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Overcoming Art Block: Tips for Tattoo Artists


Tattoo artists often face the same challenge—how to consistently produce new and creative ideas for tattoos that will keep their clients happy. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut, where you find it difficult to bring freshness and originality into your work.

There are ways you can overcome this art block, so you don’t have to resort to copying other designs or creating generic tattoos. Here are some tips on how you can break out of creative ruts to create unique pieces of artwork that make both you and your clients proud.


Creativity for tattoo artists


What is a Creative Block?

Artist block is a common issue many creatives face in their work. It can be defined as the inability to come up with new ideas and produce original art. It’s a form of mental burnout that makes coming up with unique concepts and designs difficult for tattoo artists. When this happens, it can feel like creativity is a distant memory, and all ideas seem to come up short.

Artist block can have a major effect on you and the work you are able to produce. As a creative profession, it is vital that tattoo artists continually create unique and memorable designs for their clients—whether this be based on a client's brief or tattoo flash. Otherwise, they risk losing business as customers will gravitate towards other talented artists who can provide them with something different.


Creative designs for tattoo artists


It can also be demoralising for tattoo artists to feel stuck in a creative rut and unable to create original artwork, leading to a lack of motivation and an overall feeling of frustration. So if you're feeling overwhelmed and are looking to get your creative juices flowing again, check out these handy tips below.

Causes of Art Block

A variety of factors can cause artist block. Some of the most common causes are psychological issues such as boredom, stress, and anxiety. When an artist is feeling stressed or anxious they often become unfocused and unmotivated to produce creative works.

Creative burnout is another possible cause of art block. If an artist is overworking themselves, they can become mentally and physically exhausted, leading to difficulty in coming up with fresh ideas. This could be due to external pressures such as client deadlines or internal expectations of oneself. It's important that you stay mindful of your workload, ensuring you have time to rest and relax in order to prevent creative burnout.


Tattoo artist resting on the sofa


Making the wrong kind of art could be a major contributing factor to creative burnout. If you are focusing on producing work in a particular style or within a niche genre that is not a good match for you, it can lead to feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction.

Also, if you feel as though you are creating the same designs over and over again, you're likely to become unmotivated. Tattoo artists should aim to produce artwork they enjoy making and that reflects their skillset.

Why not visit our range of ink sets and find a colour palette that suits your style?

Tips to Overcome Artist's Block

Take a Break

One of the best ways to overcome art block is to take a break. Switching off and taking a step back from your work can be difficult, especially when you have deadlines and other commitments. However, taking time away from your art is essential for helping you to refocus, regroup, and come up with fresh ideas. Don't spend too much time staring at a blank page! Taking regular breaks and time off will help re-energise your creative engine and get you back in the creative flow.

Take Inspiration from Others

Another way to move past artist's block is to look at other artists’ work for inspiration. Exploring the portfolio of other tattoo artists on websites such as Pinterest or Instagram can be helpful. Taking the time to view inspiring artwork can kickstart your own creative process and provide you with a spark of originality.

Try out a Different Medium

If you’re feeling stuck in a particular creative routine, take the opportunity to experiment and try something new. Push yourself out of your comfort zone by exploring different techniques, tools and new materials. You may find that your artistic process improves when you incorporate new elements into your work.

Visit our Art Supplies collection here for all the best tools to get you back to your best creative self.


Art classes for tattoo artists


Try an Art Class

Attending an art class is a great way to enhance your artistic abilities and develop new ideas. An experienced instructor will guide you through the creative process, offering advice and positive feedback to help you hone your skills and find new inspiration.

Art classes provide the opportunity to learn techniques such as colour theory, perspective drawing, shading, and other basic principles. These principles can help spark new ideas and break through any artistic roadblocks you may be experiencing. Additionally, you will get the chance to network with other artists who could provide valuable tips or advice and cast an eye over your creative work.

Practise Your Skills

The more you practise and hone your skills, the less likely it is that art block will set in. Even if you feel like you have no creative projects on at the moment, take the time to practise your linework, shading and colouring techniques. Practising these skills will help build confidence in your craft and give you a better understanding of what works best for you.

Remember, you can always try out new design ideas or techniques on practice skin first! 


Practising drawing lines


Open Your Eyes to the World Around You

Taking a good look around you is an effective way to observe the world and find inspiration. Observing your surroundings can help to expand your creative mindset by providing new perspectives on everyday things.

Head out in the fresh air and take a walk around your local park or neighbourhood. You might be able to find some fresh inspiration—it's hard to feel inspired if you're constantly stuck behind your desk.

Even the most mundane everyday items can become interesting sources of inspiration, such as patterns in nature or shapes and textures that you might initially miss. Being mindful of your environment and open to new ideas helps to culture a creative space and can be a useful tool for overcoming art block.


Woman walking through a forest


Getting Back to the Creative Process

Creative block is a very normal phenomenon to experience if you are a professional artist. While it can be disheartening, it's important to remember that it's just a temporary setback. Everyone has periods of time when they feel stuck and uninspired, and this is perfectly natural. Art block can be a difficult hurdle to overcome, but with the right techniques and tools, it doesn't have to stop you from creating beautiful artwork.

The key is to not put too much pressure on yourself and find ways to push through the artist's block. Creativity naturally ebbs and flows, so give yourself time to get your creative project back on track.

By taking regular breaks, exploring other tattoo artists’ work for inspiration, trying out new mediums or art classes, and practising regularly, you can overcome art block.

Additionally, being mindful of your environment and open to new ideas is an important part of the creative process that should not be overlooked. With these tips in mind, both aspiring and experienced tattoo artists can now take the creativity of their own art up a notch!

Shop practice skins today and get inspired.


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  • Sarah Crookes