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Why do i draw?

Why do i draw?

I had the idea of writing this blog in order to explain why I do draw. One of my clients asked me the other day, why do you draw? So that made me think, and it inspired me to explain why.

First of all, I draw because I love it. A lot of tattooists say they don’t draw because they don’t have time. I completely understand as tattooing is really tiring, and sometimes there’s no energy left.

However I believe if you are really passionate about something, you will find time to it. If I don’t draw I feel empty inside, I feel purposeless. It’s like a drug for me, so I find time to draw.

Another reason why I draw, it’s to be able to express my ideas. My mind is always racing with ideas, so if I don’t put it down on paper I feel frustrated.

Another reason why I draw, is because I don’t want to be a copy and paste tattooist. What I mean by copy and paste, is getting an image from internet and place an the clients body. Sometimes tattoo artists are very good at copy and paste, and their tattoo looks good, however it will have no flow, and the tattooist will be limited by the reference, so it’s the reference that’s making most of the work, not the tattooist. I’ve got nothing against tattooists who copy and paste. If you enjoy it, do it. However If I did that, I would feel purposeless.

However when you draw, it’s possible to go further than the reference and think outside the box. Creating a different and original tattoo. Instead of being stuck inside the box with a reference, and be limited with copying and pasting.

I’m not saying this because I want to get more clients, I have enough clients, and I’m glad there are another tattoo artists out there to compliment what people want. Also, I can’t tattoo everybody and not everybody is gonna understand what I do. And I understand some people need copy and paste tattooists.

Resuming everything. How can someone be considered an “artist” if they don’t have a drawing or painting portfolio? Is copy and pasting art? I don’t believe it is. I believe if someone is passionate about art, they will find time to draw and paint,  regardless how busy their life style is.

A lot of people are copying and pasting nowadays, and they are considere tattoo “artists”? 

I understand in realism you have to make the tattoo from a realistic image. However artists like Nikko Hurtado, Carlos Torres and Victor Portugal, are doing realism and they still paint and draw, because they love art.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but that’s the way I see tattooing.

Rafa guesting at Familia Tattoo


It was a great experience having our first ever guest artist at Familia Tattoo Leeds. Rafa is currently travelling and guesting at tattoo studios arround the globe. He was in England this month and we were so happy he had the time to visit us. He is originally from Brazil. And he lives in Madrid. We made a good contact, we had the same friends and we didn’t know. He knows someone who has “Victor Portugal” guesting at his studio. So my mind was blown away by the fact that I really want to get tattooed by “Victor Portugal” I was really happy about that. When I get tattooed by Victor it will be a dream come true.

Rafa really got me and Joe out of our comfort zone, witch that’s what we wanted. He works very different than us, so that inspired us with new ideas.

After all we would like to thanks a lot for his visit and hope to have him back one day. Being arround other artists really helps on your artistic growth and self motivation.

We hope to have new tattoo artists visiting our private tattoo studio in Leeds city centre.

L. Santos

Sketch book work in progress by Louis Santos


Im currently working on a sketchbook, it has been my dream to do a sketchbook or a book with my drawings for a long time. Finally im putting in to practice, as im more focused on my work than ever before. It is going to take me a long time to get it done, as I dont want to just bash out some quick drawings and publish it. I want to take my time to every single drawing and give my best.

Im also going to publish custom drawings of clients I have worked with in the past, that for whatever reason did not stick throughout the process. Of coarse once I publish the book will be no longer custom. As I give respect to give custom work to clients who stick through the process and get the tattoo finished by me, the design belongs to them for a life time. For me that’s the meaning of custom work, as we tattoo artists who give clients custom work have to draw the tattoo on our personal time. Spending late nights drawing to make sure the client has something original.