The decision to get your first tattoo can be a big one (even if the tattoo is a small one!) but once you take that mental leap…what are you going to get? Then once you have answered that question….what style will it be in?
Style? School? Huh? A picture is worth …you know. So check this out:
So if you decide to get a killer tiger tattoo then your next decision should be…what style of tiger?
Chances are you already know (sort of) what you want your “tiger” to look like. But up the game a bit and figure out what style you have in mind. Then go for Olympic status and locate an artist that specializes in that particular style – you are bound to end up with amazing results.
So here is a brief list of some of the major tattoo styles most commonly seen today.
NOTE: Sometimes a style is referred to as a “school”. Sometimes I get my information wrong and if you catch me then comment and help me get it right. And if you recognize the tattoo artist bring it to my attention so I can credit them properly.
OK – get your books and pencils out – it’s time to get to class!
OLD SCHOOL (AKA American Heritage)
This is your old timey “sailor flash”. Many current artists work exclusively in this time-honored style featuring bold black outlining, eye-popping colors, minimal shading and stylized graphics.
Well you can’t have an old school without a new school can you? This style takes familiar images and gives them an insane graphic twist. Perspective can be bent, eyes, limbs etc. get exaggerated, colors are varied and ultra saturated and the overall effect is cartoony and three dimensional.
There are many traditions associated with Japanese style tattoos and within this style there are different categories but in general you have an illustrative quality that is distinct and refined with delicate line work and tons of small details, rich colors and subtle shading.
This style features a peek inside the human body to reveal the machine within. A complex and ornate tattoo with many different layers, shading and very fine linework creates an intense 3D effect – be sure to locate an artist who is excellent at it – bad BioMech looks…bad.
A style gaining in popularity with artists and collectors for its free-wheeling approach to composition, color and application. With no heavy outlining these tattoos have a fresh, painterly quality.
What if color is not your thing? Geometric tattoos feature repeating patterns, mathematical precision and largely abstract imagery with mainly black ink. Naturally there are exceptions but this is the gist of a great geometric tattoo…
of course there are many more styles, classes, sub-classes and various distinctions. Here are few more for fun:
and on and on and on…
How lucky are we to have such a treasure box of artists and styles to choose from!
So what did I miss? What is your favorite?