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Tattoo Design

In addition to creating original artwork for private collectors, I also take commissions for custom tattoos designs. Please review my guidelines below before contacting me. Examples of flash art and photographs of finished pieces can be seen in the gallery below.

Tattoo Design Guidelines


As a graphic artist with 17 tattoos of my own (all of which are my own designs), I believe that tattoos are a very personal form of expression meant to enhance both body and spirit and to last a lifetime. I work closely with my clients to create personalized designs that can be displayed with pride or shared intimately.

Please note that I draw tattoo designs ONLY and am not a tattooist. The artwork that I create will serve as a reference guide for the tattooist that you choose to work with. I typically provide original line art that can be used as a stencil (and framed later if you like) and a separate printed color guide.


Most of my clients come to me with specific design ideas which I'll develop further. I can also add to or modify existing tattoo designs. For cover-ups, please consult with your tattoo artist to see what's possible before commissioning a design.


Providing approximate measurements of the area to be tattooed in advance will help me calculate the size of the artwork and the final price. Reference material is always helpful but not totally necessary.


The only content restrictions I have are including someone's name in a design that isn't a blood relative (parent, child, or sibling). Family is forever but getting a lover or spouse's name inked on your body pretty much guarantees a break-up/divorce in your future and I don't want to be party to creating a design that someone is going to regret later on down the line.




The base price for black work and color designs starts at $250, modified by the size of the design, the complexity of the subject matter, and if the finished artwork is needed by a specific date - all of which is negotiated prior to my beginning work on the design.


All payment is in advance in US funds.


In addition to credit/debit card payments made through PayPal, I also accept the following forms of payment : Cash, check (personal or bank made out to Michael Manning or Z/Xero Image), money order, or wire transfer if you are prepared to pay the transfer charge (usually $25-35 US).


Cheque or money order payments should be sent to:


Z/Xero Image
attn: Michael Manning
1250 Long Beach Avenue (#323)
Los Angeles CA 90021


You will receive a hard copy of an invoice for the amount of the design and USPS insured shipping along with the original artwork.




To begin, I will provide you with a couple of pencil sketches to get a feel for the piece and to get some general feedback from you.


After we've worked out the basic design, the second stage will be a pencil drawing to scale with the final image. This will be emailed to you for your approval and/or any MINOR changes you request. If the basic design changes significantly at this stage or if a completely new direction is requested, the price of the piece will be renegotiated.


When the pencil design has been approved, I will ink the line art on 2-ply acid free bristol. This original artwork will be shipped to you and is what you will be bringing to your tattoo artist.


If you've commissioned a color design, I will add digital color to a scanned version of the line art. As with the line art, I'll send a digital file for your approval and can minor adjustments to suit your needs. A printed version of this color guide will be sent along with the original line art and is meant to be a reference for your tattoo artist. I can also provide you with a high dpi digital file if you would prefer to print it out yourself.


Any changes you wish to make to the design after this point must be negotiated with the tattoo artist who you'll be working with.


Finally, I ask that you provide me with some kind of photo documentation of the finished tattoo or that you allow me to photograph your tattoo after it has healed.




If you're ready to commission a tattoo design or have a question about something that wasn't covered above, please feel to get in touch with me through the Contact section of this site.

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