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Tattoo Artists Explain Which Pieces They Refused To Ink On A Client

Anything but that!

Tattoo Artists Explain Which Pieces They Refused To Ink On A Client

Sometimes the requests people make of those who are artists and those in a form retail and service can be going a tad over the line. We battle everyday with our abilities of what actions we can and cannot stand behind.

It's a burning topic currently. Whether it's a who your willing to bake a cake for or who you're willing to draw on. The most important question is.... why?

Redditor u/counturowndamnbeans wanted to hear from tattoo artists about ink that is a no-no by asking.... Tattoo Artists: What's the worst tattoo someone has asked you to do that you've refused?

Not Legal!


I once refused to tattoo a girl and her father complained to me by yelling at me from about 2 feet away.

She was 14 (legal age where I live is 18) and she wanted her boyfriends name above her eye.

She was willing to compromise to her hand though.

No. HaymirGaming

Scar Tissue.

My buddy said a dude asked him to draw pubes in for him because he couldn't grow them. Mizamagician



That I can see, there's a whole cosmetic tattoo industry. I was walking up a set of concrete steps when I was a kid. I tripped and fell, scraping my eyebrow. Hair never grew back in that part of my left eyebrow because of the scar. I considered getting eye brow hairs tattooed over the scar tissue. But it's really a small gap and very few people notice. For awhile, I was penciling it in to avoid the gap.

You can even get eyeliner and lip liner tattooed on. Given my eyeliner ends up near my freakin' eyebrows thanks to menopausal hot flashes, I'm considering it. exscapegoat

The First Tattoo.....

Once I was waiting at a shop, and a family came in because their teenage son wanted a hatchet man tattoo. My artist begrudgingly agreed to do the ink and sent them back to get ready. He walks over to me and tells me how much this kid is going to regret this stupid tattoo and he normally has morals about what he will put onto people. But he really needed the money and the whole family was excited about his first tattoo.

While the kid was getting his future regrets permanently applied, the dad was super excited to show me his "penis that hangs below his knee." He rolls up his pant leg to reveal a huge full-color tattoo of a rooster hanging from a noose, positioned below his knee. WKndWarrior10

A Vague Memory. 

It was much earlier in my career when I worked at a shop outside the city and closer to countryside. Got a request for a deer holding a hunting rifle with a tribal style cross in the background. Icing on the cake is he wanted the deer to be silhouetted, not with your typical black but with the Confederate flag pattern and colors. Have a vague memory of barbed wire somehow being in the mix. ClassyFarts



Once a young kid 21 came in and wanted Shrek around his penis and testicles (not on it). It would look like Shrek was opening his mouth and his junk came out. That was the easiest no I've ever given. Azores76

The Trunk.

Have a friend who's a tattoo artist, once had a woman come into his shop and ask for a full sized ruler tattooed on her inner thigh because "she was tired of guys lying to her." Another guy wanted his penis to have an elephant trunk tattoo with matching elephant ears on each thigh, buddy told him "I'm sure you can get it done but I'm not doing it." This dude proceeds to ask every artist in the shop only to be turned down and sent out to look for another shop. Duke159

Rip the Nail. 

A guy wanted a tattoo under his thumbnail, like he was gonna rip the nail off, then come in to the studio so he could get a tattoo that would eventually be protected by a new thumb nail. bloodectomy

When people want 50 million things in one design- they need a dream catcher with Harry Potter symbols, their kids dates of birth in Roman numerals, plus an infinity symbol feather with bird silhouettes coming off it, also it needs to be 3cm long and cost £10 -_-

Just Weird.


I love tattooing dumb stuff though, I did a guy's bosses initials under his big toe, couple of days ago a guy came in for "Big Fool Only" on his ankle. One guy got "keep on rolling" around his nipple as his first tattoo. Workmen are usually the ones to get weird stuff 😂 got tons of stories of stuff like that. bearman-bao


A tattoo of Deadpool, tattooing Deadpool on the butt of yet another Deadpool. To recap; that's three realistic Deadpool's in one tattoo he wanted on his tiny arm. tinawww

X marks the Spot.

Wasn't me but when I got my first tattoo I asked what was the worst they'd done, turns out a girl came in drunk and wanted "do me here" in huge letters on her stomach with a arrow pointing downward. This was in Majorca for anyone wondering. Maddox-Vol2



As with everyone else not a tattoo artist but asked the guy who does mine. He said he had a World War Two fanatic who was a regular and got a lot of battle scene stuff and WW2 nostalgia tattoos. The final piece he wanted was a portrait piece on his back of Hitler and Churchill. TA refused as he didn't want to be associated with tattooing Hitler on someone but said the guy wasn't racist or anything just a huge WW2 buff. JPKlaus

"because I have your's on mine."

My now ex husband wanted his name on my body "because I have your's on mine." The artist came to my house (small town) and we discussed it at length. I wanted ink but didn't want a brand so he did the letters small, on my shoulder past the bra strap line, and in pink. My ex wasn't happy about it so the guy said "it looks feminine." Patience2Spare

Don't be a Butthole...

I asked my tattoo artist this question and they said a stripper wanted him to tattoo her butthole. He declined without asking what the design was. barclayad

The Ex.


