It’s hard to say whether tattoos are becoming more popular or not, but it’s certainly true that there are a lot of different options available for people who want to get inked.
Since the mid-2000s, most people have become at least a little bit “tattoo curious” as more average Joes get inked.
With millions of people across the world already having tattoos, it’s difficult to believe that they were once taboo in most societies.
People worldwide are getting tattoos as a way of commemorating their favorite things in life, including breast cancer survivors who cover their scars with art.
Tattooing has evolved drastically over the years, becoming an art form in itself, and is often used as symbolic representations of other arts.
It’s the pop art of our time.
As tattoos become more accepted, the diversity within tattoo clients is increasing.
Tattoos are no longer confined to sailors and the military, therefore the artists are becoming more varied in their specialties – from very traditional to incredibly cutting edge.
But with this variety, it’s hard to get the right design to express yourself.
Though many people would like to get a tattoo of some kind, settling on a design is difficult.
To keep it simple, we’ve separated tattoos into two main categories: tattoo subjects and tattoo styles.
When faced with so many options for a tattoo, it is easy to become overwhelmed.
Instead of diving deep into the ocean of tattoo designs and ideas, let’s take a surface-level approach!
Zoomorphic Tattoo Ideas
Tattoos inspired by animals are a perfect way to show the world who you really are.
Animals have inspired humans for years.
Sporting zoomorphic inspired tattoos, Viking warriors were able to prove their strength and virility.
Polynesian tribal tattoos often feature zoomorphic tattoo motifs.
With multiple interpretations and meanings, people often choose animal tattoos as a reminder to be strong and courageous, seeking value, worthiness, and respect.
More frequently, people have tattoos of animals they wish to emulate.
Being such a versatile tattoo motif, a zoomorphic inspired tattoo can take any form and can be done in any tattoo style from minimalism to realism.
In fact, when it comes to animal tattoo ideas, there is a design for everyone!
Wolf Tattoo Ideas
The wolf tattoo is a common theme worldwide, and has many interpretations.
In general, wolf tattoos mean independence, leadership and protection, and they are a great choice for those who value loyalty – especially to loved ones.
Some may prefer a minimalist, geometric wolf tattoo over the realistic and large-scale one.
A wolf tattoo can be interpreted in many ways and it might be more meaningful than you think.
Owl Tattoo Ideas
Owl tattoos come in a variety of styles, based on one’s personal preferences.
The most common meanings associated with an owl tattoo are wisdom and intelligence.
Portraying your unending pursuit of knowledge, this tattoo is a powerful and symbolic way to show off your passion for learning.
In addition to these symbolic meanings, owl tattoos can also have a darker note: A symbol of death; a strange connection to the supernatural.
This gives an extra edge for those interested in the spiritual world.
Butterfly Tattoo Ideas
Butterfly tattoos are about femininity, beauty, and the life cycle, or a significant change in life.
They can represent anything that has significantly impacted you, so much so that it needs to be permanently etched into your skin as a reminder of your growth and development.
You can find a butterfly tattoo in almost every style and color, from the American traditional butterfly to simple butterfly tattoos and even 3D designs.
Lion Tattoo Ideas
If you have conquered a difficult experience in life, and want to show that it has made you stronger, you can choose the lion as your next tattoo
For a feminine twist on the lion tattoo, you can choose to get a lioness.
This is an incredible tattoo that will bring with it the bravery of a lioness, motherly protection, and courage.
Whether in black and grey or realistic colors, a lion tattoo will exude boldness and power.
Bear Tattoo Ideas
In tattoo art, a bear is an intimate and personal artwork that reflects its owner’s personality – adorably cuddly, or just dangerous.
With so many ways to approach a bear tattoo, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed!
Dragon Tattoo Ideas
Dragon tattoos represent a number of positive aspects of life, including power, strength, and good fortune.
Dragons hold a special place in Chinese culture and they play a large role in Korean mythology.
In Japanese culture, dragons are a popular tattoo motif, especially in Yakuza tattoos, because they believe that there is no definite winner or loser in life.
In Viking times, dragons meant one thing: evil.
Nowadays, a dragon is one of the most beautiful tattoos to get.
It’s not only symbolic, but it’s a reminder that you’re going to do what you think is right.
Cat Tattoo Ideas
If you’re a cat person, a tattoo with your animal’s image can keep them forever by your side.
Cats – a symbol of independence and mystery – can be inked in realistic, colorful style or micro-realistic black and grey.
