10 Tattoo Styles a Tattoo Artist Must Know
Over the past few decades, the tattoo industry has become unprecedentedly popular. When tattoos first emerged they were looked upon as a bad thing but now as time passed people have started to develop a liking to this form of art.
Out of every 10 Americans, 4 have tattoos and that does not include the younger generation. This number would increase if we consider younger people. The younger age group has been the main reason for the growth of the tattoo industry over the past years. Younger generations not only have one or two tattoos but they sometimes have their entire body inked. Although I think it is really dangerous people have started to tattoo their eyes and other body parts which are considered health hazards.
Tattoo is not just fashion or style. They have various significance depending on each individual’s life. While tattoos are seen as a sign of disrespect or sin in many religions, they also have religious significance for others, for example, Hinduism. Hinduism is the source for countless tattoo designs including the very popular and sacred “Om” symbol. Fun fact, in the past Hindu women, had the name of their husband tattooed on their forearm. It was believed that they should never speak the name of their husband, so the tattoo allowed them to communicate it more easily. Hindus also get images of Gods tattooed on their bodies. However, placement is important and you won’t often see the god Shiva anywhere below the waist on a Hindu.
As a tattoo artist, it is really important to know what a client wants. People get tattoos for different reasons and choose different styles based on those reasons. Therefore a tattoo artist needs to be familiar with different tattoo styles. Below are 10 tattoo styles a tattoo artist must know.
10 tattoo styles a tattoo artist must know
- Geometric styles: In photography lines and shapes are important to direct a viewer’s eyes to a particular point. The same goes for tattooing, Repeating patterns, symmetry, real objects, and figures made of sharp edges and lines convey bold messages. It is using the power of geometry to create a visually appealing image. For example in symmetrical images, the visual weight will be equally distributed across either the horizontal or vertical axis at the center of the piece and in asymmetrical images the visual weight is not equally distributed, causing one area of the artwork to hold more weight than the others.
- Abstract styles: The idea of abstract has been found in art and art culture for hundreds of years. Abstraction is a variance on a standard perspective and was used by countless artists in both Eastern and Western artworks. This abstraction became especially popular when artists were seeking a new way of expressing themselves that greatly differed from what was being done. There are numerous styles of abstract tattoos one of the most popular of which is abstract line work that can take on any number of themes. A Picasso-style abstract tattoo that uses shapes and lines to create a human form that varies from the typical composure. Patterns and blocks of color may be added as well to create a modern tribute to the fundamentals of modern abstract shaped by Picasso.
- Illustrative styles: This style is one of the most popular for tattoos today, and you can find many tattoo artists specializing in it. Anyone and everyone are familiar with the illustrative form of tattooing because it is similar to the drawings and sketches that we see in our books. The art used in illustrative tattoos can be both fiction and reality. Illustrative tattoos have solid black outlines, much like traditional tattoos, and maybe colorful or simply black. A lot of people who are familiar with animation know that it does not involve a lot of shading but just solid outlines, the same goes with illustrative tattoos. Illustrative tattoos mostly only use black ink, however, they can be colorful depending on the individual’s choice.
- Americal/Old school styles: American tattoos, also known as traditional, Western, or old School. They are characterized by their clean black outlines, vivid colors, and minimal shading, similar to that of the illustrative tattoos. These are some of the most common styles of tattoos. American tattoos often depict generic objects such as daggers, roses, wolves, skulls, ships, and anything that one can think of. American tattoo styles are called traditional tattoos because they have descended from ages and people still love them today. This style of tattoo is here sine ages and is here to stay for a very long time. Any person who is getting their first tattoo will choose this traditional form of art because it is safe and looks good no matter what.
- Tribal Styles: Tribal styles of tattoo are not limited to a particular style of art. We can tell from the name itself that these tattoos include art forms from various indigenous tribes all over the world. These tattoos are usually very large and cover a great amount of a person’s body. The people who choose to get this form of tattoo style are usually bold and willing to take a lot of pain, as it is something that takes a lot of time to complete. This style usually depicts Idols, festivals, ornaments, and many more things from tribes such as Native American, Indian, African, Filipino, Hawaiian, Cherokee, Mexican, etc. There are over 35 types of tribal tattoo styles.
- Blackwork: As the name already suggests, blackwork tattoos are done with heavy amounts of black ink. Elements of this style of tattoo include thick outlines; intense shading; and large, filled-in, black areas. While blackwork tattoos may sound heavy, they can create bold but delicate tattoos. There are a variety of styles within the realm of blackwork tattoos—some artists prefer heavy grey shading, some prefer crisp, all-black designs. At the end of the day, it all depends on what an individual wants.
- Sketch styles: Like any sketch that is done on paper by hand, sketch tattoos are all about mimicking hand-drawn features. This style of tattoo has incomplete strokes, overlapping lines, and elements that do not fully close. Most parts of the sketch have bold lines and rough shading. This style of tattooing leans more towards a natural look like any hand-drawn art and does not want it to be seen as a perfect digital image. These tattoos usually use shading but colors are also used, however only softer gradient colors are taken to get this style done.
- Watercolor styles: This form of tattoo style is different from other forms in a very significant way. Most tattoo styles use bold black lines and grey shading. Watercolor tattoo styles, however, use bright, vibrant colors as though they have been spilled in a canvas. These colors are spread all over the skin as though the skin is a canvas and the tattoo artist is a painter. The colors can be used alongside a figure structured with black outlines and frequently the color spills over through this main image. Despite the colors being the main element, it’s the work between shading and contrast that gives this style its essence. The way the colors change gradient, flow through space and cross the black outlines, almost as if by mistakes, makes us forget that it was made with a needle and not a brush.
- Dotwork style: Dotwork, as the name already suggests is a tattooing technique where the artist uses several dots for a striking visual effect. A tattoo artist that works with this form of style usually gives up on the machines and tools that are generally used for tattoos. Instead, they use their hands. Even though it might take longer, hand-drawn dotwork tattoos come out best. These dots create either the entire image or just the shading. Dotwork used for shading is known as stippling. This technique uses black ink, grey ink, or sometimes red ink. Dotwork is a time-consuming technique, but it is well worth the wait. Each dot must be placed precisely, so the artist must be both highly skilled and patient.
- New school styles: New school is a tattooing style that is influenced by some features of old school tattooing in the United States. The style is often characterized by the use of heavy outlines, vivid colors, and exaggerated depictions of the subject. New school tattoos are exaggerated and in no way resemble anything real. They usually depict cartoon characters and other fictional themes. New school tattooing incorporates elements from many tattooing traditions including old school, and folk art. It is similar to old-school tattooing in that they both generally employ heavy outlines. While old school tattoos are usually black or grey, new school tattoos usually use a lot of bright colors.
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