Every day, brilliant tattoo artists create thousands of styles. Many of the patterns are based on decades-old tattoo styles. Before you start tattooing, you should know these twelve traditional tattoo styles. You may not be able to describe your ideal tattoo style, but you probably have one in mind. The techniques below may help you choose a tattoo.
1. Classic Americana tattoo
These may be the first tattoos that come to mind, with their prominent contours and usage of similar colors and motifs. They are associated with water and maritime images, pinup female figures, violent predatory animals, and combinations of hearts, roses, and daggers. The tattoo style was popularized in the years around 1930s by Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, but it is still very popular today, as exhibited above by Frankie Caraccioli of Kings Avenue Tattoo.
2. New school tattoo style
Tattoos from the New School are like a crazy comic book on your body. Jesse Smith’s art is well-known in this genre, with brilliant color depictions of fantastically imagined worlds full of turmoil and frequently caricatured animals.
3. Japanese tattoo style
As we have demonstrated, tattooing has a centuries-long history throughout the world. The Japanese style Irezumi has remained popular. Tattoo artists continue creating traditional and modern interpretations of these great masterpieces. It’s also a genre recognized for big images that cover the back, arms, and legs. Chris O’Donnell of New York demonstrates this style’s classic animal, floral, and samurai themes.
4. Black and grey tattoo style
Jessica Mascitti of East Side Tattoo in Los Angeles shows us wonderful examples of various types of work in a genre encompassing a wide range of styles. Black and grey images aren’t as restricted in terms of subject matter, representing anything and everything accurately in shades of grey, created by diluting down black ink to make a spectrum of colors.
5. Portraiture tattoo
Shane O’Neill’s portraiture, a subset of the realism genre (which is exactly what it sounds like—realistic renditions of imagery), demonstrates how realistic tattoos may be. Artists can generate eerily precise renderings of humans in color, black, and grey without the black outlines of some of the more classic forms.
6. Stick and poke tattoo
Slowerblack demonstrates the versatility of the stick-and-poke technique, in which the artist employs a single needle to make simple designs. In the hands of a professional, this art can reach stunning levels, characterized by thick and powerful lines, most typically in simple black with little decorative motifs.
7. Realism tattoo
Realistic tattoos can depict everything from landscapes and objects to animals and people. This classic tattoo style is great if you want to express anything specific, whether in color or black and white. Realistic tattoos are difficult to achieve precisely, and it takes a talented tattoo artist to create realistic-looking artwork with incredible visual impact.
8. Blackwork tattoo style
Blackwork is a tattoo style that emerged from tribal tattoos that consist of strong and aggressive black lines in various geometric forms. However, artists continue to push the boundaries of this genre, mixing patterns and imagery from different sources into hypnotic compositions whirling on multiple states around the body, such as those by Nazareno Tubaro.
9. Biomechanical tattoo
Biomechanical tattoos, typically freehand, adapt to the unique flow of a person’s body and are intended to simulate technology that may be buried beneath the skin. When you bring about these bad boys, it’s difficult to avoid Roman Abrego’s name—his alien and mechanical-inspired images sometimes cover the limbs and legs of his clients.
10. Geometric tattoo style
Geometric tattoos are incredibly popular right now and, when done well, can be timeless. They can include simply geometric elements or a mix of geometric and organic (typically floral or natural) features. The contrast between the tattoo style’s crisp, sharp lines and the body’s curves makes them stand out strikingly.
11. Realistic Trash Polka tattoo
Buena Vista Tattoo Club in Germany produced Realistic Trash Polka. It’s easily identifiable for its collage-like structure, intricate and sampling from printed materials—from photography to hand-writing, paint splashes to type-writing—created by Simone Plaff and Volko Merschky.
12. Surrealism tattoo style
Surrealism provides painters with a wealth of material to work with. The artistic technique and subject matter can fluctuate, but as long as the observer leaves with a sense of sublime fantasy, the artist has accomplished their goal. The incredible works of Milanese tattoo artist Pietro Sedda, proprietor of The Saint Mariner, are shown here.
This concludes the top 12 tattoo styles. Tattoo styles aren’t regulated. The techniques above can inspire your own.