Popular Tattoo Styles Explained for Beginners

Know how to converse before coming into a store and demanding a flash off the wall when choosing a new tattoo style

Tattoo Style

So we felt it would be good to share our firsthand knowledge of the most popular tattoo styles today. After reading this, you'll be able to differentiate a traditional piece from a Japanese one, distinguish neo-traditional and new school without a sweat, and see the differences in blackwork and tribal designs.

1. Traditional Tattoos

The traditional style, also known as old school, American traditional, classic, or Western traditional, features bold lines, vivid colors, and famous designs like flowers, anchors, and attractive woman heads. This tattoo style is popular among tattooists because of renowned artists like Sailor Jerry, Don Ed Hardy, Bert Grimm, and Lyle Tuttle. They're lovely from the start, age well, and have a tattoo history. A composition in this genre is guaranteed success!

2. Realist Tattoo Style

Classic realism has been part of great art since the Renaissance, but it only appeared in tattoos in the later half of the 20th century. Since then, this new tattoo style has been polished and has become popular. As it stands, you may find stunning color and black and grey photos of almost any celebrity, realistic renderings of nature, and almost anything else, including the weird.

3. Tattoos in watercolor

Watercolor is trendy. It's in high demand among the latest tattoo enthusiasts, who want millennium-style tattoos. It appears to be painted in watery pastels. It's easy to achieve this appearance with watercolors on paper or canvas, but ink on the body is harder. Artists use this revolutionary tattooing method to create funny and poetic pieces.

4. Tribal Tattoos

Indigenous tribal tattoos are the oldest in the world, extending back thousands of years. This style consists of many tattooing traditions from aboriginal populations worldwide. These various and exquisite designs are often referred to as "tribal," yet to the trained eye, Polynesian body art differs from Marquesan or Maori tattoos, much as Inupiaq matriarchs' facial tattoos differ from Berber women's. Despite their differences, these fashions are always black with intricate patterns.

5. Modern Tattoos

Despite its name, the new school isn't new anymore. The bizarre late '80s and early '90s made it popular, but it's lost popularity recently. It's likely because its highly animated style resembled popular American entertainment from that time. The style is comical, including caricatures and other exaggerations. If you appreciate Ren and Stimpy-inspired body art, this is for you.

6. Neotraditional tattoos

The name neo-traditional suggests an evolution of traditional style. It has the same bold linework and brilliant colors as its predecessor, but it's also illustrative. Art Nouveau and Art Deco have a significant influence on neotraditional painters. Neo-traditional tattoos commonly have more colors and themes than traditional tattoos. This style features lush, ornamental accents and natural imagery like blossoms and animals.

7. Tattoo style in Japan

Irezumi, the classic Japanese style, and ukiyo-e, woodblock prints popular with merchants, emerged during the Edo era (1603-1868). Because of this, this traditional body art features Suikoden heroes and mythical creatures like dragons, kirins, and phoenixes from the country's folklore. Irezumi's tattoos are compelling because they communicate a tale about Japan's rich past beyond their spectacular smoke and wave-filled appearance.

8. Blackwork Tattoos

Blackwork has a broad stylistic definition. It applies to nearly any body art made with black ink, but this versatile and striking hue can do a lot. The tattoos in blackwork artists' portfolios range from old holy geometry to current abstract ornamental motifs to intricate pictorial compositions. The industry is experimenting the most with this approach, and the output is amazing.

9. Illustration Tattoo Style

Illustrative work is diverse because so many styles and art movements inspired it! This Illustration tattoo design is flexible, featuring etching, engraving, abstract expressionism, and fine-line calligraphy. Many artists in this style merge their aesthetic with it to create a new style, but as long as their tattoos appear like they belong on paper or canvas in the gallery, it's illustrative!

10. Chicano Tattoos

The Chicano style has influenced other styles due to its cultural influence. Rich in Mexican Revolution, Los Angeles low-riders, and Pachuco culture. The style originated from prisoners who used what they had to create beautiful depictions of what they missed outside. Chicano-themed, fine-line, black-and-grey tattoos are captivating.