(Last Updated On: April 10, 2020)

I am lucky to be able to do what I love every single day. My passion for tattoos is not only my full-time job, no its a lifestyle! But every now and then I actually say no to some requests from clients. I am going to list all the tattoos I refuse to make and try to explain why.

Remember, I am not saying that these are refused by all tattoo artists, they are just the ones that I refuse doing, by my own restrictions and experiences.

I want to be able to look at your tattoo and be proud of my work, even years later. I want you to be happy with the tattoo, and I want people to see it as a high-quality piece of art. To be able to put all that passion into your tattoo, I think it’s important that I “feel” your tattoo, get it? That I am into the groove of the tattoo etc…

So, without any more intro stuff and blah blah blahs, here is the list of what I refuse to tattoo:

1. Negative Reactions

I have had many requests that I think will provoke people in a negative way, and in my opinion, should not be permanently marked on a body. Usually, I ask the client to imagine that the tattoo is like a big wall in their house. If they would put this image on the biggest wall in their living room, filling up the entire wall like a mural or photo wallpaper. That way you see it all the time, when your reading a book, watching TV or having guests over… What about the Christmas dinner with your entire family, or when you have your kids friends over for a playdate? Do you still want that huge image to express the following?

Strong Political Messages or Statements

Well, I guess I could do a Donald Trump portrait just to make it super realistic and funny. I’m talking about strong political messages, like abortion laws or other political statements that make people react in a negative way. I don’t really care for it, it just doesn’t fit in my artistic style.


Racist or Nazi Motives

It goes without saying, that I will not make tattoos that have these motives. I once got a request for making a design including “White Power”. He never got tattooed by me…

Pro-Drug Motives

No, I don’t want to debate legalizing drugs. I don’t use drugs, and I won’t be associated with drugs in my art.

Images of Dead Infants and Stillborn Babies

Yes, you read it right. I have had several shocked parents that mourn their newly lost children. I could never imagine what they are going through, and I truly sympathize with their stories. But I also, in a very sensitive way, explain the wall-thing I mentioned earlier to them. This tattoo will remind you of this truly sad story every day for the rest of your life. You may think you want it to right now, but maybe not in a few years, when people still ask about the tattoo and the meaning of it. There are so many other beautiful ways to make a memorial tattoo that will keep your good feelings visible and not the sad ones, know what I mean?

Images that symbolize someone’s negative past

Once, there was this woman that came to me. She had just got out from a very negative and violent relationship and was very happy to finally be free. To celebrate this, she wanted to get a bird that is flying out of a cage. I told her that the cage will always be there, reminding her of the negativity. Instead, I asked if we could make just the free bird, with a beautiful surrounding instead, to symbolize the freedom and not the cage. She understood my point of view, and we went for it.


2. Fantasy Creatures

I have tattooed phoenixes and dragons during my years of tattooing. But I never felt the real passion while tattooing them. Because I truly love recreating realistic motives. I need photos as reference to feel safe, and that safety helps me to think crazy and be super creative. But I need the realism as the basics to build on. There are no photos of the following creatures, simply because they don’t exist:

  • Dragons
  • Unicorns
  • Angels
  • Phoenix
  • Gods and Goddesses (Thor, Odin, Hercules etc)

Check out: How to tell your parents about your new tattoo

3. Specific Body Placements

Difficult Placements

The skin is not the same all over the body. It changes from place to place. I have some favorite places to tattoo, and I have some places that I refuse to tattoo. Simply because I think they are too advanced places to make a truly awesome tattoo, that I get nervous. If I get nervous, you get nervous, cause the tattoo will not be my best work. You don’t want that. I don’t want that.

  • The Ribs – the skin is difficult, and it takes forever
  • Private Parts – I’m just not that into it

Body Placements that will ruin the tattoo

Some places heal extremely bad or even change shape over the years. These are from my own experience after tattooing for 18 years, I have seen how old portraits and animals or whatever look like many years later.

  • Again, The Ribs – so stretchy, my realism will become twisted over time.
  • Tummy – same as ribs, but especially portraits do not go well there.
  • Foot Under, Toes and Sides – it totally fades, so why even bother? The top is ok.
  • Fingers –  heals extremely bad, never stays nice over the years.

Related: 5 Huge Facts about Tiny Finger Tattoos


Related: The 10 most painful places to get tattooed

4. Several Tattoo Styles

As I said, I specialize in that I do best, and that is Realism. And I love colors. And coverups. I really enjoy Comics and Digital Art (if it’s really good). And I also like recreating famous paintings, making them into something new and fresh. But there are some specific styles that I can immediately say no to, and they are:

  • Old School, Traditional – leave it for the specialists.
  • Custom Script – not my greatest achievement really.
  • Font Text – Only if I can make it really advanced, like a nice Ad.
  • Geometric – Linework, Dotwork, Patterns, Blackwork, no, not for me…
  • Oriental – again, the dragons. And I don’t know the Japanese ways…
  • and many more…

Related: 20 Forbidden phrases in a Tattoo shop

5. Copying other tattoos

I am not a “Tattooer” or a “Tattooist”. I am a “Tattoo Artist”, I specialize in my artistic style. Even though I mostly do realism, I still make every design totally unique from scratch. Many people think all of this is bullshit since I am tattooing, I should just tattoo whatever the client wants. They are the ones paying me, so they should decide.

There was actually a guy who commented on my most popular youtube video when I talked about copying tattoos: “Imagine going to a restaurant and you want to get something from the menu, and the Chef sais No, he wants to create something else. It’s my money, you make me what I want!” My answer to that comment is: “Imagine going to a fancy restaurant for a luxury meal and you get served a reheated TV dinner from the supermarket down the street. That’s how I look at copied tattoos.

Imagine going to a fancy restaurant for a luxury meal and you get served a reheated TV dinner from the supermarket down the street. That's how I look at copied tattoos. Click To Tweet

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Tattoos I refuse making and why

There you have it. Those were all the tattoos I refuse making, and why.

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