Since 2003, TattooFinder.com has been working hard to make the best in tattoo artwork available to its visitors from around the globe. Take some time to read about how our vision of providing quality Tattoo Friendly® ? Reference online is changing the world of tattoos. We sincerely hope you enjoy your visit to our website. Please don't hesitate to send us a message should you have any questions or comments. We invite all feedback.
So you're ready for a tattoo...
"When a customer comes in and says, 'I want a dragon,' I have to ask them, 'What kind of dragon? Asian? Modern? How big? How will it appear? What will it be doing?' And that's when the tattoo process really begins." - Rachael Bardach, Professional Tattooist and Co-founder of TattooFinder.com
Despite popular belief, the beginning of a great tattoo does not start the moment you sit in the chair at a tattoo studio. Your tattooist must first have reference, and then they must work to turn this reference into a tattoo design. Even if you want a "custom tattoo" hand-drawn by a tattooist, they have to start somewhere, no matter how talented they are. Even Picasso used models as reference for his paintings. Popular "reality" television shows did much to spread the myth that a "real" tattoo springs forth from the mind of its artist, but if you watch more closely you'll find that reference is actually always involved. A portrait always starts from a photograph, a dragon from an illustration in a book, and a landscape from a postcard.
An artist uses a model as reference for their painting. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.
As modern day tattooing became popular, one of the traditional methods of providing quality reference to tattoo customers was through flash sheets sold to and displayed in a studio. These 11" x 14" prints would feature an assortment of tattoo artwork, typically by a particular artist and sometimes following a theme. Flash sheets were traded and sold at tattoo trade shows and events. Many tattooists who were also skilled at drawing tattoo designs became famous through their sheets, and having a flash sheet by this person added value to the studios that owned them. When a customer was ready for a tattoo, the studio would refer them to these sheets in order to choose reference for their design.
A modern tattoo studio with flash sheets hanging on the wall.
Our parent website, Flash2xs.com, once sold these flash sheets online. Our company founders worked deep in the tattoo industry and had many connections to well respected and admired artists, making the website extremely successful. However, as the Internet grew in popularity, tattoo customers chose to begin their search for tattoo reference on their own time over the Internet, rather than inside the tattoo studio. We begin to receive hundreds of emails from people requesting that we make designs contained in the flash sheets on Flash2xs.com available individually. These people were not tattooists or studio owners, but people that were simply interested in getting a tattoo. From this, we were given the opportunity to create TattooFinder.com, whose success soon overshadowed the flash sets we sold on Flash2xs.com so much that it eventually led us to end the sale of flash sheets permanently. This was not only because the ability to browse and acquire individual tattoo artwork online served to provide an overall better experience for the customer, but also because we created a product that was even better than tattoo flash: Tattoo Friendly® Reference.
What is Tattoo Friendly® Reference?
Tattoo Friendly® Reference is better than anything you might find elsewhere online, in a book, or even on the wall in a tattoo studio, because it can be tattooed without any of the frustration or expensive work required to "make it a tattoo."
The truth is that you actually can take any old picture, bring it into a tattoo studio, and eventually get a tattoo based off of it. However, this usually involves painstaking work by your tattooist to make the lines, colors and shading in the design work with the limitations of modern tattoo equipment, inks, and your skin. More importantly, the tattooist will need to generate the stencil for the tattoo, which can sometimes be a labor intensive process. Once all of that work is done, there's still the possibility that the tattoo won't be exactly what you wanted, and since most tattooists charge by the hour, you could end up paying more than you expected.
It was these problems we tried to solve by developing a rigorous system of quality control and refinements that we could address on a per-design basis with our invention of Tattoo Friendly® Reference.
There are three key aspects to Tattoo Friendly® Reference:
1) Tattoo Friendly Reference includes corresponding stencils, which are the blueprint for a great tattoo.
"The line art is of the utmost importance for the tattooist... if he's tattooing something incorrectly on somebody, it oftentimes is because that's the way it was drawn up on the line art." - Rand Johnson, Artist/Tattooist and Owner of Cherry Creek Flash
When you acquire a piece of Tattoo Friendly® artwork from us, you get two things: the design and the corresponding stencil. The stencil (also known as line art) is the tool your tattooist uses to accurately translate the artwork to skin. Stencils contain the information your tattooist needs in regards to some of the most important subtleties of the design, such as the nuanced linework and shading. Well-drawn stencils allow for an extremely high degree of accuracy when it comes to tattooing the design on skin. All of the artwork submitted to us is examined thoroughly for effective stencils and much of the artwork we reject is for due to poor stencil quality, such is the stencil's importance.
