TattooFinder Closing for Business - Tattoo Designs


As of December 28th, 2014® permanently discontinued the sale of Tattoo Friendly® artwork -- tattoo designs and stencils specifically created for use as tattoo reference.

The website was the right idea, at the right time, and was conceived and constructed in the right way. But as is inevitable in life, times change. Most specifically, the internet changed and the tattoo industry changed. Online, other large websites emerged that, like, allowed website visitors to browse huge numbers of tattoo designs. While these other websites didn't provide artwork ready to be tattooed, nor did they provide the stencils tattooists need to apply the tattoo, they were able to "scrape" images from other sites (usually tattoo photos) at no charge to customers . . . and with no compensation to artists. Ultimately, could not compete against these FREE services.

And the tattoo industry too, changed. More and more people wanted CUSTOM tattoos, but didn't understand how Tattoo Friendly® artwork could play an important role in the custom design development process. Our third book, Custom Tattoo 101 (more information below) discusses this at great length. had a GREAT run for many years helping people find their "perfect tattoo designs" and providing opportunities for some of the worlds best artists to profitably share their talents with millions of people around the world. We want to send out a heart-felt THANKS to all of you who have supported and enjoyed the use of over the years!

Any designs & stencils previously purchased on are no longer available to customers for downloading or printing. One of the greatest benefits of the sale model was that designs & stencils were available to download and/or print IMMEDIATELY after a purchase was made. Our Product Agreement customers agreed to when making a purchase included the value added service that allowed customers to return to their purchased artwork at a later date to access purchased designs & stencils as long as we were able to provide this service. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to continue providing this service to customers.

We took the following steps to notify customers that the website would be shutting down its sales of tattoo designs & stencils on December 28, 2014 and that downloading/printing of designs & stencils would no longer be available after that date:

  • We emailed all customers and website visitors who had verified their account email addresses with us to notify them of this information
  • We created a transitional notification page with this information that was displayed to all website visitors upon entering the website
  • We disseminated this information through our various social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, as well as putting the information out through the RSS/news feed.

We believe that taking the above steps to notify customers that would be shutting down its sales of tattoo designs & stencils on December 28th, 2014 and notifying customers that they would be unable to access (download/print) previously purchased designs & stencils after this date constitutes an earnest effort on our part to deal fairly with our valued customers.

If you have questions, you can email us at but please note that with our primary website systems, our databases and our image storage systems offline, we have no way to access designs & stencils that customers previously purchased, and we have no way to make this artwork available to customers online, nor do we have the capability to email any designs or stencils to customers. Additionally, due to our privacy policies with our artists, we are unable to provide tattoo seekers with artist contact information. If you want to contact a artist directly, your best bet is to do an internet search on their artist name and see if they make their own personal webpage or Facebook page available to the public.

I just received sad news that one of the best companies I ever worked for is going out of was so great to me, they even had a line in their new employee hire contract that would automatically provide a personal Zombie Portrait by me to hang in their Colorado offices to make them feel like more part of the 'family!' I love you guys and you will be sadly missed...Thanks Lou! - Rob Sacchetto, Artist via Facebook

Thanks! You will always be on us for life. - Laurie M., Customer via email

Sorry to see you are closing up business. I purchased the stencil for my very first tattoo through your website.  I wish you all the best. - Dave R., Customer via customer support ticket

So sorry it didn't work out towards the end brother ... but it sure was fun while it lasted! provided a real way for me to earn money as an artist, and that helped me out with a lot of things. I really appreciate your motivating and inspiring me with my art, and for providing me the access through to share my art with those around the world. I felt so much freedom not having think about how to sell pictures or flash that I drew -- that you guys were handling that. My experience was so well worth it! - Demon Dean, Artist via email 

I am so sorry to hear your site is shutting down. I've purchased designs from you in the past. Best wishes to all. - Goku R., Customer via email

Very sad news about closing. I want to thank you for a remarkable opportunity to be involved with a team of such excellent artists! - Sergey Furmanov, Artist via email

Sorry to hear that guys ... you really did a great service to A LOT of people! Best of luck in your future endeavors. - Chris J., Customer via email

