New School Tattoo

New School Tattoos: Meanings, Artists & Tattoo Designs

A compelling guide to New School tattoos

New School Tattoos

New school tattoos are some of the most easily recognizable tattoos of today.

Known for an experimental design style, new school tattoos are centered around the use of vivid color schemes, bold line-work, and zany subject matter.

For people who want to add some ink that draws attention and makes a statement, there is no tattoo style as effective as new school.

Today, we will be exploring the wild world of new school tattoos and taking a look at some of the best new school tattoos.

New school tattoos are known for pushing the boundaries and encapsulating otherwise ordinary subjects in bright colors.

This particular tattoo style isn’t for the faint of heart but if you’re a woman who considers yourself a free spirit, you’re sure to find inspiration for your next tattoo here.

Let’s get started!

What is a New School Tattoo?

New school tattoos originated back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, springing to life on the West coast.

Heavily influenced by features of the old school or American traditional tattoo style, new school tattoos began as a way for tattoo artists to experiment with bolder outlines, more vivid colors, and cartoon-ish imagery.

Like old school tattoos, the new school tattoo style utilizes bold line-work and large designs.

Aside from that, new school tattoos are noticeably different from the style that first influenced them.

New school tattoos are also heavily influenced by pop culture.

Many people that choose to get a new school tattoo for themselves are fans of gaming, comic books, and anime.

These subjects blend well with the focus of new school tattoos as they are easily translated into the cartoon-esque visuals that the style is known for.

Although new school tattoos first came onto the scene in the late ’70s and early ’80s, many enthusiasts would argue that the style gained true popularity in the ’90s.

This is arguably due to the fact that cartoons surged in popularity during this era.

While this matter is still up for some debate, it can’t be argued that the 1990s did play an important role in making the new school style what we know it to be today.

How to Decide on the Best New School Tattoo For You

Whether you’re a gamer girl or simply love the bold, fantastical aesthetic found in new school tattoos, there are a few things to consider when planning a new school tattoo for yourself.

There are many different factors to think about when choosing a new school tattoo design.

By taking the time to ask yourself the important questions, you’ll have a new tattoo you can be proud to show off for many years to come.

Subject Matter

While it is important to have a subject matter in mind when planning any new tattoo, this is especially vital when it comes to the new school tattoo style.

This is because the new school style is centered around pop culture.

Regardless of the size or placement of your new school tattoo, it’s sure to draw the eye whenever visible so make sure that your design represents something near and dear to your heart.

The good news is that there are plenty of subjects to choose from!

Any pop culture icon you can think of can be transformed into a stylish new school tattoo.

That being said, the new school tattoo style is the last place to limit yourself.

If you can’t decide on a pop culture reference that you would like to celebrate in your design, work with your tattoo artist to put the new school spin on something less common to the style. 

New School Tattoo Placement

Due to the amount of detail and whimsy associated with new school tattoos, this style usually results in large tattoos.

For this reason, it’s important that you have a good idea of placement when choosing a design.

Make sure to select a part of your body with enough space for your tattoo artist to fully bring your vision to life.

Some of the most popular placements for new school tattoos include the arm, leg, and back.

Color Scheme

This is a big one.

Compared to other popular tattoo styles, new school tattoos hold color scheme in especially high regard.

Few tattoo styles make as much use of bold color as new school does so you’ll want to make sure that your chosen color scheme is something you’ll be proud to wear for many years to come.

Work with your tattoo artist to select the perfect colors for use in your tattoo design.

Keep in mind that new school tattoos are known for being bright, bold, and eye-catching.

If you’re looking for a more subtle color palette, new school tattoos may not be for you.

Your Tattoo Artist

Finally, make choosing your tattoo artist an important step in the process of deciding on the best new school tattoo for you.

New school tattoos are difficult to get just right and tattoo artists that specialize in this style are in very high demand.

For the best new school tattoo possible, take the time to seek out an artist that specializes in the style.

Once you’ve found the most skilled artist for your new school tattoo, make an effort to approach them with an open mind.

If you have a concept in mind, present it to your tattoo artist with a willingness to take some direction.

Your tattoo artist is an expert in the field and may be able to offer some valuable recommendations that can make your new school tattoo better than you could have ever dreamed.

