1) Traditional TattoosTraditional style tattoos have bold lines and bright colours. These tattoos also often feature stereotypical designs such as crosses, skulls, and anchors. Tattoos of this nature have maintained their popularity for a reason: they are strikingly beautiful and timeless. Some examples of traditional tattoo styles include those featuring:
- Sailor Jerry
- Bert Grimm
- Don Ed Hardy
2) Realistic Tattoos / RealismHave you ever seen a tattoo that looked like it could be a portrait? Or a tat that was so detailed and layered that it looked like it could jump right off of the skin? Those are realism tattoos. Tattoos of this style:
- Are usually shades of black and grey
- Often depict the faces of celebrities or people close to you
- Can show scenes of nature or surreal art
- Show the true talent of an artist who can turn a tattoo into a sketch
3) Watercolor TattoosAn increasingly popular and fun expression of body art is the watercolour tattoo style. These tattoos are reminiscent of watercolour drawings and paintings, but require intense technical expertise to create on the human body. Popular examples of watercolour tattoos include:
- Recreations of paintings
- Whimsical characters
4) Tribal TattoosTribal tattoos are another style that has stood the test of time as a tried and true classic dating back to actual tribal cultures. Tribal tattoos can be found as far back as ancient times, with each indigenous people or group having their own style of markings. By combining elements from different cultures, artists can create new symbols or use those from specific tribes to communicate meaning. Tribal tattoos are:
- Usually done in black ink
- Showcase elaborate patterns
- Highlight different tribal cultures
5) Neo-Traditional TattoosThe Neo-Traditional form of tattoo comes from the traditional genre. Neotraditional tattoos vary from traditional tattoos in a few ways.
- Neo-traditional tattoos usually resemble illustrative works.
- Tattoos are often influenced by the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements.
- These tattoos contain decorative detail and lush designs.
- Flowers, animals, and faces are popular in this style of imagery.
6) Japanese TattoosReminiscent of woodblock prints seen among the ancient merchants of Japan, Japanese tattoos are often large and colourful. These tattoos showcase the rich history of Japan and its colourful folklore. Japanese tattoos often have:
7) Blackwork TattoosThese tattoos are created entirely with black ink. The lack of colour, however, does not make them any less dramatic or impactful. Popular designs in this category involve:
- Sacred geometry
- Abstract ornamental design
- Detailed illustrations
8) Chicano Style TattoosChicano culture is taking off, and the tattoo industry is well aware of this. With deep Mexican influence, Chicano tattoos display the essence of lowrider culture, Pachucos, and the Mexican Revolution. Chicano tattoos:
- Utilize fine lines in their drawings
- Originate from artists in prison working with what they had
- Rely on black and grey for dramatic effect
9) Trash Polka TattoosYes, you read that right! One style of tattoo is referred to as “trash polka”. Originating in Germany, smudges and kinetic images are combined with realistic images in this tattoo style.
- These tattoos can contain words and often look disjointed.
- Only black and red ink is used.
- It is characterized by opposites attempting to unite in harmony.
What is the Process of Getting a Tattoo Like?Once you decide on a basic tattoo design or concept and have found a professional you enjoy working with, the next step is your appointment to get the tattoo itself. Depending on the size and complexity, multiple sessions may need to be scheduled.
Here is what to expect when you go in:
- The area to be tattooed will be cleaned with rubbing alcohol and shaved if any hair is present.
- A blueish stencil of your tattoo will be placed on your skin.
- The tattoo artist will prepare their workstation and ink colours.
- Tattooing over the linework begins.
- Colours are filled in after the linework is finished.
- The tattoo is dressed and bandaged.
- After 24 hours, remove the bandage and gently wash the tattoo as instructed by your artist.
- Use antibacterial ointment twice a day.
- Gently wash with soap and water a few times a day.
- Repeat for 2 to 4 weeks.
Finding the Perfect Tattoo for YouWhether you want an old school tattoo, a new school tattoo, or an eclectic mix, find the style that speaks to you. This is your body and your life to enjoy! Now that you have read up on a few different tattoo styles, you will know what you want to discuss with your tattoo artist. Tattoos are a wonderful form of expression, colourful art, and a permanent keepsake. There are styles to fit every personality, and your tattoo artist will work with you to settle on the perfect way to express yourself.
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