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Posted on Sep 01, 2017
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Tattoo Design Styles

Like any other art form, tattoos come in a wide variety of styles. They can be minimalistic or intricate, realistic or surreal, bold or delicate — the possibilities are endless. And whatever your aest...

Like any other art form, tattoos come in a wide variety of styles. They can be minimalistic or intricate, realistic or surreal, bold or delicate — the possibilities are endless. And whatever your aesthetic, there's a tattoo style suited to you. Discover 10 of the most popular options below.

 

1. Geometric

In geometric tattoos, familiar shapes — like lines, triangles, squares, and circles — come together to form unique, eye-catching patterns. Geometric Tattoo Style

 

 

 

2. Illustrative

Think of "illustrative" as an umbrella term for any designs that resemble drawings you'd find in a sketchbook. You can often sort illustrative tattoos into other — more specific — styles, like fine line, engraving, etching, and abstract expressionism.

Illustrative tattoo Style 

3. American Traditional

 

 Also known as "Old School," this style originated in the 18th century and was first popularized by sailors who got tattooed to document their time at sea. Common American Traditional motifs include skulls, ships, roses, daggers, eagles, and hearts.

American Traditional Tattoo Style

 

4. Minimalism

When it comes to minimalist tattoos, less is more. Artists who specialize in the style attempt to keep their designs as simple as possible.

Minimalism Tattoo Style

 

5. Realism

Realism tattoos are some of the most difficult for artists to execute. The goal is to make the designs look true to life. Think of it as getting a photograph recreated right on your skin.

Realism Tattoo Style

 

6. Lettering

In lettering tattoos (aka text tattoos), the focus of the design is the font being used to spell out whatever word, phrase, or quote you're getting inked. Some artists use pre-existing fonts for their lettering pieces, while others use unique, self-designed fonts.

Lettering Tattoo Style

 

7. Blackwork / Tribal

Thousands of years ago, ancient Polynesian tribes used tattoos to tell ancestral stories and celebrate sacred rituals. The style created by these tribes (now known as "tribal" tattoos) typically consists of bold, black lines that come together to form elaborate geometric patterns.

Blackwork Tatto Style Tribal Tattoo Style

 

8. Single Line

It can be helpful to think of single line tattoos as a combination of minimal and illustrative. Artists who specialize in this style draw complete designs using just one continuous line.

Single Line Tattoo Style

 

9. Japanese

Traditional Japanese tattoos — aka "Irezumi" — originated thousands of years ago (some historians say as far back as 5000 BCE). They often depict meaningful images from Japanese culture and folklore, including dragons, peonies, waves, foo dogs, and koi fish.

Japanese Tattoo Style

 

10. Dotwork

Dotwork is a subcategory of illustrative style tattoos. It's a shading technique that creates a sense of movement and depth in designs by layering tiny, individual dots.

Dotwork Tattoo Style

 

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