The color combination is of your choice, as well as the size of the tattoo.
Tiny cat tattoos look best on ankles or wrists; larger pieces suit shoulders and arms.
Nautical Tattoo Ideas
Many tattoos are linked to the sea and have a nautical theme and many people gravitate toward nautical imagery when getting a tattoo.
In fact, the popularity of tattoos in the United States goes back to sailors who returned home from their travels.
Sailors were one of the first groups to adopt the tattoo trend at the beginning of the 20th century, alongside circus performers.
Nautical-themed tattoos are usually done in an American traditional style, but you don’t have to get limited by any means.
Whether you want to get a nautical-themed tattoo or have already got one, there are many ways to make it stand out.
Octopus tattoos symbolize intelligence, being the perfect reminder for overcoming your fears and achieve great things.
Compass Tattoo Ideas
Whether you feel like you’re moving in the right direction or not, a compass tattoo can be an excellent choice.
One example is the Vegvísir tattoo, a symbol that was designed to protect against evil and guide its bearer, and it has become an important part of the popular culture’s image of Vikings.
Compass tattoos are a great way to symbolize your journey through life.
Lighthouse tattoos can mean different things to different people.
For one, it’s a beacon of hope.
While for someone else, it means generosity and goodwill.
Lighthouses are simple yet majestic – they offer serenity and calmness amidst the chaos of the sea or stormy weather.
They can also be paired with other nautical tattoo ideas, such as anchor tattoos or swallow tattoos.
Flower Tattoo Ideas
Floral tattoos are popular for their aesthetics and the meanings they hold.
They tend to represent femininity, love, beauty, and growth.
The symbolism behind flower tattoos varies, but every flower is obviously unique in its appearance.
Classic tattoos are usually roses and orchids, but hibiscus tattoos are more unique and whimsical.
If you’re looking for a more refined, ladylike flower, consider peony tattoos.
Of course, every flower tattoo idea is unique and beautiful in its own way.
But you have to know what it symbolizes before getting a tattoo of it.
When it comes to tattoo styles, flower tattoos are usually colorful and realistic, but they can also be shaded in black and grey geometric tattoo patterns.
A stunning mix of simplicity and symmetry, geometric flower tattoos may seem simple but are in fact incredibly complex.
For an abstract contemporary take on a classic tattoo motif, you may opt for a watercolor flower tattoo.
As a relatively new form of tattoo artwork, watercolor tattoos have surged in popularity over the past decade.
No matter your gender, flower tattoos are a popular choice.
They can be incorporated into any tattoo design or story.
One of the greatest qualities of these tattoo ideas is their versatility, and it’s safe to assume that in most cases a floral tattoo will look great on any part of the body.
Rose Tattoo Ideas
Rose tattoo, a classic that never goes out of style, is a beautiful addition to your body.
Love has universal appeal, which is why it’s so common to see a rose tattoo.
It can be paired with any other style of tattooing, and it has never been limited to just one kind of rose or color.
Choosing the perfect rose tattoo idea is all about choosing color.
Color, as it turns out, can mean a great deal of things.
Sunflower Tattoo Ideas
The sunflower may be the most inspiring flower ever.
Sunflower tattoos are traditionally associated with warm weather and happy times.
If you like the imagery of sunflowers but aren’t in the mood for something too complicated, you can opt for a simple and small sunflower tattoo.
Japanese Tattoo Ideas
Japanese tattoos are as popular as they are unique.
People love them for their cultural significance and detailed artwork.
Among the oldest styles of tattoos, Japanese tattoos have been in existence for the past 5,000 years.
There are essentially two types of Japanese tattoos: The traditional form of tattooing, also called tebori, using tools that aren’t electrical, and the modern one, where the artists use a tattoo machine.
If you’re considering a Japanese tattoo, your first step should be thinking about the tattoo subject and other complementary tattoo motifs like Japanese flower tattoos and wave tattoos.
Some of the most popular Japanese tattoo ideas include Japanese masks tattoos, Japanese dolls tattoos, Yokai tattoos, Japanese gods tattoos, samurai, and mythical creatures.
Hannya Mask Tattoos
The Hannya mask tattoo is an instantly recognizable symbol of Japanese culture.
Hannya masks take many forms and meanings.
They are often used to symbolize anger, fear, betrayal, or strength.
According to Japanese Buddhism, Hannya mask represents a higher level of consciousness and is seen as a symbol of good luck and protection from evil spirits.
