The Tattoo world is changing and evolving every day, and today there are a lot of different tattoo styles.
We mean it.
On this list there are more than 60 different tattoo styles, and we want to share with you all of them, explained, with a lot of pictures.
With this, we hope you can select the style you want to ink on your next tattoo, and we hope to clarify this mess for you.
To help you even more, we are going to do it in alphabetical order.
The first in the list is, for me, one of the most spectacular tattoo styles ever, and it is kind of brand new.
I am talking about 3D tattoos, a difficult technique when the tattoo designs seem to be a part of the body, or just floating above the skin.
You can say 3D tattoo style is a transversal style, because you can combine it with a lot of other tattoo styles.
The point is, is this tattoo is well done, it is just amazing.
But this kind of tattoo are quite difficult. So, go to a good tattoo artist.
This is a 3D tattoo really special, because it’s made for… 3D glasses!
Trully, if you put a 3D glasses on, the classic ones with a blue and a red glass, you are going to see the tattoo in 3D.
This tattoo is from Travis Lamont.
And this beautiful biomechanical tattoo is from an awesome tattoo artist called Stepan Negur.
Personally, I do love biomechanical ones because, if the tattoo artist is really good, the tattoo is just awesome for everyone.
If you think in abstract art, maybe in your head are names like Picasso, van Gogh o Jackson Pollock, isn’t it?
Well, this kind of art is in the tattoo world too, of course.
And like in painting or sculpture, the point is the same: To distort forms and shapes to create an idea or feeling about something, but not having the real representation.
The awesome abstract tattoo in the arm is done by Richard Blackstar, based in Bologna, and we do love it.
You can say abstract tattoo style is a huge one, very flexible and with a lot of applications, and you are right.
We were talking a lot about the meaning of abstract tattoos but, just for telling you something:
Sometimes abstracts tattoo does not have a meaning, they are just beautiful for the person who have it, or just the tattoo artist who did it!
What about aesthetic tattoo? Really not all tattoos try to be aesthetic?
Well, yes and no.
When we talk about aesthetic tattoo, we are talking about tattoos that only go after aesthetic purposes.
Sometimes they are just beautiful, sometimes they are for covering up another tattoo, or even for covering up some physical problem or complex.
An ambigram is when you can read a word, at least, in two different ways.
There are a lot of ambigrams there, sometimes it happens when it rotates, sometimes when you look the word in the mirror, other times it is a circle, etc.
The ambigram looks really good and it’s a thing to do it on the right way.
This ambigram tattoo is done by Persil Tattoo and it is a fantastic example of what are we talking about.
Now, a couple of photos about different ambigrams tattoos.
Think about the old movies you have watched and about the tattoos that the bad people have there.
Ok, this could be the first image of American Traditional tattoo styles we all have in mind.
Of course, these days have gone, and the tattoo art evolved a lot, but the essence is the same.
And we love it because is one of the legacies in tattoo world.
For this, Classic Americana is one of the main tattoo styles in the US, and it is always a trend.
Anatomical style is not a very common one but, for us, it does worth a lot.
Theoretically speaking, this style is for tattoos that represents parts of the body in a realistic way, but there is a lot more.
This kind of tattoo usually means some accident, illness, or injury that marked one life.
And this is a thing.
Well, this is not about gangster, you do not have to worry.
When we talk about Bands Tattoo Style, is about having bands (black or colored) in your skin, that’s all.
Yes, in theory it is a blackwork substyle, but I think is something different.
Sometimes the bands are just bands, but other times can have something more.
If you like bold tattoos, this is your style.
If you like to pretend being Terminator, this is your style too.
Yes, Biomechanical Tattoo Style combines the machine drawings with realistic 3D tattoo with just one purpose: Pretending you have mechanical pieces inside you.
A couple of examples here:
Black and Grey tattoos are one of the most popular ones ever, and I think it is going to be always on this way.
This style is one of the biggest on this list, because when the tattoo artist uses just only black, or grey ink, the tattoo is here.
Here it is a couple of black and grey tattoos examples.
