tattoo FAQ

I get a lot of questions about tattoos. Almost every day. So, let me answer the most common ones:

Be Not Afraid tattoo and cross on back tattoo, designed by Scott Erickson.
Bottle With Love Tattoo on arm and Hermit Crab tattoo on arm, both designs by Scott Erickson.

Can I get one of your designs as a tattoo?

Yes! I’m totally cool with you utilizing my art as an image you’d want on your body forever. Please use anything you like. I only ask you to send me a picture of the finished piece!

Can I compensate you for using your art?

Absolutely. The best way to do this would be to send some money via

PayPal at

Venmo or CashApp at scottthepainter

Everything is welcome and thank you for your generosity!

Can I hire you to design a tattoo for me?

I’m honored by your ask but I’m on a long vacation from tattoo design. One of the things that I think is going on with this question though is that you just don’t know where to start. I wrote down some thoughts below on how to take steps to getting the right tattoo for you!

6 rules to get the right tattoo

1. Got an idea? Sit on it for 6 months...

If you have a great idea… awesome! That’s the hardest part about a tattoo… deciding what you want. But now that you’ve decided on what you want…. sit on it for 6 months. Why? Because what you want is to have an idea that you’ll love for a long time… and not something you just caught up with in the moment. It’s hard to say no in the zeal of the moment. But trust me. Taking the time to make sure you’ll love this image longer than a month will pay off in the end.

2. Draw it on you beforehand...

While you’re waiting, here’s what you can do. Print it out on transfer paper, or get a friend who can draw decently, and have them sharpie it on the place you were thinking. Why you ask? One, you are going to have this image on you the rest of your life, and if you’re embarrassed by some permanent marker line drawings then think about when you have something that will never come off except by a painful laser surgery. Also, it’s good to see what your image will look like on that body part of yours. Sometimes what we imagine in our heads and what it looks like in reality are quite different. What’s the harm in having a practice round?

3. Imagine your parents with it...

No matter how much you fight it, you will look like your parent of the same sex one day. Imagine this tattoo on them presently. If you think it would still look great in their season of life, golden sauce. Remember though, you have a long life ahead of you and you will change throughout the seasons of life. Your tattoo will as well. It’ll fade, stretch, and sag along with you. So it doesn’t hurt to try to imagine yourself 30 years from now with whatever you want to get.

4. Base it in a story...

When anyone and everyone finds out you have a tattoo, they will ask to see it and will ask you about it. Getting a tattoo is not only about being marked with something permanently, but it’s also about permanently having to tell the same story over and over again. I would propose that whatever idea you land on should be based in some kind of story you love and want to tell over and over again. Something about your life, something you learned, something you believe in, something you want to remember. I guarantee you the intentionality of depth in this decision process will pay off in the long run.

5. Base it in a rooted genre...

Bob Dylan said it best: “… Times, they are a changing.” Taking that phrase and putting it into the conversation we are having, I would say “… Trends, they are a changing.”  If you decide to get something that’s trendy at the time, you run the chance of it losing it’s relevancy in years to come. Unless you do number 1 and 4 well and base it in a well thought out meaningful personal story. But even then the idea may not trump the design… and you’ll lose the longevity in style and design you were hoping for.

Tattoos have been around for a long long time and there are many well developed aesthetic genres for you to base your idea into. Sailor Jerry is one of the most well known genres… and it’s hugely popular. That style will never lose it’s relevance because of the number of years its been around and the cultural clout it has under it’s belt. It’s a strong genre to base your idea into and it will accomplish the longevity you are hoping for. Same with Japanese forms.  Or Russian Prison tattoos. Or Māori art. New American style. A well-rooted genre adds long lasting weight to your tattoo.

6. Work with a tattoo artist you want to work with...

It’s on you til you die. You don’t want it to suck. Do the research of finding a good tattoo artist. Ask around. You probably have friends with tattoos. Ask them who did theirs. Or even random people you don’t know but you see have killer tattoos. Ask them where they got their inking done. And when you find out about an artist, go to their shop, meet them, look at their books, and make sure you like what they do before they carve this image permanently into your skin. Remember…. you’re working with an artist. Find one you're like… then trust their expertise. They have trained to be good shepherds of your journey.…So there you go! Six simple rules when deciding to get a tattoo. I have a tattoo board on Pinterest and if you would like to see good examples of well thought out tattoos, click here and give a looksy.