6 Drawing Exercises For Tattoo Artists To Improve Skills

If you are starting as a tattoo artist, engaging in some drawing exercises is essential to improve your skills.

You can start by doing some simple still lifes of various objects or practicing drawing different shapes and lines. As you become more comfortable with your skills, you can try more complex drawings, such as portraits or landscapes.

This blog post will provide some drawing exercises for tattoo artists like you to try out. So get creative and have fun.

Key Takeaways

  • Drawing exercises are essential for tattoo artists to improve their skills and technique.
  • Each exercise has unique benefits that can help you improve your tattooing abilities.
  • Practice makes perfect, so devote some time daily to these drawing exercises.

Why Should You Do These Exercises?

There are many BENEFITS to doing original pencil drawing exercises, especially if you want to become a tattoo artist. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Develop Fine Motor Skills

Drawing exercises help you DEVELOP the fine motor skills required to create beautiful tattoos. As you practice, your hands will become more coordinated and precise.

2. Improve Line Quality

Good line quality is ESSENTIAL for tattoo artistry. Withdrawing exercises, you can slowly improve your line quality and make it smoother and more consistent.

3. Boost Creativity

Drawing exercises also help to BOOST your Creativity. You can experiment with different techniques and easy beginner tattoo ideas, play around with various concepts, or let your imagination run wild.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

The key is to make drawing exercises a regular part of your ROUTINE. Take some time every day to practice – even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Over time, you’ll see a steady improvement in your skills.

So don’t wait any longer – grab your pencil and paper, and get to work!

Pro Tip: Before you start, make sure your environment is conducive to creativity. Turn off any distractions, play some calming music, and light a candle or two.

Don’t forget to try these simple medusa tattoo ideas once you got perfection in the skill.

How To Start Practicing As A Beginner?

As a good tattoo artist, one of the best things you can do to improve your skills is to PRACTICE drawing exercises.

One way to approach drawing exercises is to choose a subject matter and then BREAK it down into manageable pieces.

beginner artist practicing one of the best drawing exercises for tattoo artists

For example, if you want to improve your portraits, you could practice drawing your eyes. Once you feel confident with that technique, you could move on to noses, mouths, and so forth.

Another approach is to use reference photos as inspiration for your drawings. Not only will this help you hone your skills, but it will also give you a chance to experiment with different styles and techniques.

Whatever approach you choose, remember that practice makes perfect. With enough dedication and perseverance, you will eventually become the tattoo artist you always wanted to be.

Looking for tips on how to come up with a tattoo idea that’s unique and personal to you? Our comprehensive guide is here to help you unleash your creativity and bring your dream tattoo to life!

Drawing Exercises For Tattoo Artists

If you are a new tattoo artist or you are looking to improve your skills, consider doing some of the following drawing exercises:

1. Observing An Expert

One of the best ways to learn anything is by OBSERVING those who are already experts.

If you know any professional tattoo artists, see if they would let you watch them work. Pay close attention to their techniques and try to IMITATE them in your work. Many tattoo artists are more than happy to share their knowledge, so don’t be afraid to ask.

beginner artist observing an expert practicing best of the drawing exercises for tattoo artists

You can also learn a lot by observing other artists’ work in person or online. Again, take note of their unique styles and see how you can apply them to your drawing [1].

2. Line Work Exercises

One of the most basic yet essential skills for any tattoo artist is the ability to draw STRAIGHT lines.

An excellent way to practice this is to take a sheet of paper and draw a line from one side to the other. Then, try to draw another line that is parallel to the first one.

Repeat this exercise until you feel confident in drawing crisp, straight lines. You can also try drawing wavy lines or curved lines. The key is to VARY your strokes and use different pressure levels to create exciting effects.

Pro Tip: Practice drawing straight lines with a pencil, then use a pen or marker when you feel confident.

3. Tracing

Tracing is often seen as a taboo in the art world, but it can be quite HELPFUL, especially for beginners. Find some simple images you’d like to tattoo and trace them onto paper.

tattoo artist practicing one of the best drawing exercises for tattoo artists

As you trace, pay close attention to the lines and shapes of the image. This will help you better understand how to RECREATE those shapes with your hand.

Once you’re comfortable with tracing, try drawing the same image from memory. This will help train your brain to see and remember complex shapes and patterns.

4. Shading

Shading is another essential skill for any tattoo artist. One way to practice shading is to draw a simple object on paper. Then, start with the lightest shade possible and work your way up to the darkest.

Pay close attention to how the light falls on the object and how that affects the shading. This will help you understand how to create realistic-looking tattoos.

Another way to practice shading is to use different objects with different textures. For example, you could try drawing a smooth object like a stone and then a rough object like a bark.

This will help you understand how to create different effects with your shading.

5. Building Up From Basic Shapes

One of the best ways to improve your drawing skills is to start with BASIC shapes and then build up from there. For example, you could start by drawing a simple circle. Once you have that down, you can move on to more complex shapes like squares, triangles, etc.

beginner artist practicing one of the best drawing exercises for tattoo artists

As you become more comfortable with these basic shapes, you can add details like eyes, nose, mouth, etc.

This exercise will help train your brain to see the world in basic shapes. This skill will be handy when tattooing as it will allow you to visualize the tattoo design better.

6. Experimenting With Different Styles

Lastly, try copying the style of your favorite tattoo artists. Pay close attention to their unique techniques and see how to apply them to your work.

You can also try experimenting with different mediums. For example, you could try drawing with charcoal or using a Wacom tablet. This will help you develop a more diverse set of skills you can use in your tattooing.

Pro Tip: Use a lightbox to help you with your drawings. This will make it easier to trace and draw complex shapes accurately.

During practice, you can also use beginner tattoo machines on the fake skin to get expertise in the skills.


How Often Should I Practice?

There is no magic number when it comes to practicing. Even if you can only spare 10 minutes daily, that’s still better than nothing. The key is to be consistent and put in the effort.

What Materials Should I Use?

beginner artist practicing one of the best drawing exercises for tattoo artists

You can use any paper and pencils for these exercises. However, I recommend using thicker paper (like Bristol board) [2] so the pencils don’t wear down too quickly. As for pencils, I recommend using HB or 2B pencils.

Should I Practice With Real Tattoo Designs?

No, you don’t need to practice with real tattoo designs. In fact, I recommend against it. Tracing real tattoo designs can be counterproductive as it doesn’t help you develop your skills and technique. Avoid using a tattoo machine until you’re confident with your drawing skills.


Basic drawing exercises are essential to honing your craft as a tattoo artist. These exercises can help you improve your skills and technique and can be done quickly.

Whether practicing basic shapes, shading or experimenting with different styles, these exercises will help you become a better tattoo artist.

So don’t forget to practice—your tattoos will thank you for it!

beginner artist practicing one of the best drawing exercises for tattoo artists

Did you ever think of these exercises before? Don’t forget to share your practices with us!


  • What Kind of Skills Do You Need to Be a Tattoo Artist? Work – Chron.com. Published 2012. Accessed November 18, 2022. https://work.chron.com/kind-skills-need-tattoo-artist-10934.html
  • art in context. What Is Bristol Paper? – Your Guide to the Different Types of Bristol Paper. artincontext.org. Published December 2021. Accessed November 18, 2022. https://artincontext.org/what-is-bristol-paper/#:~:text=Illustration%20board%20is%20often%20heavier,for%20artwork%20that%20needs%20preserving.
About Edith Russo

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