How to draw a tribal tattoo

The tattoo creatively stands symbolic of the rebellious, fun, wild and free spirit. The eccentric, geometrically-designed tattoo that draws inspiration from history is termed the ‘tribal tattoo’. A tribal tattoo can be made in the simple steps enlisted below.

Difficulty level


Time Required

60-90 minutes

Resources Required

1. Tattoo design book

2. Sharpened pencil

3. Eraser

4. Marker

5.Tracing paper

6.Graph sheet


1. The basic step to getting any tattoo is to decide exactly what you want. You might want something abstract and out-of-the-box or the simple, traditional tribal tattoo. Draw accordingly.

2. Draw out the fundamental shape. The traditional tribal tattoo is based on lines and curves. However you can add your two bit with desired patterns, for instance skulls, dragons, animal heads et cetera.

3. The next step is to draw lines opposite to the basic ones. The thickness of the tattoo depends on you, but women generally prefer thinner, curvy lines as they give their tattoo a more feminine appeal.

4.Check the design book time to time for any corrections. You may need to add or remove a few things here and there.

5. Detail your tattoo with spirals, swirls and spikes. Make sure that the detailing is done neatly and is connected to the basic lines.

6. Outline the whole design with the black marker.

7. Erase the pencil marks.

8. You may or may not want to color your tattoo. Use pencils if you want color and add interest to the otherwise black tattoo with bright colors.

Frequently asked questions

1. Question. Why are tribal tattoos so popular?

Answer. These are a rage mainly because of the meaning behind them. In olden days, they served the purpose of conveying a religious or spiritual belief. That has now transformed into various convictions or messages that people want to express.

2. Question. What are the designs used most in a tribal tattoo?

Answer. As they derive their origins from the medieval era, tribal tattoos mostly used tribal suns, Celtic knots, flames, dragons, totems and scorpions.

3. Question. How much would it cost to order a tribal design?

Answer. Ordinarily, It would cost around $20 – $30 for a tribal tattoo design.

Quick Tips

1. Tribal tattoos are usually made on the arm so make sure your design follows the arm-band pattern.

2. In case of symmetrical pattern, draw a copy on a tracing paper, flip it over and transfer your symmetrical counterpart on the main sheet.

3. For the basic outline of the tattoo, use graph paper for a more measured, professional design.

4. Refer books on tattoo design and the internet for the various interesting patterns and styles.

5. You might want to embellish your tattoo with body glitter and bigger adhering sparkles when it is finally used on the body.

Things to watch out for

1. Draw with a pencil first and then use the marker over it, for a more careful approach.

2. Careful with the marker! Follow the pencil lines diligently.

3. Make sure the pencil is sharp to enjoy a better, neater shape and avoid excess erasing.

4. Erase lightly, lest you should lose the design you made.

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