Whether you sell most of your tattoo designs right off the wall or create custom artwork for each customer, you can never have enough designs—even if they’re just there for inspiration. Designs are the lifeblood of any shop, and new ones are what keep the creative juices—and ink—flowing. So if you’re burned out and need ideas, or have just been too busy to take a breath and see what’s new, here’s your chance to take a look at some hot trends to help spark your creative imagination.
Ambigram tattoo designs spell out two different words, one that can be read forward, and another that’s read backwards. Generally, the two words are antonyms: LOVE and HATE, for example, but some also spell the same word when read forwards or backwards. The art, obviously, is in creating the optical illusion that allows each word to be read distinctly, and when done well, it’s both striking and, in a word, cool. Typically, ambigrams feature elaborate, Gothic detail work.
Bio-Mech tattoo designs are nothing new, but they’re experiencing a resurgence in popularity, and there are some sweet designs being created now. In short, the artist uses ink to create the illusion that man and machine have become one. Often it’s in the form of a sliver of skin exposed to reveal microchips, electrodes, gears, or any combination of the above. The same design technique can be used for more druidic style tattoos, with animals (as opposed to machinery) peering out from within your client’s flesh.
If you’re an artist who happens to love not only ink, but literature as well, then you’ve probably already had your share of literary tattoos—and likely inked a few as well. If you haven’t, however, take a look at www.contrariwise.org for some fascinating tattoo designs. While most literary tattoo designs are straightforward text, some of the artists whose work is displayed on Contrariwise feature some stunning layering techniques, as well as some original illustrations based on literature.
For whatever reason (“We’re at War” “The Suicide Girls” “The resurgence of burlesque”), pin-up girl tattoo designs are picking up steam. Consider designing classic 50’s-style pin-up tattoos featuring modern starlets. Can you picture Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz or Megan Fox holding their hair up as they look archly over their shoulder—from your client’s shoulder?
Wings, running from the lower back up to the shoulder blades, are getting inked more and more often. The style or wing is as varied as your customers—some with gothic-style bat wings, while others of elaborately feathered doves—and the wings range from fully open to halfway there to completely furled along the back. On the right body type, these tattoo designs can be gorgeous.
Even if you stick to a certain style, you can incorporate these designs ideas into your artistic aesthetic; in fact, an unexpected blending of design subject and style (Bio-Mech in a Borneo style, for example) can result in a strikingly original tattoo.