Japanese Dragon Tattoos
Japanese dragons are much more nuanced than European ones.
Japanese dragon tattoos come in a variety of colors, each of which is associated with a different meaning.
Representing strength and a fierce nature, the red dragon tattoo is a popular choice for its distinctive color.
Blue dragons are gentle yet powerful creatures symbolizing leadership.
Japanese blue dragon tattoos often come with flower tattoo motifs because of their connections to nature.
Geisha Tattoo Ideas
Geisha tattoos are a reminder of the geisha, and femininity in general.
They symbolize artistry, mystery and perfectionism.
If you’re looking for a tattoo with class, go for the geisha.
Keep in mind though not only do they take an enormous amount of detail and precision, but they also occupy a lot of space on your body.
Koi Fish Tattoos
Getting a Koi fish tattoo would be a perfect way to show off your Japanese heritage.
Koi fish tattoos are a staple of Japanese tattoo culture.
They can be created in whatever size you prefer, so long as it’s not too small for details and colors.
Generally speaking, the koi fish tattoo is a good luck charm and a symbol of perseverance.
Horror Inspired Tattoos
Dark tattoo art has moved beyond being viewed as “gothic” and is now taken much more seriously.
Inspired by themes like mortality and death, the horror tattoo style has moved from the fringes to become a mainstream statement.
After all, death is one of the most common themes in art and it can be found in every culture.
From the most delicate to the most elaborate designs, skull tattoos and skeletons fascinate us all.
The pop culture landscape is filled with skulls, thanks to the fashion industry and cinema.
In tattoo art, some of the most popular horror tattoo ideas feature skulls, plague doctor tattoos, gargoyle tattoos, evil clowns and movie inspired subjects like Jason Voorhees tattoos or valak tattoos.
With technology and tattoo artists improving all the time, the tattoos being created today are just as scary as the creatures you’ll see in a movie!
Skull Tattoo Ideas
No other image is as fascinating to the human mind – or so often seen on a tattoo – as that of a skull.
Even the most beautiful tattoo designs often contain some reference to bones or skulls.
The skull tattoo – often associated with death – is actually about embracing life, and accepting death as a part of it.
Here are some of the best skull tattoo ideas out there to help you decide what you like.
Evil Clown Tattoos
Clown tattoos, a case of love it or hate it, aren’t for everyone.
Because of the success and popularity of horror films, clowns have taken center stage in pop culture.
This tattoo may be a reminder that most people are wearing masks, or that they often seem more frightening than their appearances tell – a reminder that things aren’t always as they seem.
Viking Tattoo Ideas
Viking tattoo art and Norse mythology imagery have gone mainstream with the 2013 TV series Vikings and the screen adaption of Thor.
People usually get Viking tattoos because they are fascinated by Norse mythology.
Today’s Viking tattoo fan has many choices from Viking compass tattoos to Runes tattoos, or even Viking gods.
When doing your Viking tattoo research, don’t confuse the many cool-looking decorative symbols with pure decoration.
In Viking art, these symbols have deep spiritual meaning and can be found everywhere from jewelry to architecture.
The Viking Age had many phases, which you should consider if you’re looking for a Viking tattoo.
Some of the most well known are Oseberg style which dominated the 9th century and the Borre style.
The Oseberg Viking tattoo is popular because the creatures actually seem to interact with the wearer.
Here are a few Viking tattoo ideas inspired by Nordic culture, which you can present to a tattoo artist and celebrate your love for this culture:
Fans of Norse mythology have many options for wolves tattoos – such as Geki and Freki, who are loyal companions to Odin, or the fated Hati and Skoll.
One of the most popular is the Fenrir tattoo, being a massive symbol of power.
This tattoo can also be used to show resistance; breaking the strongest chains of oppression.
No matter how you choose to honor Odin, he remains one of the most important gods in Norse mythology.
Popular Odin tattoo ideas let the Viking god take center stage, featuring him in full action.
But you may want to incorporate some very specific imagery that will set your ink apart from the rest of the crowd.
In the last few years, Viking compass tattoos have become increasingly popular among tattoo artists and their clients.
Vegvisir is a unique symbol of protection and guidance.
It can also be a source of inspiration and wholeness, reminding you of your inner power.
Pin-up Tattoo Ideas
It may seem like a new tattoo trend, but the pin-up tattoo has been around since the 1950’s — a classic in tattoo history.
The pin-up tattoo style was inspired by the pin-up magazines that were in circulation at the beginning of 20th century.
