Anyone who is seriously into tattoos will tell you how long it takes to choose the right one. After all they should last a lifetime so are not something to be rushed. It can take up to 20-30 hours to find the right tattoo design. But that is only the first step.
If you are serious you will want to have something that is unique and not taken from a book or or copied from a picture in a tattoo gallery. A tattoo should speak about who you are and not be ripped off someone else. Not only that but a lot of artists will refuse to copy another artists work. And quite rightly. While you can be done for copyright infringement for copying another person's work in other mediums the same rules don't seem to apply to tattoo art.
It is still a form of plagiarism to take another persons artwork and reproduce it as your own. In any other form this would result in legal action. So just because there is no precendent set for copyright infringement does not mean its is cool to claim another tattooists work.
So how do you come up with original tattoo designs?
If you are like me you have looked at literally thousands of tattoo pictures and tattoo designs from a variety of different tattooists from around the world. Or maybe you keep visiting your local tattoo studio and have started getting dirty looks from the tattoo artist who thinks you are stalking him because you go there every weekend and still haven't chosen a tattoo!
There are so many different styles of so you need to be really clear about what you want before you get inked. It is a good idea ot visualize the type of tattoo you want before you even get it. You need to be able to see yourself with a particular tattoo before you get it. If is a tribal tattoo on your arm imagine yourself walking down the street with the tattoo for all the world to see.
Next view some examples of different styles that you like. So if it is tribal tattoos source pictures of that particular tattoo style. If it is work from another artist do not take it to your nearest tattoo studio and ask for it to be copied onto you. Tell the tattoo artist that you like that particular style and would like a tattoo designed for You. This is where the visualisation exercise comes into play. Tattoo artists are very visual people and are highly talented at rendering an nebulous idea into a full on customized tattoo.
Think of the bigger picture. Don't be tempted to choose some generic tattoo flash off the wall because you can't make up your mind. Don't settle for something less if you cannot afford the tattoo you really want. Tattoos are organic and are constantly changing and growing with you. Avoid painful mistakes!