Where Should You Put Your New School Tattoo?

As one of the biggest decisions to make when getting a tattoo, many people aren’t exactly sure where to start when deciding where to put their new school tattoo.

Due to the vibrant and in-your-face style of a new school tattoo, it’s highly recommended to choose a placement that allows a lot of space for your tattoo artist to work.

New school tattoos are incredibly popular as quarter, half, or even full sleeves.

If you have found yourself considering a tattoo in this style, it is likely that you’ve got a big personality and a sleeve would suit you well.

At the same time, it isn’t entirely uncommon for men and women to get new school tattoos that are slightly smaller in size so no placement is truly off the table.

Work with your tattoo artist to choose a design that best represents your chosen location.

If you’re working the opposite way around and already have a design in mind but need some guidance on placement, your tattoo artist should be able to make some recommendations here as well.

How Much Do New School Tattoos Cost?

As one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to new school tattoos, it’s vital that you have an understanding of how much your new school tattoo will cost.

There are several factors that go into calculating the price of a new school tattoo.

Here are a few of the things you should consider to get an idea of pricing.

Tattoo Artist: As discussed, selecting a tattoo artist is a huge part of planning for a new school tattoo.

While this decision is important for deciding on a new school design, it is also a huge factor in determining how much your tattoo will cost.

As with any tattoo style, you get what you pay for.

It is highly recommended that you take the time to find an artist that specializes in the new school style but it should be noted that this can have an effect on costs as well.

Tattoo artists specializing in new school tattoos are usually in high demand and this can increase their rates as a result.

Design: New school tattoos are full of detail. From colors and shading to style and linework, your new school tattoo is full of moving parts.

For this reason, it is likely that your chosen design will play a big role in how much your tattoo will cost overall.

The longer a tattoo takes to complete, the more expensive it is. This is because tattoo artists charge based on hourly rates.

If you want your new school tattoo to be the best it can possibly be, be ready to pay more for top-notch quality.

Location: It isn’t common knowledge that where your tattoo shop is located can actually have a lot to do with how much your tattoo will cost.

Tattoo artists operate on hourly rates and these rates can vary drastically from one area to the next.

Tattoo shops based in big cities are usually more expensive while those located in smaller towns may not charge as much per hour.

Take this into account when planning your new school tattoo.

Time/Size: Finally, the size and amount of time it takes to complete your new school tattoo is a factor to consider when calculating costs.

The bold use of color and intricate linework associated with a new school tattoo takes time and attention to detail so you may be in store for a longer period of time in the chair. 

New School Tattoo Designs

Now that you know all there is to know about new school tattoos, we’ve taken the time to compile some of our favorite examples.

Look to these fun designs for a dose of new school inspiration.

Animal New School Tattoos

Animals are a very popular subject for some of the most impressive new school tattoos.

When making your favorite animal the focus of your new school tattoo, you have the opportunity to transform it into the perfect representation of everything you love about it.

Some of the most popular animals represented by new school tattoos are owls, rabbits, and fish as these animals allow the most room for bold color choices.

New School Tiger Tattoos

Tigers are popular in the tattoo world.

Revered for their mix of grace and brute strength, they’re symbols of majesty.

Often represented in an aggressive, masculine way, new school tiger tattoos offer a softer delivery.

Your tiger tattoo will still look fierce, but it’s a tat that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

New School Tiger Tattoo
New School Tiger Tattoo
New School Eagle Tattoos

Eagles can soar higher than any bird and can even look directly into the sun without flinching.

As such, they are symbols of strength, pride, and freedom.

An eagle tattoo is especially meaningful to Americans, who tie the bird to their national identity.

New School eagle tattoos are a unique take on a classic design.

New School Eagle Tattoo
New School Eagle Tattoo
New School Lion Tattoos

Lions symbolize royalty, leadership, and strength.

A new school lion tattoo design is a nice way to assert yourself without coming across as too aggressive.

These lion tattoo designs are playful, but they still show everyone who’s boss.

New School Lion Tattoo
New School Lion Tattoo
New School Bear Tattoos

Bears are versatile symbols.

They can symbolize raw power, the wild hunt, and maternal love.

It’s all in how they’re presented.