A pin-up tattoo is an image of a voluptuous woman that may be clothed or partially nude.
However, the pin-up tattoo is more than just a sexual symbol; it’s an expression of empowerment, beauty and the hidden strength of women.
Mexican Tattoo Ideas
Mexican tattoos are appreciated across the world for their elaborate designs that often portray Mexico’s rich heritage and spiritual roots.
Mexican tattoo art, deeply influenced by Aztec aesthetics and, more recently, Chicano culture, is generally characterized by dark themes or Catholicism.
Some of the most popular Mexican inspired tattoo ideas include:
Sugar Skull Tattoos
Sugar skulls are the perfect way to express your love of life and, at the same time, your acceptance of death.
Sugar skull tattoos, also known as Mexican skull tattoos, are painted in bright colors, decorated with flowers, reminding us of the inevitability of death.
Aztec tattoos come from a rich, ancient heritage.
The designs come from an ancient past that anyone would be privileged to learn more about.
They usually take the form of a fearsome, intricately detailed design, often containing 3D effects.
Aztec tattoos are a way of celebrating the past, and honoring an ancient empire.
Tribal Tattoo Ideas
Tribal tattoos are one of the most popular tattoo styles for men and women alike.
They convey a lot of symbolism, as well as masculinity – simultaneously!
Tribal tattoos are more than just art; they bind you to a lineage of hundreds of years before your time.
Those who get a tribal tattoo usually select their design based on what it symbolizes.
Tribal tattoos hold specific meanings, not only in their imagery, but also in placement on the body, so make sure you do your research.
Greek Mythology Tattoo Ideas
The Greek myths, including the stories of Hercules and Zeus, are an important part of our cultural heritage and they represent values like honesty and integrity.
Getting a Greek mythology tattoo is a way to commemorate the literature that you studied as a child.
Mostly done with black and grey ink, some of the most popular tattoo motifs are Greek Gods, statue tattoos and mythical creatures.
Greek tattoo ideas are not merely decorative.
They say something about you; they add to your identity.
Medusa tattoos remind us that you can find beauty even in things we mistrust.
In tattoo art, Medusa is portrayed as a beautiful, snake-haired woman rather than the hideous creature described in mythology.
Also, a Medusa tattoo is a symbol of warding off evil.
If you’ve just recovered from something tough, or are about to begin a life-changing journey, getting a tattoo of the phoenix could be the perfect symbol.
A phoenix tattoo also represents your ability to start over, if that’s what you want.
Simply put, a phoenix tattoo symbolizes your rebirth into a new life.
Phoenix tattoos, with their beautiful wings and tail feathers, are popular choices for back pieces or sleeve tattoos.
If you want to get creative, take your tattoo idea to your artist and work together on the design.
For a less detailed and more abstract tattoo design, you may consider a watercolor phoenix tattoo or a tribal phoenix tattoo.
Poseidon tattoos are popular with people who enjoy swimming, boating and fishing.
Poseidon, the Greek God of the Sea, is often depicted with a trident – an appropriate symbol of his power over sea creatures.
Celtic Tattoo Ideas
Celtic tattoo designs are timeless classics in the tattoo world.
Bare-chested and even naked, the Celtic warriors would intimidate their enemies with tattoos.
One of the most popular Celtic tattoo idea is the Celtic knot, which represents an eternal bond between two people or humans and nature, as well as eternal life.
If you have a Celtic background, consider the knotting tattoos as a meaningful way to celebrate your heritage.
However, Celtic tattoos are not limited to symbols and some of them don’t have anything in common with the warrior patterns – they’re just pretty imagery, like Celtic butterflies or Celtic wolf tattoos.
Sacred Geometry Tattoo Ideas
Geometric tattoos are the in-thing among tattoo enthusiasts, and they’re becoming increasingly popular.
Sacred geometric tattoos are a clear reflection of sacred symbols from around the world and the themes of sacred geometry can be found in various art forms, from tattoos to architecture.
In sacred geometry, shapes and patterns have a specific meaning so if you’re looking to get a sacred geometry tattoo, take some time to research what each symbol means.
Mandala Tattoo Ideas
The Mandala tattoo is a symbolic representation of the universe, and one’s place within it.
Because each Mandala has an individual shape and pattern, mandala tattoos have so many intricate designs.
They are not only beautiful, but also have a lot of meanings attached to them, making it even more attractive to those who are looking for meaningful tattoo ideas.
Flower of Life Tattoo Ideas
The Flower of Life first appeared in ancient Egypt.
