There are a few different ways to go about this type of tattoo process. The first is if you have a specific idea that you would like customized, I usually suggest you bring in the image you are wanting to customize along with other images or ideas of things you might like to add to it. I won’t necessarily copy any of these other images. They just serve as reference material for me to see what you are mentally picturing. At that point I can begin to change the original image to make it uniquely specific for you.
The second way to go about the customizing process is if you have a general idea but no specific imagery or known arrangement. I would have you research your ideas visually. You can look up pictures online of things you like that relate to your ideas. These images are usually just found though google images and can be any kind of things. They can be of other tattoos, though I don’t usually recommend that direction, though it can help me to see if you like a particular style or design. I like to find photos of things from life or possibly even art work. I don’t copy these images, I merely use them to try to get closer to what you are picturing in your mind. That way we can get to the good stuff quicker. Then we sit down at a consultation and talk about your ideas, thoughts and any particularities you would like to include or not include. We also figure out size and placement. After this consultation I also research the ideas and work up a sketch or multiple sketches depending on the piece. These consultations do cost $50 total because of the preliminary sketches and multiple meetings. I work on the sketches and we meet as many times as we need to before the appointment to make sure that everything is just the way you want it.
This is also the best way to do custom pieces that include small details, such as figures, geometric patterns, portraiture, ect. I like to have those things drawn up and planned out ahead for the best representation in the tattoo.
The third way to go about the customizing process is with free hand drawing. This is a very fun way to get tattooed and works very well for large pieces that are developed at one time. Sleeves or back pieces that begin with full layouts work very well this way.