How Many Tattoo Styles Are There?

How Many Tattoo Styles Are There?

At this point in the tattoo industry there are well over 30 different tattoo styles!

Tattooing since the early 1900’s has grown exponentially decade to decade. Just like the population and coincidently technology the tattoo industry have grown faster and faster in the last two decades.

It is logical I suppose that since the rise of the internet and the sharing of information worldwide tattooing has been booming.

Tattooing in the last two decades has increasingly become not only more popular but more acceptable.  Especially in western cultures.

Part of this acceptance I believe is down to the artist ability that has moved into the industry.  Tattooing before the internet was kept a bit of a dirty secret truth be told.  And it was a very toxic “only you can tattoo if I say you can” type of culture.  Some tattooers decided to take the roll of god and decide themselves who gets to tattoo and who doesn’t.  This mindset often came with a very narcissistic and belittling style of teaching.  Sadly I still hear and see this kind of behaviour in the industry now!

As the industry opened up so too did the type of people able to tattoo and their abilities.

We went from tattooers to tattoo artists.

We are now at a point where we have some tattoos on skin just as good if not better than some art we see hanging in gallery’s anywhere around the world.

The opening up of the industry mixed with the development and talent of all types of artists has led to all types and styles of tattooing.  Quite literally now we have as many tattoo styles as we have styles of art.

Renaissance tattooing, Polynesian tattooing, graffiti tattoos, realism tattoos, micro tattoos and many many more!

In order to break this down and give you some direction we give you our top ten styles of tattooing.

Tribal tattoos, how tattooing began. A way to mark, intimidate and outwardly express to which tribe you belong.

Traditional tattoos, how tattoos began in the navy.  Bold, lasting, simple and solid.

Black and grey tattoo, are largely know for being realistic tattoos or portraits etc

Realism tattoo, a realistic looking tattoo in colour or black and grey.

Dot-work tattoo, tattoos built up with dots.  Some also have linework to frame them such as mandala tattoos.

Neo traditional tattoo, new traditional tattoos are a new spin on traditional tattoos.  They generally have finer lines with more detail, somewhere between traditional and realism.

Fine line tattoo, tattoos made with a single needle.  They can be very detailed like micro realism tattoos or very simple and delicate.  

Japanese tattoos, Japanese tattoos can be both traditional Japanese tattooing or anything that is a Japanese symbol such as a tiger or koi fish.  The Japanese take their style of tattooing very serious and respect to that.  Be careful if you get a Japanese tattoo and wish to travel to Japan, if the tattoo hasn’t been done to the correct principles over there you may be frowned upon.

Cover up tattoo,  covering up an old or unwanted tattoo is very common these days.  As you can imagine since the industry boomed so too did the quality, leaving many people with older tattoos wanting them covered up.  Get advise from a reputable tattoo artist on this and expect to invest, time and money.  Covers up are generally more work, laser treatment may help the situation.

Black work, tattoo line work.  Solid black out tattooing, tattooing shapes and silhouettes.  Black work will mean definitely things to different artists.  But essentially it’s doing with black ink only.

I hope this helps you decide which direction you would like to go on in your tattoo journey!

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