Thanks for all of your hard work. We did really well together for a while, and we go out with dignity. - Joe Butt, Artist via email

Sorry to hear you are closing. I have gained inspiration and spent many hours looking at your collection of works over the years and made three purchases which I turned into my sleeve. Thank you - your work will forever be a part of me! - Martyn R., Customer via email closing for business? NOOOOOOOOO! - Johnny R., Facebook Visitor

As one of the old guard artists who sent in early inception submissions to the company, ran the artist forum, tested the website and iterations of the onsite shop model, I am so sorry to hear about the company closing up shop.  It certainly was an interesting ride to say the least and I'm proud to have been a part of it alongside all of you and appreciate your friendship greatly. I'm personally quite bummed to see go. Thank you for the honor of being affiliated with Flash2xs, TattooFinder, you Lou, Rachael, Edward, and all the great artists that helped leave such a creative impression figuratively and literally upon the tattoo fraternity. Eternally grateful. - Ryon Shane 'Endorpheus' Hall, Artist via email

I wish you all the very best for the future and thank you very much for your service. Take care! - Alicia C., Customer via email

Sorry to see such a fantastic site disappear i have 5 tattoos all from this site and each one of them i cherish. Thanks for all the great designs! Where will i go now for design ideas for any future tattoos? Thanks once again. - Brian T., Customer via customer support ticket

Im really sorry to hear about the website shutting down, but I fully understand your decision. It was my pleasure to have done great business with you through all these years. Im really proud to have been involved! - George, Artist via email shutting down sucks. - Ryan M., Facebook Visitor

What a bummer you guys are shutting down. Both my tats were from the ones I bought on here. Sorry to see you go. - Bonnie A., Customer via email

On the one hand, it's a pity that the business will not go on any longer, but on the other hand, the experience we have all had will be a valuable experience for all of us in the future.We really appreciated your accurate and fair work over the years, your detailed reports, the events, the TattooFinder books in stores around the world, and very importantly, for the good memory of you and the team. Thank you for the wonderful partnership! - Anton & Lia Shell, Artists via email

Sorry to see you go. I got my first, and best, tattoo art from you. Thanks. - Janet W., Customer via email

Tattoo Sourcebook

Tattoo Sourcebook

A lush sourcebook of nearly two thousand tattoo designs from artists around the world. From the editors of TattooFinder, it's a fantastic compendium for people who want to think before they ink! Whether you're tattoo-curious or tattoo-crazy, The Tattoo Sourcebook has everything you need to pick and choose the perfect design for you. Browse the nearly two thousand designs included - everything from Celtic and tribal to butterflies and fairies. It's a visual compendium of high-quality, detailed designs from artists all over the world including contributions and commentary from famed tattooists Friday Jones (who inked Angelina Jolie and Janeane Garofalo), Lyle Tuttle (who tattooed Cher and Jane Fonda), Guy Aitchison, Rand Johnson, Edward Lee, and more. And if you're a tattoo newbie, find out everything you need to know before you get inked. Crosses, dragons, astrological signs, snakes, phoenixes, and more - this is a treasure trove of inspiration for anyone whose tattoo itch is starting to burn!

Available at book retailers worldwide.

Tattoo Sourcebook at

"Essential" Tattoo Sourcebook at Barnes & Noble



Thinking of getting a tattoo? How about celtic spiral dragon on your bicep or flowers and butterflies on your lower back? Getting a tattoo is all about really connecting with an image or idea and wanting to make it a permanent statement in your life. You want to prepare as much as you can before the procedure takes placewhich makes Tattoo-Pedia the perfect resource!

Tattoo-pedia includes thousands of designs to choose from when picking your next--or your very first--tattoo. What you choose will depend on your tattoo style, and this beautiful and easy-to-use guide will help you figure out how much creative control you need and how much money you want to spend. Youll also find information on placement and finding an artist.

From personalized to custom to couture, from celtic to tribal, from fairies to wings, Tattoo-Pedia is the complete guide to body art.

Available at book retailers worldwide.

