Love the idea of old school tattoos but looking for a modern take without the limitations?
New school tattoos are for you.
Old school is the grand-daddy of tatty and new school is the rebel teen.
Originating in the 1970’s, this style is hard to miss, and was the start of modern tattoo culture as an art form.
People wanted to be part of the design process, customising their ink with their own flare.
Traits of new school tattoos:
- Bold, heavy outlines (most often black)
- Vibrant, in-your-face colours
- Playful, disproportionate, and exaggerated designs (i.e. cartoon-ified characters and themes)
- Degradês of traditional tattoo designs (i.e. customised hearts and daggers)
- Elements of shading, depth, and 3D effects
Think of new school as having a character or scene from a comic book tattooed to your body.
It’s a heavily stylized tattoo design but keeps to the older feel of classic Americana; not quite neo-traditional which leans towards the abstract.
New school tattoos veer off the beaten path of flash walls and towards experimental designs in graffiti, hip hop, and pop art.
Choose this style if you wish to put a creative spin on your piece while honouring tradition.
It’s really easy to confuse neo-traditional tattoo style with classic Americana tattoos.
Because as the name suggests, this style evolved from its name-sake.
While old school themes are the focus of neo-traditional, this style boasts lush, decorative details.
Like new school, neo-traditional honours old school with a modern and colourful approach.
The main difference between classic Americana tattoos and neo-traditional tattoos comes down to the use of colours and a broader range of motifs.
With traditional ink you’re limited to anchors and mermaids, but with neo-traditional pieces you can ink pretty much anything you want from animals to florals.
Impress your friends by knowing the difference:
- Pronounced line-work
- Dark, clean outlines
- Lush colours, from a larger palette (but still classic)
- Decorative, highly illustrative, art-nouveau, and art deco aesthetics
- Colour gradients and often the use of white ink to highlight
Art nouveau and art deco combine in this style, bringing together strong curves, romanticized scenarios, and luxurious detail.
Neo-traditional style differs from new school in that it’s more artsy as opposed to graffiti.
New patriotic imaginarium, such as Native Americans, portraits and skulls, are found in this style.
Unlike new school, which aims to blow out proportions and almost mock the strictness of old school, neo-traditional remains true to the art of tattoo aesthetics.
It’s as if the new school style grew up and learned that being traditional isn’t so bad afterall.
Watch this space for a look at the ultimate list of tattoo styles at a glance:
- Classic Americana Tattoos (Old School Traditional)
- New School
- Black & Grey
- Stick & Poke
- Trash Polka
- Cover Up
- Blast Over
- Dot work
- Fine line
- Continuous Contour
- Optical Illusion
- 3D Tattoos
- Broken Glass
- Negative Space
- Stained Glass
- Torn/ripped skin
- Wood carving
- Pop Art
- Aboriginal Dreamtime
- Sak Yant (Thai Bamboo)
- East Asian
- South Asian
- North American
- Earth Lines
- Skin Stitching
- Paint brush stroke
- White Ink
- UV Glow in the Dark
Still hungry for more? Check out these blogs from the archives;