It is a geometric figure composed of multiple evenly-spaced, overlapping circles arranged so that they form a flower-like pattern with six fold symmetry like a hexagon.
A Flower of Life tattoo represents unity and oneness.
Egyptian Tattoo Ideas
We’re fascinated by ancient Egypt, and ever shall be.
Ancient Egypt is a source of inspiration for many timeless tattoos, including pharaoh tattoos, Egyptian gods and pyramids.
As a culture interested in opulence and pageantry – as well as in the ancient art of body decoration – it is not surprising that Egyptian mummies have been found with tattoos.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular Egyptian inspired tattoo ideas:
Classified as a jackal, Anubis is one of the main players in Egyptian mythology.
Anubis weighs people’s hearts in the underworld, so you may get an Anubis tattoo as a reminder to live justly and fairly.
In tattoos, he is generally portrayed using the black-work tattoo technique, with gold markings around his eyes.
However, when designing an Anubis tattoo, you have total freedom: You can either choose black-and-grey realism or go for a mix of contemporary and ancient tattoo idea.
Eye of Horus Tattoos
Someone who has survived a serious illness, or is doing so now, may consider an Eye of Horus tattoo.
The Eye of Horus is a symbol that will allow you to rise above the one who hurt you.
Horus tattoos can be done in many ways, but the design is typically all black, though some tattoo artists incorporate a portrait into the design.
Or, you can choose to include other Egyptian symbols like ankh tattoos.
Pop Culture Tattoo Ideas
Pop culture fuels the fire of tattoo artists and their clients and the same goes for art itself.
Andy Warhol’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe is one of the most famous examples of how pop culture can be used in art.
Most people who get Pop-culture inspired tattoos are doing it solely for the visual appeal — the tattoos look good.
But usually, there’s more to it than that.
Maybe you relate to the character in a specific way or like its personality and his principles.
Joker Tattoo Ideas
A Joker tattoo can represent living with the darkness that’s always there.
One of the most colorful characters in comic book history, the Joker is a striking character even when he’s tattooed black and grey.
Portrait tattoos of the Joker are a unique way to pay tribute to everyone’s favorite character.
They can be done in a sketchy tattoo style, single needle style or even Neo-traditional tattoo style.
For those with extreme personalities, the Joker tattoo is a perfect fit.
Kobe Bryant Tattoo Ideas
Usually, Kobe Bryant portrait tattoos are all done in color realism style, which gives them a striking appearance.
Getting a Kobe Bryant tattoo it’s an ideal opportunity to show why you idolize your favorite player so much, but keep in mind that these kinds of tattoos are extremely difficult to pull off.
Anime Tattoo Ideas
Anime tattoos are a growing trend among fans of the genre that choose to wear them as a means of displaying their favorite characters and symbols.
Anime has a plethora of characters with special qualities with stories that always have a moral to tell.
Star Wars Tattoo Ideas
You don’t have to be tough all the time.
Sometimes, you just want to show your love for one of the most well-known fictional characters in history.
Some Star Wars fans go to such great lengths to prove their allegiance; they tattoo it on their bodies.
For those who are looking for a subtle Star Wars tattoo idea, a quote tattoo might be a perfect choice.
Want to stand out? Look for a tattoo artist that’s truly unique.
Marvel Tattoo Ideas
People are going out of their way to get tattoos of Marvel characters like Deadpool, Thanos, and Black Widow to give them a sense of their own power.
When it comes to comic book inspired tattoos, Marvel tattoos are the most popular.
A tattoo of your favorite Marvel hero is a way to show off how brave and bold you are.
Got a favorite superhero? Then get a tattoo!
Disney Tattoo Ideas
If you’re planning to get a Disney tattoo, you have plenty of choices.
Picking the perfect Disney tattoo idea might be a bit difficult.
The kids that grew up with Disney have made Disney tattoos a common sight.
They’re in every color of the rainbow – and some of them glow in the dark!
Let Mickey and his friends help you find the tattoo design that’s right for you.
Harry Potter Tattoo Ideas
So, you’re a fan of J.K. Rowling?
How about getting a magical Harry Potter inspired tattoo?!
The Harry Potter universe is still very much alive and continues to enchant the world, with everyday fans adopting the fictional spells on their skin.
If you’re looking for a truly unique piece of ink, consider getting a Harry Potter tattoo and make it your own by mixing and matching your favorite motifs and themes from the series.
