Different Tattoo Styles

At this point we are just going to assume that you have seen tattoos on all kinds of people and they all look different. That is because tattoos are designed in all different kinds of styles. When you are trying to decide which style of tattoo you want to get, you might want to know what style you want it in. This will help you communicate with your tattoo artist when you walk into his shop. Let’s take a look, shall we?


traditional style

The Traditional Tattoo Style goes by many names; Old School Style, American Traditional, Western Traditional and Classic Tattoo Style. You can spot these tattoos from a mile away. They have bright but simple colors, bold outlines, and classic designs like anchors, roses, and simple portraits. You may have even heard the names of some of the famous Old School Tattoo Artists such as Sailor Jerry or Ed Hardy. They are beloved and historic artists in the tattoo community. And this style is built to last. With these simple designs, traditional style tattoos tend to age very well.



While the realistic style of art has been around since the Renaissance, it’s only made its way into tattooing in the last part of the 20th century. And you guessed it, these tattoos look very real. When applied correctly, these tattoos are very stunning. From portraits to landscapes, realism tattoos seem to pop right off the skin.

Water Color

water color

Pretty straight forward. Just as you would paint with water colors on paper, this style is set up to mimic that. However it is not nearly as easy on skin as it is on paper. Nevertheless, artists have been able to come up with stunning modern designs using this technique that has gained a lot of popularity recently.



Thought to be the oldest style of tattooing, tribal tattoos go back all the way to the beginning. Going back thousands of years, tribes all over the world would mark themselves for various reasons. Some to strike fear in enemies, some to denote rank, and some as sort of a family name. Polynesian tattoos are different from Maori and other tattoos. While they all look similar in bold black ink, the designs are different.

New School

new school tattoo style

While it’s not so new anymore, the name has stuck with it. This style came about in the 1990’s and only got better as more artists came along. Inspired by graffiti and street artists, New School tattoos boast bright and vibrant color palates, bold lines, and a comic style. Centered on cartoons and exaggerated figures, it has become a part of tattoo history.

Neo Traditional

neo traditional tattoo

As the name implies, this style was derived from traditional tattoo styles. The difference being that neo-traditional pieces use a broader range of colors and incorporate more detail into their designs. Influenced by Art Deco, this style is beautiful and illustrative.


japanese tattoo

Like Tribal Tattooing, Japanese styles go back centuries. These normally feature dragons, masks, samurai, cherry blossoms, and phoenixes. These tattoos tell stories of events and culture. The waves and smoke that are usually incorporated in the designs make them more powerful looking.
These are the main styles of tattooing. You can also do some research and find more styles such as black and gray, chicano, illustrative and more. When deciding what kind of piece you want, discuss it with your artist and see if it is a style they specialize in. View portfolios and make sure you are happy with the work they put out.
The artists at Electric Eye Tattoo are well versed in multiple styles of tattooing. Come in and look at our portfolios and schedule an appointment with us. We would love to work with you!
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