Just after black and grey tattoo style, just an introduction about blackwork tattoo style.
Is another of the big ones and, as well as black and grey, only have one condition:
Only black ink.
Now, a couple of examples.
Ok, this is a hard one.
Blast Over is a tattoo style a little bit weird and psychedelic, and definitely not for everyone.
But it is awesome too.
Some examples of Blast Over tattoos:
Broken Glass tattoo style is inside all the 3D tattoos.
It’s true is not the trendiest one, but we like it.
The brush stoke tattoo is not one of the most common on earth, but we love it, because it is delicate, balanced, and beautiful.
The point here is doing designs with ink (black or colored) are unique, because you cannot copy a brush stoke!
This technique is very used for abstract designs, but you can do a lot of different things.
Some examples of Brush Stoke tattoos.
I think you can realize what is cartoon tattoo style only with the name, isn’t it?
Cartoon tattoo style is only for cartoons (you know, American and European cartoon), manga and anime are on another category…
A few examples about Cartoon tattoo:
I have to tell you something.
We are based in a Celtic Culture area in Spain (yes, we mean it), so we are very used to this symbology.
Celtic symbology is really a thing, and you have lot of designs over there.
They used to work well in the shoulders or chest, but you can ink with this style almost in every place.
Some examples here:
Chicano Tattoo style is really a thing, specially in countries like México or the US.
Chicano Style comes from the gangs of the Mexican people who lives in the south of the US neighborhoods and they have their special cultures and iconography.
And we love all cultural expressions.
Some examples here:
Dotwork has appeared some years ago and it is really a trend.
Of course, is really beautiful, if the tattoo artist can do it well.
The point is doing something like the pointillist do in painting, but tattooing.
Some examples of dotwork tattoo style.
Geometric tattoos are all tattoos with geometry inside.
Can be patterns of different shapes, or just one design made with geometry.
They work really fine with dotwork, ornamental one and many others, and we love it.
Some examples of geometric tattoos:
Yes, you know exactly what glitch effect is (at least, if you are above 30 years old).
This effect used to happen on VHS tapes and in TV in the 90’s, and then, you can watch it a lot of times in films (maybe in The Matrix?).
Well, Glitch Tattoo Style is the same, but inked.
Yes. It is awesome and weird, but you can have a tattoo glowing in the dark with UV ink.
I think I cannot say something more to this tattoo style, and maybe it’s better if you can see it, isn’t it?
Some other examples.
Gradient Tattoo is another special substyle that works especially good with colored, but with black and grey too.
Is not super trendy, but is cool.
This style is easy to understand because it just doing a tattoo with graffiti aesthetic.
You know, can be letters (or lettering) or a drawing/design. The point is following the graffiti style.
And, why not, come back to the 90’s.
Grey Wash Tattoos are always a good choice, because they are into the Black & Grey tattoo style.
The point is here the lines are not as bold and the color is not so strong, but the essence is the same.
Haida tattoo style is one of our favorites, because it has all that we love on a style:
Something tribal, because Haida culture is from the natives in British Columbia and Alaska.
Something nature because the traditional designs are focused on animals and plants.
You can recognize the style miles away.
The designs are just awesome!
A couple of examples:
Hyper Realism appears back in the 60’s in painting and sculpture, and you can define it like:
Is this a photo or a painting?
Well, the same with tattoos!
A couple of examples:
Illustrative tattoo style is more a concept, because it has a lot of influence from blackwork, dotwork, even realism one.
As other tattoo styles, it has a lot of painting world and a lot of substyles inside.
Inverted tattoo style is a weird and a beautiful thing.
The essence is doing something like the negatives in photography, but with ink.
So, you “just” must turn the white into black, and the other colors with their complementary, and you have it.
Japan has a lot of tradition with tattoos, and Irezumi tattoos is just an art inside tattoo.
If you want to stay in the tradition, Japanese tattoo style makes the entire body as a canvas.
Kawaii is a manga substyle based on drawing very cute things (animals, plants, whatever).