Tattoo-Pedia at

Tattoo-Pedia at Barnes & Noble

Custom Tattoo 101

Custom Tattoo 101


The following is an excerpt from the new "Custom Tattoo 101" book to release in 2015 . . .

While anything visual can be used as tattoo reference (just like in most visual arts), some types of reference work better than others for particular types of tattoos. Additionally, because the skin is a specific art medium, not everything you see visually can be directly recreated as a tattoo. The following information details the benefits and drawbacks of using different types of visual reference customers typically bring to a tattoo artist.

Reference Type Benefits Drawbacks
Photo of an object Best use is for objects that aren't commonly used as tattoo themes. If you want a tattoo of an old diving helmet (not a common tattoo theme), it might be best to browse photos of a helmet such as this online. Additionally, if you want an animal (like a deer) in a specific pose, best is to bring a photo of the animal in the pose you like, along with any Tattoo Friendly® reference you find representing the style you like. If you bring an actual object to a tattooist (like say, perhaps a 50s style womans hat), the tattooist will most likely photograph it and then use that photograph as their reference. Almost anything depicted in a photo will need to be translated into something that can actually be tattooed. Even if you want the final tattoo to be photo-realistic, the tattooist will first need to create the structure (stencils) for the tattoo based on the photo, and will most likely need to make modifications in one way or another for the ink to hold up well on skin over time. Many customers over the years have been disappointed having found a photo they felt would make a perfect tattoo only to find that the image could not be recreated on skin in the way they wanted.
Photo of a person A photograph of a person (or pet) is the best source of reference possible if you want to get a portrait tattoo. Photographs can also be used to convey particular positions or poses you want a person (or caricature) in a tattoo to have (jumping, swimming, reaching, etc.). Like above, any photo will need to be first translated into a tattoo. Some tattooists first recreate the image on paper with much detail, others use only a basic framework from the photo. If you want to see the recreation on paper first, you may need to negotiate this with your tattooist. WARNING: If you want to get a portrait tattoo, make sure you find a tattooist who specializes in doing this type of work and examine their portfolio carefully (they should provide both the original photo and the tattoo in their portfolio). Portraits can be one of the most difficult tattoos to do because there is no room for error. If anything goes wrong, it will not look like the person (or pet) its supposed to.
Logo / copyrighted artwork You will not be able to find Tattoo Friendly® reference for common sports team logos, Disney characters, apparel logos, etc. because artists do not have licensing rights from the copyright holders. Note: Often people want logos or characters to be incorporated into a larger tattoo. If this is the case, its best to bring in your logo/cartoon reference AS WELL AS Tattoo Friendly® reference for whatever other elements you want in your tattoo. Any tattoos of this type, too, will need to first be translated into tattooable artwork. The good news is that in general, logos and cartoons tend to be fairly simple and can usually be converted into tattoos quite easily. Printed reference you find from books, packaging, or online can all work well as reference for these types of tattoos.
Computer type / font Tattoos of the written word have continued to grow in popularity (some tattooists specialize in this work, others wont do it at all). Computer fonts / typefaces can be used as reference for tattoos of writing (and many tattooists provide many font samples in their shops). Because writing is basically line art, just about ANY handwriting can also easily be used as tattoo reference (tattooists will simply trace it for their stencils). Tattooists too can oftentimes freehand more common tattoo writing styles, but be prepared to tell them you dont like what theyve produced if youre not happy with it. Some computer fonts will need to be modified to work well as a tattoo. If you want a tattooist to freehand writing for you, best is to find samples of the style (or styles you like (cursive, thug, Gothic, etc.). TIP: Many designs contain a multitude of words in various writing styles, and you can use only the text in these designs as reference of a style you like and not whatever design is included. Many tattooists will be able to take whatever letters are provided in that reference to recreate the missing letters needed and match that style.
Photo of another tattoo Its often been said that, Emulation is the highest form of flattery. However in this case, most see using a photo of another persons tattoo as stealing a tattoo. Some might still use another persons tattoo photo as general jumping off point for your tattoo. Honestly, most tattooists HATE it when customers bring in photos of other peoples tattoos as reference (even if told, I want this but make it different). First, a photo of a tattoo is just a lot of extra work to use in design development. When redrawing the design, they are inevitably going to have to remove the contours of how the tattoo naturally wraps around the body part (essentially, completely redraw the design). Second, most tattooists dont want other people stealing tattoos they created in collaboration with their clients, and they are hesitant to steal the work of other tattooists and their clients.