A new school bear tattoo can also represent a person, as new school designs are often anthropomorphic.

Many people of a larger stature refer to themselves as bear-like, so for them, this tattoo design may be the perfect fit.

New School Bear Tattoo
New School Bear Tattoo
New School Panther Tattoos

Panthers are slinky and mysterious.

They’re keen hunters and hard to spot in the dark.

Many people get panther tattoos to represent their cunning nature.

New school panther tattoo designs may also be in reference to the Black Panther comic book/movie franchise or the BLM movement.

New School Panther Tattoo
New School Hummingbird Tattoos

Hummingbirds are a lot like new school tattoos.

They’re high energy, adaptive, and can fly in any direction.

Harness that light, exquisite quality with a new school hummingbird tattoo.

Hummingbirds can also represent a joyful outlook on life.

And what’s more upbeat than the bright, exaggerated, cartoony colors of a new school tattoo?

New School Hummingbird Tattoo
New School Wolf Tattoos

Are you a lone wolf, or do you move with a loyal pack?

Wolf tattoos can represent either approach to life.

They’re majestic creatures, most commonly associated with their nocturnal nature.

Wolves can also be synonymous with the male sex drive, something you can capture playfully with a new school wolf tattoo.

New School Wolf Tattoo
New School Snake Tattoos

Snakes are another potentially sexual symbol.

In many cultures, snake tattoos represent potency and fertility.

They’re also synonymous with evil due to their venomous nature and ability to unhinge their jaws to take down large prey.

What do snakes mean to you?

Show the world with a custom new school snake tattoo.

New School Snake Tattoo
New School Cat Tattoos

There are so many legends and mythology that surround our feline friends.

It’s no wonder they’re one of the most popular subjects for tattoos.

New school cat tattoos can be a celebration of your favorite pet, your interest in this mystical animal’s cosmic reputation, or both.

They’re also just cool-looking animals, and that can be all there is to it.

New School Cat Tattoo
New School Elephant Tattoos

Elephants are symbols of wisdom, memory, and divinity on earth.

In many Asian religious practices, the elephant is sacred.

There are many beautiful traditions in these belief systems that involve decorating an elephant with jewels and paint.

This celebration is so eye-catching; it’s no wonder elephant tattoos are so popular.

A new school elephant tattoo can play up the glittering details of a decorated elephant in a unique, spirited way.

New School Elephant Head Tattoo

Video Game Inspired New School Tattoos

As mentioned, pop culture is a huge inspiration for new school tattoos.

If you consider yourself a gamer and want to show off your love for a particular franchise, a video game inspired new school tattoo is perfect for you.

Popular video game characters are great subjects for this style and can be brought to life in unique and creative ways in the form of a tattoo.

Anime New School Tattoo Designs

Anime is an art form in itself and the Japanese cartoon style pairs perfectly with the new school tattoo style.

Choose a character from your favorite show or manga and work with your tattoo artist to represent all of their best qualities.

Anime new school tattoos are wildly popular and it only takes a single look at these exceptional designs to see why.

Nautical New School Tattoos

In any tattoo style, nautical elements are a popular choice.

With the inextricable tie between tattoos, pirates, and sailors, these themes present themselves naturally.

If you want to pay homage to traditional tattoo culture, but put your own spin on it, find an artist who can do justice to one of these nautical new school tattoos.

New School Lighthouse Tattoos

The lighthouse is a calm, peaceful symbol.

Like any other lighthouse design, the new school lighthouse tattoo represents a feeling of being guided.

You may be in a difficult situation now, but you have faith that someone or something will see you through.

It’s a popular choice for people who are living with addiction or grief.

New School Lighthouse Tattoo
New School Marlin Tattoos

Blue Marlins don’t go down without a fight.

When captured, they will struggle for freedom- often winning the battle.

They have large, powerful bodies and are a popular talisman for people who refuse to conform. A new school blue marlin tattoo says you don’t mind standing out from the pack, and you will happily challenge anyone who tries to tell you any different.

New School Marlin Tattoo
New School Compass Tattoos

The compass is a timeless tool.

Even the most experienced, decked-out adventurer won’t leave home without this simple device.

New school compass tattoos represent reliability, loyalty, and staying on one’s fated path in life.

