Gallery of freehand tattoos that can be filtered by subject, body part and size.read more
Freehand tattoos are designed with markers directly on to the skin, rather than using a printed stencil.
There is a bit more creative freedom and room for improvisation when working freehand. It's a process that also requires a lot of trust from the client, as the full piece usually won't be realized until the day of the session.
Larger tattoos that wrap around contoured body parts may not easily translate designs from a flat paper stencil. While 3D scanning software for tattooing is in development as of 2016, it's not yet widely used by the tattoo industry. For now, it is most common for artists to navigate large pieces by using markers for some or all of the development process.
At times, tattooers may lay a stencil and then adjust any flaws with freehand fixes. These pieces aren't traditionally called "freehand" though, because the majority of the design was still printed and premeditated.
Any kind of aesthetic or style can be achieved freehand; it's an optional method for any tattooer's tool box.