A Tattoo Friendly® design and its corresponding stencil.
2) Tattoo Friendly Reference is made to be tattooed on human skin.
Your skin is the canvas for the art that is your tattoo, but over time your skin will change. Additionally despite the many technological advances that have come to tattooing, there will always be limits to what makes any image "tattooable." In order for artwork to be considered Tattoo Friendly® we must consider color usage, shape and size and how that translates to the many varieties of human skin when tattooed. All Tattoo Friendly Reference available on TattooFinder.com contains only tattoo industry standard colors, and has been scaled to its Minimum Tattooable Size (The smallest that a design can be tattooed without having to remove any detail). A tattoo will always have some probability of being damaged by the sun, stretched with age, and pulled by gravity, but Tattoo Friendly artwork has been designed to be tattooed as accurately as possible and withstand these changes over time.
3) Tattoo Friendly Reference is ready to be modified and combined.
We purposefully allow you to directly download a high-resolution, modifiable version of the design and stencil that you or your tattooist are free to change in any way you see fit. We will never include any DRM (digital rights management) software, download limits, or other tricks that serve to restrict you from accessing, modifying or combining designs. We also carefully divide and separate our designs so that they can be easily merged together, as well as provide versions with transparent backgrounds. All of our artwork is made available at 300 DPI print resolution, offering the highest level of print quality as well, should you choose to manually combine artwork rather than do it through digital tools.
Multiple examples of Tattoo Friendly® Reference being combined into a unique custom design.
Tattooists Love Tattoo Friendly® Reference too.
"TattooFinder.com allows us to do more tattoos and do them better... [a customer will] come in with what they want including a line drawing and we can get right to work. It makes things much easier on our end." - Khristan Bennett, Artist / Tattooist at Mooncusser Tattoo in Provincetown MA
Most tattooists love it when they see a TattooFinder.com design come through the door. They know that this means their customer has done their research and are bringing with them an effective tool that will help the tattooist make a great tattoo happen. Of course, it always helps to take time to find a good tattooist. No matter how convenient our Tattoo Friendly® Reference makes things for a tattooist, it still takes someone with an appropriate degree of talent and skill to give you a tattoo. You can make sure that your Tattoo Friendly designs are tattooist-appropriate by seeking out someone who is reputable and whose personal style reflects your tattoo vision. Most tattooists should also have a photo album of completed work that you can review and determine if they have experience similar to your already Tattoo Friendly® design choice. Once you do pick your tattooist, they'll be pleased that you took the time to prepare and that you consider them as someone truly qualified to apply your tattoo.
"I had my first tattoo done using one of the designs I found on TattooFinder.com and will be getting two more done soon. Yep, I got the bug! Keep the awesome designs coming! I always recommend your site to people who ask about my tattoo." - Actual TattooFinder.com Customer
Of course just collecting and preparing all of this great artwork into Tattoo Friendly® Reference is only part of what we do. We've also taken the time to make TattooFinder.com itself a useful and fun tool that our customers can utilize to find the designs they need. All of our artwork has been organized into a fast, powerful and effective search engine. In addition, we've created hundreds of side galleries for our visitors so they can get a broad sampling of what we have to offer should they be unsure of where to begin. Most of our design previews include zoomed-in detail views to give you an up close and personal look at the artwork. There is no pressure to buy, as we have provided the ability for you to save a design for later to your account while you consider all of your options. We've also included a variety of social media features that enable you to share and discuss your tattoo ideas with your friends and family. Finally, after you purchase access to a your Tattoo Friendly® Reference, it stays tied to your account, giving you as much time as you want to download and print the design and corresponding stencil in a variety of effective and useful formats from any computer in the world. These are just a few of our current features and we plan to add many more.
And the tattoo?
"Sometimes the best part of a tattoo is when it's done. It's phenomenal. You own it. You suffered for it. There is nothing like that kind of commitment." - Friday Jones, Tattooist / Artist in New York City
Well first of all, yes it's going to hurt. It's the simple truth and some would say part of the "ritual" of getting tattooed. But when your tattoo is done, we're confident that you're going to be happy with the outcome, and thrilled that you let TattooFinder.com be a part of that experience. We also think that you'll be back for more, not only because tattoos can be addictive, but also because we're always updating our site with new artwork that we know you'll want on your skin.
Thank you for your visit and taking the time to read more about us. More than anything, TattooFinder.com would not exist without its knowledgeable and passionate customers. We invite all feedback, so should you have anything to say to us please don't hesitate to let us know. Most of all, best of luck in finding your next tattoo!