When you’re tempted by desires that don’t point true North, you can look to your compass tattoo to remind you to stay the course.

New School Compass Tattoo
New School Octopus Tattoos

Octopus are inventive, intelligent, and enigmatic.

As humans, we only know a fraction of what an octopus is capable of- and that’s already an impressive amount.

They’re problem solvers, color-changers, and tenacious survivors.

Do these qualities represent you or who you’d like to be?

A New School octopus tattoo may be the perfect choice.

New School Octopus Tattoo
New School Jellyfish Tattoos

Jellyfish are tranquil to behold.

They float along with the current in their cotton candy colors, sometimes even illuminating the water.

But don’t underestimate these captivating creatures- they pack a powerful sting.

A New School jellyfish tattoo is a fun way to celebrate these deadly, beautiful beings.

New School Jellyfish Tattoo

New School Japanese Tattoos

There are so many fascinating creatures in Japanese folklore, and many of them have made their way into tattoo culture worldwide.

You may not like the traditional Japanese tattoo designs, or you may just want to put a unique spin on them.

In any case, New School Japanese tattoos breathe new life into ancient legends.

New School Kappa Tattoos

The Kappa might be the most bizarre mythological character in Japan.

Kappa belongs to the Yōkai, a mischievous group of demons.

Yōkai is a mix of the Japanese words for bewitching/attractive and mysterious/suspicious.

The legends around these creatures are usually goofy while being downright terrifying.

The Kappa, for example, is known to assault humans.

It believes that humans have a jewel inside their butts, so it will hide out in toilets and attempt to grab it.

But the Kappa has one flaw: it is dedicated to the rules of politeness.

If you want to outsmart a Kappa, all you have to do is bow.

When the Kappa bows, the liquid on top of its head spills, draining the creature of all power.

If you’re looking to celebrate this strange piece of folklore, a New School Kappa tattoo is a creative choice.

New School Kappa Tattoo
New School Baku Tattoos

Do you have trouble falling asleep?

Are you troubled by nightmares?

A New School Baku tattoo may give you some peace of mind.

Baku is a chimera, meaning he has DNA from multiple animals.

Baku has an elephant’s head, a lion’s body, a tiger’s claws, and an ox’s tail.

It likes to feed on dreams, so many people offer their nightmares to Baku.

Though nightmares don’t taste as good as nicer dreams, the Baku is loyal to its intended purpose and will happily eat up the scary offerings.

Many people in China and Japan will give Baku figurines or pillows to children who have trouble falling asleep.

New School Baku Tattoo
New School Fudo Myoo Tattoos

Fudo Myoo is a fearsome deity with some epic opportunities for tattoo art.

Best suited to practicing Buddhists, Fudo Myoo protects Buddhism devotees and keeps evil forces at bay.

New School Fudo Myoo tattoos are fun because the style’s exaggerated quality brings out his expression.

New School Fudo Myoo Tattoo
New School Garuda Tattoos

Garuda is a bird-like man with large golden wings.

He appears in many Eastern religions and is not exclusively a Japanese figure.

Garuda is giant, able to block out the sun when he flies.

Garuda represents wisdom and is the official emblem for both Thailand and Indonesia.

Because of Garuda’s ties to national identities, some may take offense to Garuda tattoos.

A New School Garuda tattoo may be a way to represent what you like about Garuda without wearing the traditional image.

New School Garuda Tattoo
New School Geisha Tattoos

The Geisha is a famous muse for tattoo art.

After all, part of the Geisha’s job description is to look beautiful.

She is also an excellent host, skilled conversationalist, artist, and performer.

She’s a beguiling figure, someone who provides the illusion of perfection.

New school geisha tattoos are an expressive and colorful homage.

New School Geisha Tattoo
New School Kabuto Tattoos

A Kabuto is a particular helmet worn by the Samurai class in Japan during battles.

This helmet would often be custom to each Samurai tattoo to give them a distinct and intimidating look.

The Kabuto is a source of inspiration for many- even George Lucas designed Darth Vader’s mask after one.

New school kabuto tattoos can be a way to marry this ancient piece with modern pop culture.

New School Kabuto Tattoo
New School Kitsune Tattoos

Another member of the Yōkai, Kitsune functions as both a trickster and a messenger of the gods.

