, for example, were used by early cultures to signify the status of different members within their community. The meaning behind tribal designs varies depending on where they're located on your body and how many points they have, but is most often connected with strength or power.

tattoo symbols

Nature-based tattoos are also commonly chosen for their symbolic value. Birds are usually seen as symbols of freedom because they can fly high above anything holding them back from reaching their goals, while flowers are known for representing youth or new beginnings. Other popular options which can be thought up based off nature include snowflakes (for uniqueness) and waves (which resemble life's continuous movement.

5. Visit a tattoo shop to see what designs they have for inspiration

While it's important to remember that you don't want your tattoo to look like any of the ones on display, this is still a good way to get inspired and help you further define what you're looking for in your own design. Consult the tattoo artist and ask for any advice on how to best bring your concept into reality

The best thing about modern-day tattoo shops is that they offer an endless selection of styles for any budget or personality type. You can find everything from simple black ombre designs to photorealistic portraits of loved ones—the only limit is your imagination! Just remember not to choose anything at random, as it'll be with you for the rest of your life so it should be meaningful enough for you to enjoy its beauty on a daily basis.

visit a tattoo shop for tattoo ideas and inspiration

6. Talk with friends and family about their thoughts on tattoos - they may have ideas for you!

It's a good idea to get input from other people after you've thought up your own ideas for tattoos, as the reactions of those around you may be different than what you expected.

No matter their personal feelings about tattoos, everyone has an opinion and it never hurts to hear what they're thinking to gain some insight before making such an important decision. How do they feel about certain styles? How bad would it be if your tattoo was visible at work or school? Are there any specific images or words that might cause trouble for them? The last thing you want is to have second thoughts about a tattoo because of something another person said! A lot goes into planning a tattoo, so it's best to be as sure about your final decision as you can possibly be.

7. Draw inspiration from personal stories, memories, and experiences in order to find an idea for a meaningful tattoo design

symbol tattooed on back


Even if you already have some ideas for tattoo designs, consider the following before finalizing your decision: How much do these tattoos mean to me? How will having them affect my life in both good and bad ways? How can I use this one single design to represent all of the things that are most important to me?

Think about it this way - would you want a tattoo that's just going to sit there on your skin day after day without saying anything meaningful or bringing back any special memories every time you looked at it? Tattoos are meant to be expressions of what is inside of us, so choose an idea carefully!

The most beautiful tattoos hold a lot of meaning and memories behind them, even if they're small or simple designs. How will your tattoos make you feel about yourself? How often do you want to look at it and be reminded of the good times? Does this design stand for something that's important enough to be permanent? How can you make it unique in some way?

These are all questions that need to be answered before choosing a tattoo design. Asking yourself these kinds of questions can help determine whether or not a certain design is really right for you.

8. Check Google, Pinterest, and Instagram for tattoo ideas

If you're still having trouble finding inspiration, try searching for popular tattoo ideas on Pinterest or Instagram. Browse through your options and see what catches your eye—you never know until you try! You can also do a simple Google search for various designs which you like the look of. How do they make you feel? How important are they to you? How unique are these designs compared to others out there?

There are a lot of great tattoo artist showcasing their work on Instagram. If you find someone whose style you like, check out their other pieces by scrolling through their feed. How does your favorite tattoo artist handle shading and color? How would yours turn out if they worked on it? How much money do they charge for certain designs? How big is that particular tattoo compared to the size of your body or another person's? These are all things you should consider before settling on a final design!

9. Have fun while coming up with ideas! There are no wrong answers when it comes to looking for inspiration!

Tattoo ideas can come from anything and everything - even things that you might have previously thought were completely random or insignificant. How have your past experiences affected the person you are today? How much do these memories mean to you?

You never know when a particular idea will hit you, so it's key to be open to any inspiration at all times. There is no such thing as a bad tattoo idea because everyone has different interests and inspirations when looking for tattoos! Your imagination really is the limit in finding something unique and meaningful for yourself.

tattoo artist almost done tattooing a customers back

Final thoughts on coming up with tattoo ideas

So there you have it - 9 different ways to come up with truly unique tattoo ideas! Whether you're planning on getting one small piece or something more complex, keep these suggestions in mind when brainstorming what will be etched into your skin forever.

When it comes to tattoo ideas, the possibilities are endless. You can create a design that is literally anything you want! If you have an idea in mind but don't know where to start, we hope this guide helped you in finding inspiration and further take away some of the guesswork.

Don't be afraid to dig deep into your creative side for these tattoo designs--you never know when one will spark something new or different inside of your head and heart. Tattoos may not last forever (unless they're done with lasers) but their meaning always does! So once you're ready to go under the needle, don't forget to use Painless Tattoo Numbing Creams for comfortable pain-free tattoos sessions!