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The Many Different Styles of Tattoos


There are many styles of tattoos out there. Some have been around forever, some are new to the scene. Not everyone likes every style, but most people have a favorite. We all express ourselves through our tattoos, and choosing a style that best suites to show who YOU are is important to most of us.

Here is a list of all the predominant tattoo styles available.

TRADITIONAL: Traditional style tattoos are the old school. They’ve been around for nearly 100 years. They’re often bold dark lines with traditional coloring. Often they’re of naval themes, pin-ups, hula girls, skulls, sparrows and so forth. They are unique and unmistakable.

One of the styles that Pineapple does is American Traditional, like pictured with this eagle tattoo.

NEO-TRADITIONAL: Much like its namesake, they have bold dark lines with bright colors. However, the difference is the color saturation and shading is much smoother and fuller, and not of traditional subject matter. You can literally get any idea done in this style.

REALISTIC: Just as it sounds, realistic looking tattoos of anything and everything.

ULTRA-REALISTIC: Also known as photo-realistic, this takes realism to the next level and gives you a tattoo that almost looks like a photograph. Only the most skilled tattoo artists can pull off this style.

ILLUSTRATIVE/ARTISTIC: This style looks like art from a book. It borrows elements of both traditional and realism. Often, if done well, is quite beautiful. These kind can be either in black/grey or in color.

DARK ART: Dark art often is of “dark” subject matters, but not always. It also can be that It’s noticeable by the extreme contrast of the black and grey.

PORTRAIT: Portrait tattoos, like ultra-realism, require a very skilled artist. Portrait tattoos are tattoos of a person or animal/pet and resemble the subject exactly. They are considered by many to be the most difficult style of tattoo because if you don’t do it just right, it won’t look anything like it was supposed to.

TRIBAL: True tribal tattoos are often attributed to Maori, Polynesian, Aborigini and even Native American. These tattoos generally have a deeper meaning in the culture, and some feel it’s questionable for someone not of one of these people’s to get one of their tattoos.

NORSE/CELTIC: These two are both roundly loved for their intricate knot work and overall beauty. They’re often grounded on historical designs that have been around for many hundreds of years.

FINE LINE: Fine line tattoos are exactly that. Very fine, often black, lines for whatever the design might be. It can range from skulls to roses. Practically anything can be done in fine line.

MINIMALIST: A minimalist tattoo is often lacking too much detail or definition, little to no shading, but have well done, deliberate lines. The range in very small to large.

WATERCOLOR: A watercolor tattoo is done by a skilled artist, who uses many shades of the same colors, blending them exact to replicate a watercolor painting.

PATCHWORK: Patchwork tattoos are a collection of a bunch of smaller tattoos, and quite often, don’t go along with any particular theme. You could have a skull next to a toaster, next to a shoe. There literally are no rules.

JAPANESE: Traditional Japanese styles tell a story through symbolism. They’re often very brightly colored and bold lines. They can be applied either by machine or Tebori (manual tapping).

SKETCH: Sketch tattoos look just like a sketch from a book, with intentional stray lines to resemble the drawing. They can be either black/grey or color.

MICRO: These tiny and beautiful tattoos are generally highly detailed despite their size. You’ll often see them in color, but they can be in just black/grey. Subject matter ranges from bugs to airplanes. Anything, really.

TRASH POLKA: Started in Germany, these distinct black and red tattoos blend a chaotic version of realism with blackwork, and often tell a story through the differing images that blend together.

IGNORANT: Probably the newest kid on the block, ignorant style tattoos are intentionally poorly drawn, often don’t make too much sense but are oddly appealing and well done. They are the new rebellious tattoo, as other tattoos have become more mainstream and accepted.

PATCH/STICKER: These two styles literally look just like a real life sewn patch or a sticker. If well done, it’s incredibly hard to tell if they’re real or a tattoo. Some more talented artists have even recreated the holographic style of sticker as a tattoo, and they are quite impressive.

3-D: 3D tattoos are done in a way to trick the eye into making the tattoo look 3 dimensional. This is also done in red and blue offset image inks, so that when wearing 3D glasses, the tattoo appears to float over the skin.

Whatever your personal taste is, hopefully we’ve given you some ideas for your next tattoo!

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