Kitsune is a fox figure associated with celebrations, mischief, and fertility.

As one of the cuter legendary creatures in Japanese mythology, Kitsune is a popular choice for festival masks, charms, and tattoos.

New school Kitsune tattoos have an anime-like quality with their bright colors and rounded features.

New School Kitsune Tattoo
New School Koi Fish Tattoos

The Koi fish is a creature of great significance in Japan.

Having a healthy, well colored Koi fish in your aquarium is an auspicious sign- and people will spend large amounts of money to get one!

The koi fish of legend swims upstream, making several attempts to jump to the top of a waterfall.

While some give up, the rare ones that succeed transform into dragons.

As a result, Koi fish are a symbol of strength, determination, and integrity.

If you don’t like traditional koi fish tattoos, you can transform one into a New School koi fish tattoo design.

New School Koi Fish Tattoo
New School Kokeshi Doll Tattoos

Kokeshi dolls have a simple design that can be customized- making them a popular tattoo art model.

These dolls have cylindrical bodies and large bulbous heads.

They sometimes have a small opening underneath containing a small piece of paper.

A person giving a kokeshi doll as a gift can write a wish on this paper.

If you have something you’ve been wishing for, maybe your New School kokeshi doll tattoo will help you manifest it.

New School Kokeshi Doll Tattoo
New School Foo Dog Tattoos

Guardian lions are also known as Foo Dogs in Western culture.

The name comes from the words fo and fu in Chinese, which means Buddha, and the Chow Chow, also known as a “lion dog.”

Because the Guardian lions somewhat resemble a Chow Chow, English speakers became confused.

These lions stand guard in people’s homes and the fronts of public buildings.

They symbolize protection and guardianship.

Because there are always two, they also represent having a balanced disposition.

New School Foo Dog tattoos take inspiration from traditional Japanese designs, where they are often drawn with brightly colored spots.

New School Lucky Cat Tattoos

Lucky Cat, also known as Maneki Neko, is probably the most famous cat in the world.

Many people and businesses keep this cat around in some form.

Many believe that the statues and charms of Maneki Neko will increase their money flow, enhance their romantic lives, and more.

If you’re looking to improve your luck, why not carry one around at all times?

A New School lucky cat tattoo is an expressive, colorful way to manifest your greatest dreams.

Lucky Cat Tattoo
New School Severed Head Tattoos

Namakubi translates to “freshly severed head.”

It was customary for the winning warriors to take their opponents’ heads and present them to their leaders in ancient Japanese battles.

This gruesome act was not one of barbaric pride but more a sign of respect to a fellow warrior.

The Namakubi were sometimes hung from trees or kept in decorative boxes.

New School severed head tattoos represent the same ideas as traditional Namakubi pieces: respect for one’s enemies and bravely facing your mortality.

New School Severed Head Tattoo
New School Oni Mask Tattoos

Oni masks are a big part of traditional Noh theatre and certain festivals in Japan.

The Oni are the most destructive and demonic Yōkai.

They are large, ogre-like figures with violent and lumbering movements.

When a person lives a particularly nasty life, they will become an Oni and exist only to torment those around them.

An Oni mask tattoo can be a reminder to live a good life and a source of protection from evil.

The theory is that if you resemble an Oni, you may be able to keep them at bay.

New school Oni mask tattoos pack the same punch, but look a little more approachable.

New School Oni Mask Tattoo
New School Samurai Crab Tattoos

The Heikegani, or Samurai crab, is a real-life creature surrounded by supernatural legend.

The Samurai crab has markings on its shell that resemble a human face.

They appear on Dan-no-ura Bay, where a particularly gruesome battle took place in 1185.

After the death of a child emperor, the grieving Samurai drowned themselves.

They were ashamed they did not protect the child and did not want to die at their enemies’ hands.

Many believe that the crab is a reincarnation of one of those Samurai.

A New School Samurai crab tattoo represents defiance and being willing to die for what you believe in.

New School Samurai Crab Tattoo
New School Tanuki Tattoos

The funniest Yōkai, Tanuki is a Japanese raccoon-dog with a belly like a drum and a large scrotum.

