One of the most well-known styles of tattoos are Traditional tattoos. They are best known for their bold lines, bright colors, and immediately recognizable designs: anchors, roses, eagles, daggers, etc. Names that may come to mind that helped promote the popularity of this style back in the day are: Sailor Jerry, Bert Grimm, & Don Ed Hardy.
Japanese Traditional tattoos, (Irezumi) dates back to the Edo period of Japan (1603-1868). Most Japanese traditional tattoos prominently feature mythological creatures and heroes: dragons, phoenixes, koi fish, samurai, oni demons etc. Each one tells its own story with beautiful cloud or wave filled backgrounds and makes for a stunning tattoo.
Geometric tattoos can either be entirely composed of sharp, angled shapes and designs, or they can be incorporated into other pieces to add a unique combination of smooth, curved lines with the strict lines associated with the geometric style.
As the name suggests, realistic tattoos and portrait tattoos of loved ones, celebrities, or fictional characters are very popular. These tattoos work best when images have deep, contrasting colors or blacks & whites to make the image really pop!
Though the name implies that it is a newer style, it is anything but. New School Tattoos started back in the 80's and early 90's with the rise of stylized cartoon characters and shows. These tattoos are usually vibrant in color, express wild proportions and exaggerated features of the image and creates a fun spin on classic caricatures.
Losing a loved one, honoring a moment in time or simply paying homage to a time that affected your life encompasses the Sentimental/In Memoriam tattoo style. It is a wonderful, unique and personal way to remember a moment and show others you will never forget.
Watercolor tattoos are a newer style and as such, are in high demand! Keep in mind, while the paint effect looks cool on a fresh tattoo, if you don't take care of your skin properly, the delicate colors can fade over time. Otherwise, it is a great choice for a unique tattoo design!
Tribal tattooing is the oldest tattoo style in the world, dating back thousands of years. While most people may be familiar with Polynesian, Maori, or Aboriginal tribal designs, even Celtic patterns and knots can be considered tribal. Though the styling of tribal tattoos are unique in their own way, they are all similar in that they are almost always done in black ink and use the "negative space" of your own skin to create a contrast.
Neo Traditional Tattoos are derived from the classic 'Traditional' tattoos made popular by Sailor Jerry, Ed Hardy, etc. Unlike Traditional tattoos, however, the Neo Traditional style incorporates aesthetics from Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles of the 1920's and 1940's. The tattoo styles are similar in that they both feature bold lines, colors, and similar subject matter.
Chicano style tattoos have a rich, cultural background that originate from a place of desperation. Typically utilizing images from events such as the Mexican Revolution, Los Angeles low-riders and Pachuco culture, the aesthetic evolved from artists in prison who made use of whatever materials they could find behind bars to capture what they loved and missed on the outside in the form of a tattoo. Most Chicano Style tattoos are black and grey and depict something from the historical culture.
Illustrative tattoos describe a broad spectrum (since technically every tattoo is an illustration) but in short, they are usually very simplistic in nature, feature clean, simple lines and tend to be small accent pieces vs. large, full-scale sleeves or back piece tattoos. This style works really well when space is limited, the area you want to tattoo is small or if you just want a little something vs. a full piece.
Black & Gray tattoos are just that: tattoos made with black ink. The gray or "white" in these types of tattoos is most often the negative space on a person's skin, or areas that have been accented with the use of white ink. White tattoo ink is the easiest to fade so those fine details will fade over time. This is why picking a piece or subject matter that has a lot of contrast works best for this style.