My friend got drunk and tried to get a tattoo of his ex. Half way through the tattoo (early stages) the tattoo artist realizes it's his ex (because they started talking and shit. My friend's very well thought through plan was to present the tattoo to his ex and get her back. So the artist tells him to get sober and come back the next day, refusing to finish the tattoo. My friend makes a fuss, but agrees.

The next day my friend comes back and the artist offers several sketches on what he can do with the outline he started, refusing to finish it as the friend's ex. He ended up getting an astronaut staring at moon. One of the most cool looking tattoos I have ever seen.

Edit: due to popular demand I included a sketch of the tattoo, since I couldn't reach the friend at the moment, haven't seen him in a while. The initial outline of her face was covered with the moon, and the artist added the astronaut floating in the space. Kinda like that famous photo of astronaut floating alone in the space, but he wasn't facing the camera, but the moon. So it looked super cool. _Pornosonic_

"maybe you should get her as the devil, cuz she's doin' you dirty." 

My artists had the sense to realize that I was getting a tattoo of my cheating wife as an angel on my arm because my pet name for her was "my little angel." His brother was having sex with my wife. His brother had shown him a picture of the girl he was messing "with her loser husband." Jake kept his mouth shut, since he had just tattooed me a couple months before, and recognized not just me, but his own very unique artwork on my arm.

I went back to him because he was a total G, a great artist, and a good person. He saved me from years of heartache in two ways. Be like jake who says things like, "maybe you should get her as the devil, cuz she's doin' you dirty." I'll never forget the immediate feeling of "he knows something I don't," because it was one of the only times it's ever been correct. demonchefofportland


Not an tattoo artist but when I was getting my sleeve finished I asked the guy doing mine this and he said a guy came in wanting a tattoo of trump shooting Obama. Brittan1985

Don't be Drunk.


Worst request I ever got. Extremely drunk college girl came in wanting her exes name tattooed around her a-hole because apparently and I quote "he was a God at eating butt." Told her to come back sober that I wasn't going to. Next day her friend came in and apologized and gave me $20 for not being a fool.

Also part 2. This younger guy came in with a fake ID the girl that used to run our front desk spotted it right away and called me over. I asked what he was wanting done and he proceeded to tell me he wanted a swastika in memory of his dad. Ok well shop policy no racist or gang tats I explain this and he's cool. He comes back a few days later absolutely shit faced demanding I do this tattoo because he is a customer and I have to take his money if he wants it. I finally get sick of listening to the little fool complain and tell him flat out no. He didn't like that and said he would call his dad. Same dad he said he wanted the memorial tattoo of. We all called him out and he realized he fucked up sprinted out of the shop and ran right into a parked car and knocked himself out. Ambulance and cops come talk to us then leave. Never saw him again. lorepandatv

On the Butt cheek. 

One dude asked if I'd do a taint tattoo. I didn't even ask what he wanted. Big ol' no from me dawg.

Another funny one we didn't say no to, it just didn't happen for whatever reason, was this dude asking for a caricature of Trump on his butt cheek. Sad days when he no call/no showed his appointment. ImChz

Your Best Life. 

Had a woman come in asking for a face tattoo, she wanted "my best life" on her temple (Jesus ever-loving christ). Normally I will refuse to tattoo someone's face unless they are another tattoo artist or they are already heavily covered in tattoos. She was heavily covered so I ok-ed it after suggesting several other spots first.

Now let me say this lady was weird. Rambling about me being her girl and I was gonna make it tight and a whole bunch of other nonsense I was trying to tune out. I'm about 50% sure she was on something, but she signed a waiver claiming she wasn't and I didn't want to be like "hey, are you on drugs or just looney?"

Anyway, I put the stencil on and she goes to check it out in the mirror. She looks all confused "I can't read it." I remind her that it's backwards because she's looking in a mirror and after taking a minute to ponder that revelation she's like "can I get it backwards so that when I look in the mirror I can read it?" Hell. I try politely to point out how absolutely brain-dead that is, but she's getting herself all hyped for this idea so I have to straight up just be like "I'm not putting backwards writing on your face."

I did tattoo her, but I didn't tattoo illegible nonsense on her face, so hopefully that counts. I've also turned down swastikas and confederate flags, but those stories aren't as interesting, just run of the mill racists. ctatmeow

Just No.


The only time I refused to do a tattoo was because this guy was creepy, everything was off. Insistent, trying to lower the price, I don't know... I just didn't want to give him an address at all. I can't explain it, sometimes I just get this sensation, my whole body tells me "no, if you do this, you'll end up in the trunk of a car" and I always trust myself so yeah. No tattoo for the guy that, by the way, claimed his wife was a tattoo artist too if it's true, she'll do it lol. dovahkitch

The Bush....

My dad actual owns a tattoo shop (ironically he's the only piercer) but anyways, when I was talking to one of the artist, they told me that someone wanted to get George W. Bush on their upper thigh so they could say, "Hey want to see my bush?" She didn't end up getting it tattooed but darn I thought it was hilarious. chyyy05


Tattoos have a history that goes back thousands of years and spans the globe. The book Vintage Tattoo Flash: 100 Years of Traditional Tattoos from the Collection of Jonathan Shaw, available here, is just one small piece of that amazing art form.