He’s cheeky and will sometimes play pranks to benefit his human friends.

Tanuki makes a popular tattoo for people who want something fun and don’t take themselves seriously, so he’s perfect for new school ink.

Tanuki has accessories: often a bottle of sake in one hand and an IOU in the other.

Tanuki tattoos represent light-heartedness and prosperity.

New School Tanuki Tattoo
New School Tengu Mask Tattoos

Tengu has won over modern crowds after a woodblock print became popular on the internet.

In this woodblock print, a woman uses Tengu’s long nose to pleasure her partner.

The Tengu emoji often makes its way into sexting as a result.

Tengu is a shapeshifter and prankster.

He often tries to knock enlightened people off their path with distractions.

He is also often blamed for bad luck, natural disasters, and anything unpleasant.

Kind of like mercury retrograde.

A New School Tengu mask tattoo may be a great reminder to stay the course, even when misfortune distracts you from your path.

New School Tengu Mask Tattoo

New School Irish Tattoos

Leprechaun Tattoos

New School Leprechaun Tattoo
New School Leprechaun Tattoo

Samhain Tattoos

New School Samhain Tattoo

New School Floral Tattoos

Rose Tattoos

New School Rose Tattoo

Sunflower Tattoos

New School Sunflower Tattoo

Peony Tattoos

New School Peony Tattoo

New School Horror Tattoo Designs

Skull Tattoos

New School Skull Tattoo
New School Skull Tattoo

Jason Voorhees Tattoos

New School Jason Voorhees Tattoo
New School Jason Voorhees Tattoo

Plague Doctor Tattoos

New School Plague Doctor Tattoo

Evil Clown Tattoos

New School Clown Tattoo

Bird Skull Tattoos

New School Bird Skull Tattoo

Egyptian New School Tattoo Designs

Anubis Tattoos

New School Anubis Tattoo

Bastet Tattoos

New School Bastet Tattoo

Other Egyptian Tattoos

New School Egyptian Tattoo
New School Egyptian Tattoo
New School Egyptian Tattoo

Greek New School Tattoo Designs

Medusa Tattoos

New School Medusa Tattoo

Phoenix Tattoos

New School Phoenix Tattoo

Other New School Tattoo Designs

Kali Tattoos

New School Kali Tattoo
New School Kali Tattoo

Sugar Skull Tattoos

New School Sugar Skull Tattoo

Hourglass Tattoos

New School Hourglass Tattoo

New School Tattoo Artists

Not sure where to start in your search for the perfect new school tattoo artist? Here are some of the best artists working in the style today.

Lilian Raya

Lilian has only been tattooing since 2016, but she already has the skilled hands of an accomplished master.

Her new school ink is sure to catch your eye- each piece is packed with an impressive array of saturated colors, blended so beautifully you’d think you were looking at a living comic book.

Audrey Hepburn New School Tattoo

Lilian is based in Mexico City, but definitely has a flair for Kawaii style.

The go-to gal for pastel goths and people who like their darkness with a side of cute, she favors female characters, villains and exotic animals.

Common Themes

Lilian’s pieces have something of a “glossy” look to them and generally include large faces, sparkling jewels, stylized anime characters and references to astrology.

There’s something so magical about a Lilian Raya tattoo: it’s hard to believe it’s real.

Perfect for a day dreamer who has never grown out of playing make believe.

Laura Annunak

Laura is also of Mexican descent, but travels all over the world for her art.

She is currently booking appointments in Osaka and Tokyo, where Kawaii culture is king and her girly new school tattoos will fit right in.

New School Kokeshi Tattoo

Though she had always been an artist, Laura’s journey as a tattoo artist began in 2015 when she was having trouble finding tattoo artists who could do the kind of art she wanted to have on her body.

Though she is constantly working on her technique, she never wants to do stock art or leave her personal stamp out of her designs.

Laura’s tattoos are signature to Laura, and with 441k followers on Instagram and counting, there are plenty of people who are OK with that.

Common Themes

A self described glitter enthusiast, Laura’s pieces generally include at least sparkle or two.

She favors empowered female characters and a mix of dark, romantic, and cute.

Her pieces are perfect for someone who grew up sighing over epic romances like Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask.

She embraces traditional femininity but puts her own spin on it.