Alice in Wonderland Tattoo Ideas
Fairy tales and children’s stories offer plenty of inspiration for tattoo artists.
As everyone knows, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland has a worldwide appeal.
People are delighted with the story of this madcap young girl, and they have it reflected on their skin.
Some of the most ‘tattoogenic’ characters are the White Rabbit and Red Queen portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter in the 2010 film.
Decorative Tattoo Ideas
Generally speaking, decorative tattoos have nothing to do with your life story and they can be whatever you want them to be.
They are just a creative way of decorating your body, any way you want.
They don’t have to mean anything, but some tattoo designs can convey your personality.
It’s not that you can’t find decorative tattoo ideas with meanings, but they tend to be the exception rather than the norm.
Arrow Tattoo Ideas
A tattoo of an arrow can be as small or as large as you like.
Smaller arrow tattoos are popular among women, while men often prefer larger pieces.
To get the most out of an arrow tattoo, you’ll need to consider the placement and the style.
It should reflect your personality, as well as the symbolism that you want to portray.
Moon Tattoo Ideas
One of the most popular tattoo ideas when it comes to designs is the moon.
It’s an appealing simple and small design, but it’s the meaning that makes it stand out.
There are numerous ideas for moon tattoos ranging from crescent moons to full moons.
Regardless of your personal interpretation, you don’t need to have a specific meaning in mind for to get this tattoo.
It simply looks great, and that’s all there is to it.
A moon tattoo is as popular as it is simple.
Mountain Tattoo Ideas
Mountain tattoos are a way to show off your love of nature.
The mountain’s triangular shape makes it an ideal choice for geometric tattoos or simpler minimalist tattoos.
You can mix and match these tattoos with other nature inspired themes to make your design even more awesome!
Heart Tattoo Ideas
Heart tattoos are universally recognizable, no matter how complex or simple they appear to be.
No tattoo piece is as open-to-interpretation as a tattoo of a heart.
Is it in memory of your first love, or someone who’s passed away? Or maybe a tribute to something you love?
There are plenty of heart tattoo ideas out there, but some of the most popular include anatomical heart tattoos and sacred heart tattoos.
While there are many themes and ideas, each conveying a unique meaning, its sacredness never fades.
Memorial Tattoo Ideas
Memorial tattoos are one of the most personal, touching ways to pay tribute to a loved one.
Portrait tattoos, ribbons, lettering tattoos are some of the main themes that people often choose to honor the memory of a lost loved one.
Music Tattoo Ideas
For anyone with a favorite lyric or a favorite band, a music inspired tattoo is always an option.
Music is an essential part of every person’s life and it can be seen all over the world, even in tattoos.
Some might even get musical instruments tattooed on them as a way of expressing their passion for music.
There are many types of music inspired tattoos to choose from, and their placement on your body depends mainly on the design you select.
Once you’ve decided on your new tattoo subject, the next step is to choose a tattoo style that will emphasize both its beauty and meaning.
As the popularity of tattoos increases, tattoo artists have been coming up with a wide variety of styles, some of the most common being:
American Traditional Tattoos
American traditional tattoos have simple and minimal shading with a vivid limited color palette of red, green and yellow.
Theses tattoos are some of the most beautiful works in tattoo art history and although they may look simple, a clean old school tattoo design requires a skilled artist.
Are you a fan of Old School tattoos but don’t like the imagery?
Classic traditional tattoo motifs can be given a contemporary twist, creating a unique style that bridges the gap between yesterday’s tattoos and today’s mainstream artwork.
These tattoos are a mix of bold lines, illustrative looks and highly saturated warm colors, but because there’s no official guideline or rule-book on Neo-traditional tattoos, you may see some variations from one artist to another.
They’re also lighthearted and often humorous.
Fruits, flowers and pets are some of the most frequently-used motifs in Neo-traditional tattoo art.
New School Tattoos
New school tattoos are influenced by pop culture, especially gaming, comic books and anime.
Their origins can be traced back to the late 70’s and early 80’s.
The style was also influenced by traditional American tattooing, but it featured bolder lines, vibrant colors, and more cartoonish imagery
Blackwork tattoos are characterized by mainly black ink (sometimes with hints of red or another accent color), very bold lines, and powerful use of negative space.
In a blackwork tattoo, an artist will literally “black out” large sections of skin.
This is definitely a bold look, and it will involve more than a quick little trip to your favorite neighborhood tattoo shop.
Blackwork tattoos are all the rage, and for good reason: the clean lines evoke a minimalist aesthetic and they’re easier to maintain.