In terms of art, kawaii drawing is easy, with a lot of colors, and looks awesome in the skin.
To ink phrases or concepts are just in the essence of tattooing, and that is why a lot of people choose a lettering or script tattoo for themselves.
This style has a lot of substyles inside, from Chicano to Japanese lettering, so it is very adaptable and rich.
A couple of examples:
We have seen a lot of different complicated tattoo styles, but line tattoos are just a back to the basis.
And we love it.
If we talk about line style tattoo, the point is the tattoo only must be done with lines.
The results can be very balanced, harmonic, and beautiful.
Yes, this is a brand-new style invented by Mattia Calvi, in Milano, Italy.
Why calling this style Mambo? Because the tattoo shop is call Mambo Tattoer.
The point is to break the natural structure of something and mold it into easier pieces.
And we think it works perfectly.
You know what a mandala is, isn’t it?
Well, this tattoo is just putting a mandala in your skin.
Of course, can be a mandala or just integrate it on a design.
Of course, Mayan Tattoo style is inside all the ethnic/tribal tattoo styles.
As you may know, Mayan culture has a lot of symbols and special patterns and designs, usually intricated, and the designs are fantastic.
Minimalism Tattoo style is one of the most inked one all over the world.
The designs are simple and usually small, so you can get something special without grab much attention.
Yes, Native American Tattoo style is inside all the ethnic tattoos, and it is a thing by itself.
As you know, Native American population have their own symbology, deities, and culture.
And it is rich, a lot!
When think in a standard tattoo, you think about ink some design in the skin in black or in color, isn’t it?
But what if you ink in black and de design is made in the color of your skin?
This is a Negative Space Tattoo, and they are awesome!
If you can remember, at the beginning of this article we were talking about Classic Americana tattoos.
Well, this Neo-Traditional tattoo style is the evolution of this Classic Americana, with thick lines, colors, and a lot of different designs.
You can read it like Neotradicional or just “Neotrad”.
New School tattoo style is really like Neo-Traditional one.
Thick lines, even more brighter colors, and bold designs.
The point here is maybe a little more of graffiti technique in the drawings and colors.
I think Norsemen culture and symbology is well known all around the globe, doesn’t matter if we are talking about Vikings or Lapponian people, isn’t it?
This tattoo style is inside the ethnics one (of course!) and the only requirement is to have elements of this cultures.
We must be sincere with you:
Optical Illusion are of our loved tattoo style.
(Usually) Bold lines, big enough and this “wow effect” so everyone must take a look at your tattoo.
Ornamental style is a must in tattoo world and serves like a big box where others substyles are.
Talking about technique, ornamental tattoos has a lot of details, can be more organic or more like traditional geometry.
Some examples here:
Outline Tattoo Style is simple by itself, and it is simple to understand.
The tattoo is just outlined, with no colors or specific details.
Yes, you may think it is just simple but, with the right design, is fantastic.
Pinstripe tattoo style it is a little odd, but we like it very much!
The point of this tattoos a complicated design with clear lines and color.
Is something like spirograph mix with tattoo.
We born in the 80’s so, for us, pixel is an art by itself, because with live with them back in the 90’s playing videogames.
Well, what if I told you there are a tattoo style simulating 8-bit designs?
Back at the beginning of this article we have talked about Dotwork as a tattoo style about doing designs with dots.
Ok, Pointillism tattoo style go further and tries to emulate pointillism in painting but on the skin.
Yes, you need a lot more of detail, work, pain, and technique!
Polygon Tattoo Style were a trend some years before, especially with animal drawings.
The point of this tattoo style is to take whatever design you image and make it in polygons.
Can be black or colored ink, doesn’t matter.
I think everyone can image this tattoo style easily.
If pointillism tries to emulate this trend in painting, Pop Art Tattoo style does the same, but with another style.
Portraits tattoos are very popular in almost every country.
The essence is simple: to have a portrait in your skin.
Doesn’t matter if the portrait is a famous one, someone on your family or your cat.
