Internationally, there are many different tattoo styles as well as techniques.
In addition, there are tattoo artists who tattoo by hand using traditional techniques. These methods require a lot of experience in order to tattoo clean lines, even surfaces, and flawless color gradients. Some Asian master tattoo artists produce impressive tattoos using such techniques. Modern tattoo machines were developed over 100 years ago and have become firmly established due to many advantages, including: better tattoo quality, uniform stroke strength, and better hygiene. Due to the considerable variety, hybrids and continued development of existing styles, it’s impossible to describe all tattoo styles.
Nevertheless, an overview of the most important styles, categories and color schemes is presented below:
New school is a continuation of old school tattoos, whereby anchors, skulls and ships get a colorful remake. New school tattoos are usually colorful, bright, almost comic-like tattoos, often without a particular meaning, mainly meant to be fun. New school tattoos are characterized by clear, thick outlines and clean, striking designs.
Traditional / Oldschool
Rational, usually quite colorful designs such as sail boats, sailor’s graves, pin-up girls, daggers and animal designs.
Asian, Japanese fantasy designs, for example dragons, warriors, wizards, witches, elves, gnomes, fairy-tail creatures, etc.
Simply portrayed, mostly quite large motifs from Eastern mythology, such as Koi fish, lotus and cherry blossoms, dragons, dragon hunters, samurai, etc. done in Japanese suit style, with a dark background, often in the form of clouds, wind, and/or water.
As the name implies, these designs combine technical and organic designs. The brilliant designs of H.R Giger, which have inspired many-a-tattoo, are a good example of this style.
Tribals are patterns made up of black lines; shadowing can be used to impart depth. One can also depict animals, dragons and plants in tribal form.
Lettering tattoos are comprised of letters, often names or other words. A lettering tattoo can be comprised of a single letter, a sequence of letters, or even completed sentences.
Plant and flower designs.
Portraits. Animals, plants, etc., that are done to look as real as a photograph.
The word Chicano basically means “Mexican-American”, therefore these tattoos are often referred to as Mexican tattoos. The most common designs are happy or sad clown masks, together with elegant scripts or texts written in the old English Style. Designs focused on death, wealth, religious symbols, and portraits are a mainstay of the Chicano style.
Designs done with enormous detail and fine lines.
Maori tattoos originate in the traditions of the Maori Indians, the native people of New Zealand. In the Maori culture, tattooing was a clan ritual that designated brave warriors. Maori tattoos are mostly done in black.
Dot-work tattoos are comprised of a multitude of fine dots that form a design. Dot-work is most often used in tribals, lettering, and Maori tattoos.