Because many people are afraid that the love they have for their fresh tattoo may not last, the simple, clean lines of blackwork tattoos are appealing for their minimalist aesthetic.
In order to choose the best blackwork design for your tattoo, it is first important to note that the blackwork style enables you a wide variety of choices in the subject matter.
Blackwork tattoos have a classy, artistic look and aren’t specifically linked to any age group.
This tattoo style is all about bold lines and heavy use of black ink.
The use of sacred geometry is also incredibly popular in terms of the blackwork tattoo style.
Blackwork tattoos are often simple black lines or slightly ornate geometric patterns, but they can really be anything, from animal skull tattoos to swords, arrows, or even floral patterns.
If you’re looking for a piece that is as beautiful as it is strong and masculine, a blackwork floral tattoo could be something to consider.
Regardless of the common themes implemented by tattooists specializing in the blackwork style, one thing should be kept in mind.
The ease of clarity of design, the fact that blackwork tattoos age incredibly well, and that black ink is easily visible on any skin type, make blackwork tattoos an adaptable style for nearly any subject matter.
Before making any final decisions regarding the subject matter of your blackwork tattoo design, however, it may be helpful to select the best placement for your tattoo.
One of the most popular placements for blackwork tattoos is in a sleeve design.
Once you have chosen the perfect placement for your blackwork tattoo, it’s time to decide on your tattoo artist, subject matter, and size.
As always, we recommend booking with a tattoo artist that specializes in the blackwork style.
Although those specializing in the blackwork style may come at slightly higher costs than those with more general specializations, this is a surefire way to ensure the highest degree of quality.
- Do Blackwork Tattoos Make Good Tattoo Cover-ups?
Yes, because of their bold lines and large dark spots, a blackout tattoo can be a great option if you’ve been second-guessing your ink.
The use of dark, bold lines found in blackwork tattoos are the perfect solution for covering up tattoos you regret.
In fact, many people looking to cover up past tattoos are directed by their artists to use the blackwork style in their design as it works to completely cover the tattoo in question.
- What’s the Difference Between Blackwork Tattoos and Tribal Tattoos?
Many considering a blackwork tattoo find themselves wondering what the real difference between blackwork tattoos and tribal tattoos, another popular tattoo style.
These tattoo styles are typically confused with each other as they both use mainly black ink and bold line-work.
Put simply, this is what you should remember about the difference between blackwork tattoos and tribal tattoos: all tribal tattoos count as blackwork tattoos but not all blackwork tattoos are tribal tattoos.
Blackwork tattoos include any style that is filled in with solid black but may not use the same cultural symbolism found in tribal tattoos.
Single Needle Tattoos
Single needle tattooing is the latest trend for fans of small tattoos.
Using only one needle and a limited color palette, this technique offers great results for people looking for small yet realistic tattoos.
Aside from being an affordable way to show off one’s individuality, the appeal of a small tattoo is that it can be done quickly.
Dr. Woo, the most-requested tattooist in the world, has earned a reputation for his work on celebrities like Justin Bieber and Cara Delevingne – who sport his single-needle tattoos.
The watercolor tattoo has been around since 2010 and is becoming more popular, particularly for those seeking a unique look.
Tattoo artists are continually looking for new ways to break boundaries, and by using the watercolor technique, they can create tattoo designs never seen before.
No subject is off-limits when it comes to this tattoo style.
There is a whole world to explore before settling on a watercolor tattoo idea.
Japanese Style Tattoos
If you want a detailed, symbolic piece of work to add to your current collection of tattoos, Japanese tattoos are the perfect choice.
The Japanese have been tattooing for more than 5,000 years.
At first, Japanese tattoos were perceived as a form of folk art, but then quickly became associated with organized crime groups.
Nowadays, Japanese tattoos can be divided into two types: traditional, also called tebori, and modern, made with electrical tattoo machines.
The tebori technique – the Japanese word for “hand-carving” – requires a stick made of bamboo and needles attached to the stick.
This ancient art form has survived despite modern technology and can still be seen in use today.
Being a slower process and less traumatizing to the skin, tebori tattoos heal faster and more evenly.
As the times change, all forms of art evolve, including tattoos, forming new artistic trends like Neo Japanese tattoo style.
The Neo-Japanese style is based on traditional Japanese tattoo themes, often combined with contemporary aesthetics, inspired by surrealist themes and pop culture.