We can say Psychedelic Tattoo style is the main style for many others like Blast Over or even New School one, with a lot of bright colors.
You know what psychedelia is in music or on almost every art.
For tattoos, the same.
Being sincere, Quote or Words Tattoo style is quite like lettering and script one.
Just one thing, the point here is to ink some quote or words, not names.
Silhouette Tattoos are like portrait ones, but usually made in black ink, doing like the shadow of the design.
They perform really good and they are more unnoticed than others, so they are a good starting point.
We do love Sketch Tattoos because, if the tattoo artist is really and expert on this technique, you are going to have a spectacular work.
Talking about the ink itself, it is simple to explain:
The point is transferring a sketch drawing from a paper on the skin.
Not everyone likes big tattoos, and this is a reality.
For this, you can have a small or micro tattoo on whatever style you want.
The only main requirement: It must be small.
I am sure when you think on a stained glass your mind goes to a medieval church, isn’t it?
Well, Stained Glass Tattoo style is the same.
You must transfer this style to the skin, and you got it.
We have thought a lot about adding Stick and Poke Tattoo style to this list or not, and here we go.
There are people who like to ink just with a needle and ink, and nothing more.
The most of times we do not recommend this style because safety is the first thing when you get a tattoo, unless you find the right tattoo artist!
Sticker Tattoo style is something remarkable because it combines some styles we love like 3D, bright color, and fantastic designs.
The point is easy: The final result is pretending you have a sticker in your skin, not a tattoo.
Stonework is another astonishing style but not as popular as you may think.
The point here is pretending you have a sculpture in your skin and, when this tattoo is made by a professional of this style, the results are just fascinating.
You may know back in 1920 surrealism born as a style for painting, drawing, writing and whatever art you have.
Well, tattoo is not going to be less, and you can do a surrealistic tattoo, of course!
Torn o Ripped Skin Tattoo style is a special optical illusion tattoo that may pretend just the skin is ripped.
This technique is difficult, and you may be with one very professional tattoo artist.
Trash Polka is an odd an awesome tattoo style.
It comes from Germany and it mix the collage essence with, how can we say it, “war and trash stuff”, you know, swords, bombs, smog and whatever.
In terms of colors, black and red are the main ones, even the unique.
Inside Tribal tattoos are all the styles from the Pacific area, like Polynesian, Maori, Hawaiian or whatever.
I know is not fair, but there are a lot of different styles in the same area, so it is the only way to talk about them.
Watercolor Tattoo is a big style, like a standard feature for many other styles on this list.
The point is watercolor tattoos have a special color and a special attractive, and that is because they are used in a lot of compositions.
The world of watercolor tattoo is fascinating, and there are a lot of very good artists within it, but we want to recommend you two that you should know more about.
Their names are Laura Caselles and Kathycaboom.
They both are Spanish, but they have a totally different style.
Laura Caselles usually makes elegant and harmonic tattoo designs, with many elements from movies, series or manga.
Kathycaboom is an explosion of colors, with vibrant and dynamic designs.
In both cases, they are very recognizable and spectacular designs.
If we talk you about the white ink for tattoos, maybe you think we went crazy in some point, but it is used.
Yes, is not the main color ink and usually it gets practically unnoticed but, if you combine it with other colors, can make the difference.
As Stonework Tattoo style pretend you being and stone sculpture, this Wood Carving Tattoo Style pretends your body is made of wood, and the tattoo is just a carve work there.
The results can be very realistic, but the tattoo artist need a wonderful technique.
Now we are done with all the tattoo styles we can tell you about.
Did you enjoy the article?
If the answer is yes! Please, let us know.
In the last 10 years, a lot of tattoo styles have been created or perfectioned, and now we can say there are more than 60 tattoo styles, including styles and substyles.
Realistic tattoos are the ones about one (or more) realistic style, not only realism, but hyper-realism, abstract or surrealistic ones.
There is not a most popular tattoo, because it depends of the time, point of the globe (or of the country) and culture. Now, in the US or in Europe, maybe the trend is on hyper-realistic tattoos.