References vs. Reproductions

November 12, 2012

A really important guest post from tattooer Mark Duhan on Tattoo Snob about referencing vs. reproducing the work of other artists along with some images of tattoos he redesigned.


"Recently, I’ve had a few clients come in with photos of custom tattoos in the hopes that I will duplicate them. After I educate them on the etiquette of custom tattoos and explain why I need to redraw/redesign them, I usually get one of the following responses: “I completely understand and I’m sure I’ll love what you design” or, “Change it? But I really like it the way it is!”

Though I try to explain to potential clients that this defeats the purpose of getting their own one-of-a-kind, custom tattoo, sometimes their insistence forces me to abandon “their” idea completely!

Pick an artist whom you trust and whose work you admire, and then be open-minded to the artist’s visions and suggestions. Feel free to bring references–but know that a reputable tattooer will not give you an exact copy of another artist’s work.

Below are recent examples other artists’ work that I redesigned for my clients. The raven on the left is by Oleg Turyanskiy, and the peach on the left was done by Nick Baxter."


- Marc Duhan of Skin Deep Ink for Tattoo Snob