Being a blend of the old and new, you’ll find some similarities between Neo-Japanese style, New school tattoos and Neo-traditional tattoo style.
Tattoo art isn’t just incredible, it can be incredibly realistic.
The popularity of realistic tattoos has been on an upward trend in recent years thanks to artists mastering the art and using different colors.
Apart from the fact that it is incredibly detailed, a realistic tattoo is not an easy feat to achieve and it can be a bit pricey.
Realistic tattoos are suitable for almost any tattoo subject, color or black and grey alike.
Geometric tattoos are a cool, hip way to express yourself.
Geometric tattoos are usually minimalist in nature, with lots of references to abstract art.
They are all about points, lines and curves and sometimes pair realistic images with patterns of lines or shapes.
Geometric tattoos are a lot of fun to play with offering plenty of room for creative expression.
You may not know it by name, but you’ve certainly seen graphic tattoos.
More than just a tattoo style, graphic tattooing is a movement in itself, with its own rules and regulations similar to the pop art movement of the 1960’s.
It borrows elements from other tattoo styles, such as black-work tattoos and negative space tattoos to create a new genre of body art that’s quickly gaining popularity in the tattoo world.
In the same way as pop art, graphic tattoo style is all about breaking barriers and trying something new, bringing a new level of creativity and innovation to the tattoo world.
Minimalist tattooing is a tattoo movement more than a tattoo style, that merges with other tattoo styles, like one line tattoo style and blackwork style, as well as geometric tattoos, to create a simple design.
Minimalist tattoos were popularized by social media, and there are two reasons for that.
First of all, they are cheaper than large-scale ones.
Secondly, minimalist tattoos appeal to many newbies, who love the fact that they can be easily concealed and the process is less painful.
The best thing about them is that they look good on all body parts!
Trash Polka Tattoos
Trash Polka tattoo style may seem chaotic at first glance, but it’s actually very orderly.
With an emphasis on the individual’s self-expression, a Trash Polka tattoo is made up of abstract designs and brush strokes combined with calligraphy, all in black and red ink.
This unique style was pioneered by Simone Pfaff and Volko Merschky, in the early 2000’s, while operating out of the Buena Vista Tattoo Club in Wurzburg, Germany.
The Trash Polka style of tattooing is far from ordinary: Each tattoo is one-of-a-kind.
Trash Polka is a style of opposites that create controversy and harmony in a single blend and it’s a perfect match for those who want an unconventional look that’s unique and bold.
Stick & Poke Tattoos
The stick-and-poke tattoo, also called handpoked, is a DIY, old school way to get ink on your skin.
Although stick and poke tattoos have been practiced for centuries in tebori, tribal, and other traditional tattoo methods, they’ve only recently gained prominence in the West thanks to social media and to minimalist tattoo trend.
Stick-and-poke tattoos are made with a needle instead of an electric tattoo machine, and they are ideal for simple and small tattoo designs.
However, stick ’n’ poke tattoos aren’t as durable as other types of tattoos, and the process takes longer than machine-assisted tattooing.
As the name suggests, biomechanical tattoos are inspired by machinery and robotics, offering a lot of creative freedom when it comes to design.
Blending human skin and technology together, biomechanical tattoo is the exploration of the answer to one of the deepest questions: What does it mean to be human?
Along with other contemporary tattooing styles, the sketchy style is growing increasingly popular.
In a sketch-style tattoo, the artist works on your skin like an artist working on canvas.
Sketchy tattoos appeal to those who love the raw, abstract lines of a sketch.
With this technique, you can fit your own tattoo motif or choose from a wide array of classic tattoo designs and brings a new, original twist to it.
Etching tattoos, made up of lines and shades that look like they were cut from wood, are a new trend.
They are a unique choice, so if you’re looking for your very own style, try this cutting-edge method.
Dot-work tattoos have a classic, sketchpad look to them.
Dotwork is a technique that combines dot after dot to create a beautiful, compelling image, similar to pointillism technique developed at the end of 19th century.
This technique can also be used for tattoo shading.
With so many designs and styles of tattoos, you can be sure to find one that fits your personal philosophy.
While you can put your own spin on it, every tattoo has a way of expressing one’s personality and individuality.
The problem is that there are so many tattoos out there; it’s hard to choose one.
Another way to narrow the choices is to categorize them by meaning or placement.
A tattoo can symbolize a number of things, including family, friendship, and love.
When deciding on your tattoo, there’s one thing you should remember: it will be with you for the rest of your life. So choose wisely!