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How To Design Cross Tattoos

I get asked all the time, "How do you design your cross tattoos, and do you ever run out of ideas?". Well honestly, no I never run out of ideas and I find it easy to design cross tattoos. I obviously reply in a way that doesn't make me sound all big headed and arrogant. Typically the people who ask me questions like this are usually art students or people who are trying to get into the world of tattoo flash so they can sell their tattoo designs to studios. In this article I will offer some of my own tips on how to design cross tattoos and some of the processes I take when creating cross designs.

How to make the cross symmetrical

First of all, I am assuming you already have some drawing ability. You don't need to be Michaelangelo, but you need to be able to at least hold a pencil and draw a somewhat straight line and are okay at drawing fluid shapes, like curves, arcs and ovals. So get yourself a piece of a paper, a sharp pencil and make sure to have an eraser close by. A cross is a symmetrical shape, so therefore seems tricky to draw for an amateur artist because they know they have to draw two halves equally. Well I can tell you right now that a cross does not need to be symmetrical in the world of tattoo designs. For instance if your drawing in a tribal style then it works better if the cross is not symmetrical. But if you wish to make your cross tattoo designs symmetrical then you only have to draw one side, then with this image you scan it in on the computer, then use a program like microsoft publisher and copy and paste the image then flip it and there you have it, your cross is whole. Doing it this way saves a lot of time and is much more practical. If you don't have a software program capable of this process then you can always get a piece of tracing paper, and trace over the image then flip the paper over and go over the lines creating the second half.

Designing cross tattoos

They way I design cross tattoos is pretty straight forward. I already have a style in mind before I start sketching. So if for example I am wanting to knock out a set of tribal cross tattoo designs, I will sketch out several vertical lines on a piece of paper, and then mark out how wide and tall I want to make each cross. I will then sketch in just one half of the cross, adding in swirls, spikes and curves, and then once I'm happy with the shape I will go around it using a fine line pen. I don't have to draw the other side of the cross because I can copy and paste the half I've already designed and then just flip it and join both sides together on microsoft publisher. So once you've already designed one cross on your piece of paper your creative juices should be flowing quite nicely and you can start to create more crosses making each one different from the last. You could start to mix it up a bit by adding in some imagery like, flowers, vines, and hearts or stars for example.

*Note* when designing tattoos for studios you want to be able to supply them with the line art stencil, so make sure to draw around your images using a fine line pen and then remove all unwanted pencil marks with an eraser then scan in the designs onto your computer. This way you will have a copy of the line drawings. When I first started out I would do it the other way around, I would shade in my designs, then I would trace over the image creating the line drawing. It is much more simpler to create the line drawing first then shade it in. This way you know for sure that the line art is an exact fit for the design.