Free tattoo artwork A multitude of free tattoo artwork (tattoo designs) can be found all over the internet. Again, just about any visual reference can be used as tattoo reference. Particularly when looking for tattoo ideas, any artwork can stir the imagination. Most likely the free artwork you find will ultimately need to be translated into a workable tattoo, and accurate stencils will need to be created for the tattooist to apply the ink. The old adage stating you get what you pay for holds true here. Most free tattoo designs you find online dont have stencils, and the quality of the stencils when provided is questionable. Additionally, anyone can create a design and post it online as tattoo art whether they know what works as a tattoo or not (and whether they are skilled artistically or not). Ask yourself, if you were a skilled artist making a living from your flash art, would you post it for free online?
Subscription tattoo designs This used to be a more pervasive concept than it is today (due in part to better enforcement of copyright law). There are some legitimate websites that sell a subscription to access a bunch of artwork to use as reference as tattoos. Generally, the legitimate websites are such that an artist is selling a subscription to his own designs. Most (not all) subscription based tattoo art websites unfortunately dont have the legal right to sell you a subscription. They scrape up the free artwork they find online from other websites and sell you a package of what they find, usually without permission by (or even knowledge of) the artist. The biggest drawback is that you see only a preview of the designs included (usually the best they have found) and you dont really know what you get (and dont get) until after you pay for it. Also, most subscription based tattoo design websites dont include stencils (and if they do, they will most likely be of poor quality).
Tattoo flash at a studio This old school approach to finding tattoo reference can still be used today. More and more studios dont hang tattoo flash on their walls, probably due to the stigma associated by some with tattoo flash, and peoples desire for what they consider to be custom tattoos. But many shops still have great reference hanging on their walls (or in portfolios) you can browse. Another benefit is that you will have a tattooist on hand that can answer your questions and bounce ideas off of. The main drawback to browsing tattoo flash on a studio wall is the same today as it always has been. If you find a design on the wall you really like, you are more or less stuck getting tattooed at the studio where you found it. If it turns out you like the studio / tattooist, this isnt a problem. Also, while all tattoo flash artwork was created with the intention of it being tattooed, the designs may be shown smaller than they can actually be tattooed. Its also important to make sure the tattooist checks to verify the stencil actually matches the design. Finally, using this approach to finding reference, you may experience the salesmanship of a tattooist who wants your business. If this doesnt bother you, this too may not be a problem.
Fine art If you want the Mona Lisa as a tattoo (as many have done), youre going to need to bring your tattooist a picture/photo of the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa you actually get inked, of course, will be a tattoo version of the Mona Lisa that your tattooist has made into a tattoo. This is true for all fine art reference used for tattoos. Working with an artistically gifted tattooist to create a new rendition of artwork you love on your skin can produce some amazing tattoos. Like with a Couture tattoo, you probably need to be willing to let go of reigns of creative control and be familiar enough with the tattooists artistic style to feel confident that you will like the end result. Conversely, this would be another situation where you may want to plan on spending more money in the design development process and see your tattooists rendition of the art fully developed on paper before tattoo application begins.
Tattoo Friendly® reference What you see is what you get. Tattoo Friendly® design reference is made to be used as tattoo reference, and ensured to meet specific quality control standards that make this an ideal tattoo design reference resource. was the only source for true Tattoo Friendly® design reference (because developed the quality control standards involved). Unfortunately, because no longer sells tattoo designs & their corresponding stencils, true Tattoo Friendly® reference is no longer available.

While we at, LLC (owners and operators of have completed our journey by ending single tattoo design & stencil sales to end consumers, there may be others out there who have ideas about taking hold of the torch and running with it in new, innovative directions. If you are interested in acquiring the brand (and/or assets), please email a short proposal and business plan to:

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