Jesse Smith

A fan favorite from Ink Master, Jesse Smith left his mark on the competition in Season 2 with his quirky new school style.

Though he was eliminated from the show, he returned in Season 7 having refined his skills and become an even better artist.

Jesse Smith Tattoo

While his signature style will always be new school, he worked on his portraiture skills specifically to redeem his failures on the show.

Jesse Smith owns his own shop, Loose Screw Tattoo, in Richmond Virginia.

His interesting style may come from the fact that he’s a citizen of the world. As an army brat, Jesse has lived everywhere.

He first developed an appreciation for tattoo art while living in Germany, then traveled home to the states to study art at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Compared to the Kawaii artists above, Jesse’s colors have a slightly muted, almost watercolor look.

You can see his sense of humor in the characters he creates, they have a twisted sensibility to them that seems informed by cartoons like Ren & Stimpy, Animaniacs or Invader Zim.

Common Themes

Jesse creates a lot of quirky critters with large, expressive eyes and exaggerated expressions in his work.

His creatures have an adorable yet frightening quality, and the tension makes for such interesting art.

Perfect for those 90’s kids who grew up on quirky humor and strange characters.

Kike Esteras

Based out of his own tattoo shop, Gold St. Tattoo Parlour in Barcelona, Kike blends themes from Neo-traditional tattoo style and new school designs to create his very own signature style.

After tattooing for about a decade, Kike has his signature style on lock.

His color saturation is so smooth, you can zoom right in on it and never see a flaw.

New School Butterfly Tattoo

Kike’s lines are less bulbous and exaggerated than some other artists in the style.

He keeps everything smooth, but a little more contained.

With bold black outlines and an impressive play between light and shadow, Kike’s pieces almost resemble stained glass.

Common Themes

There is a lot of esoteric and religious symbolism in his work.

He does a lot of rose tattoos, skull tattoos, swords and sacred hearts.

Kike Esteras is a nice medium for a woman who wants a new school tattoo, but doesn’t want it to be too on the cartoony side.

There is a lovely restraint shown in these pieces that can be a nice option for less ostentatious people.

Alex Strangler

Based out of Las Vegas, Alex Strangler famously tattooed a Hello Kitty design on Katy Perry’s middle finger.

Alex works in this interesting style that’s been emerging on Instagram- a mix between traditional tattoos, new school designs, and millennial Tumblr humor.

Her whimsical pieces have an inherent wit- highlighting feminist cartoon characters like Daria and Lisa Simpson.

While Alex Strangler’s pieces are not large, bulbous and exaggerated like many new school tattoos, the sensibility of the style is there.

If you aren’t interested in getting inked but still want to embrace the style, she sells her original designs on t-shirts.

Her most popular drawings at the moment are a mash-up between Beavis and Butthead and Disney Princesses.

Doesn’t that perfectly sum up the wry, nostalgic, meme-based pop culture of our time?

Common Themes

As with most new school tattoo artists, in Alex’s work pop culture reigns supreme.

The majority of her pieces hark back to MTV in the ’90s.

New School Tattoos Ideas

There are countless new school tattoos available online to give you some inspiration.

We’ve compiled a list of a few of the best new school tattoo designs.

New School Tattoo Sleeves

New school tattoos are so visually striking, it’s hard to pick just one design.

Dedicating an entire sleeve to one style is an excellent way to fully explore a concept, painting with all the colors your heart desires.

The New School tattoo sleeves in our gallery below take you on a series of dynamic journeys.

New School Tattoo Sleeve
New School Tattoo Sleeve
New School Tattoo Sleeve
New School Tattoo Sleeve
 New School Tattoo Sleeve
New School Tattoo Sleeve

Black & Grey New School Tattoos

So you’re not into color tattoos.

You may think that excludes you from the new school club, but it doesn’t.

These black and grey new school tattoos are just as fun, just as dynamic, and equally striking as their color counterparts.

Black and Grey New School Tattoo
Black and Grey New School Tattoo

Small New School Tattoos

Sometimes a small tattoo makes the most significant impact.

These tattoo designs focus on one appealing image, so there’s no guesswork or distracting details.

Small New School Tattoo
Small New School Tattoo
Small New School Tattoo

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