Well, this guide is a big one.
Because American Traditional Tattoo is, for a lot of people, the only tattoo style on earth.
Moreover, in Western Countries we can say it is the modern beginning for all the tattoo culture, and this is a thing.
Because of this, in this guide we want to show you:
So, let’s start!
Table of Contents
Anchor American Traditional Tattoo
This first tattoo is maybe one of the most iconic in the American Traditional Tattoo.
As you can see, it is an anchor tattoo made in the traditional way, with the inscription Sailors Grave in the banner.
Because of this, we think this is one of the best examples to introduce you to this tattoo style.
This tattoo is made by Bridge Street Tattooing, in Dorset, UK, nice job there!
About American Traditional Tattoo History
First of all, we are not going too deep with this part, because we think you are looking for tattoo designs, but a little bit is ok, isn’t it?
What we have to say about American Traditional Tattoo History is about the Sailor Jerry figure.
It seems his real name was Norman Collins, and he went to Hawaii to tattoo after the World War II.
The point is Hawaii is really far away, but it was in a lot of ship routes.
Moreover, Hawaii and all of Polynesia is a temple for the tattoo culture, so Sailor Jerry can know more and learn from here, mixing with the traditional tattoo.
About references, Captain Cook is maybe the main one and, with this starting point, he try to get better and better on his tattoos.
Traditional Shark Tattoo in Color
Here is another nice example about an American Traditional Tattoo, this time about a shark with some color.
As you can see, thick lines, simple designs and very old fashioned, in the best way!
This tattoo is made by Zack Colburn, in Columbus, Ohio.
American Traditional Tattoo main Guidelines
As all styles in every art discipline, American Traditional Tattoo has it owns guidelines, and we are here to show it to you:
These should be the main ones who define the style.
Pretty cool, isn’t it?
What about the American Traditional Tattoo symbols?
Well, there are a lot of different symbols in this tattoo style, but we want to introduce you to the main 12 ones.
Traditional Swallow Tattoos
The first one we want to introduce you to is one of the main ones in this style: The Swallow.
Yes, maybe in your head are more popular anchors, hearts or even pin-ups but, for the sailors, a pair of swallows was the best lucky charm.
And swallows were this charm because it is the symbol of turning back home, and you know, if a sailor does not arrive back it is because he died.
In fact, when a sailor dies in the sea, the myth was that a pair of swallows should pick his soul and take it to heaven.
Moreover, a swallow tattoo 50 years back was a symbol for a sailor who had sailed 5K miles away.
Pair of swallows color tattoo
Nice example, isn’t it?
The most classic way to represent swallows in the American Traditional Tattoo is by pairs, with some color as you can see in this wonderful artwork.
The other elements, thick lines, bright and primary colors and simple designs are the main 3 guidelines to this style, so we can say it is just perfect.
This work is done by Erick Jeronimo, a talented Mexican tattoo artist working at Studio 36, at Mexicali.
Pair of swallows in the chest
Here you can find another example, maybe boldest because of the size and the placement, but equally awesome.
Two swallows in the chest, with very bright colors, thick lines and completely symmetrical.
This fantastic job is done by Arthrose, a talented tattoo artist working at Artribal Tatouages, in France.
Traditional Pin-up Tattoo
Pin-up women are very popular after World War II because they have two different and opposite meanings.
First, Pin-up girls were the ideal for femininity in some contra-cultural circles, but they were opposite to the more conservative society.
On the other hand, these pin-ups designs usually were portraits of some woman a sailor knows, but idealized.
And, finally, it represents again the desire of going back home.
Sitting Pin-up Tattoo
In this wonderful example you can see a pin-up tattoo, but not in the classical way, more like a portrait.
The woman is sitting on a table, with something like a waiting pose.
As you can see, the colors are black and red, with some green for the grass, all primary colors, thick lines and simple designs.
Perfect for an American traditional tattoo.
This work is done by Chase Tucker, a very talented tattoo artist specialized in this style, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, of course.
Welder Pin-up Tattoo
Yes, a welder Pin-up, why not?
We hope this kind of tattoo inspires you, because we do think this idea is fantastic to get inked.
Something very personal, unique and bold, isn’t it?
Moreover, it is a perfect example of a Pin-up tattoo, very traditional, and modern too!
This artwork is done by Spencer Harrington, a fantastic tattoo artist working at Spider Murphy’s Tattoo, in San Rafael, California.
Traditional Heart Tattoo
Another of the big symbols for sailors was the heart tattoo, as is in your head, isn’t it?
The symbol is very clear: It represents the danger of being in the sea for months, and the memory of the loved one by the sailor.
Because of this, usually the heart has a banner with the name of the loved one (could be a person, a city, an object or whatever).
Traditional Heart Tattoo with badge
Yes, this is a very traditional heart tattoo done in American Traditional style but, as you can see, the name in the badge is not very traditional, isn’t it?
If we say a few lines back the sailors usually put the name of the loved one in the badge, this person knows very well who is the one to love!
The tattoo is done by our beloved Samantha Fung, a fantastic tattoo artist you should follow right now. She works at Red Point Tattoo, in London.
Heart with Dagger Traditional Tattoo
And here you can find another American Traditional Heart Tattoo, this time, with no banner but with a dagger, another classic design.
You can see some flowers and fire too.
This kind of tattoos had a strong symbology with sailors and outlaws.
The tattoo is made by Mike, a fantastic tattoo artist from Tenochtitlán, in México. He works at Evolution Tattoos and Siete Muerte Tatuajes.
Traditional Anchor Tattoo
In the fourth place we have the anchor one, another big symbol for the sailor.
Another meaning: calm against adversity, yes, in a stoic way.
In the sailor meaning, an anchor was the spot you can tattoo if you have crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
Traditional Anchor Tattoo
Anchors are one of the main symbols for American Traditional Tattoo, and this is a fantastic example of this.
Black inked, thick lines, simple design but perfectly done.
Instead an inscription in the anchor, just a flower. Fantastic, isn’t it?
The tattoo is made by Lewis Davies, a fantastic tattoo artist from Birmingham, in the UK.
Traditional Color Anchor Tattoo
Here is another anchor tattoo example, this time with some red and blue colors, all in a fantastic old-fashioned style we do love.
This tattoo can make you travel back to the 50’s, we mean it!
The artwork is done by Jun Hyuck, working at Hongdae, Uijeongbu, in South Korea.
Ship Traditional Tattoo
The ship was everything for a sailorman.
The ship was the adventure, and the risk. The thing they do for living, but to die too.
And, because of this, you can see a lot of different ship tattoos in a traditional way.
Moreover, the ship tattoo was a symbol of honor and courage.
And, as the anchor, it was a record too: It seems the sailor has navigated Cape Horn, one of the more dangerous places in the sea!
Traditional Big Ship Tattoo
And here, a big ship done with American Traditional Tattoo style perfectly finished, isn’t it?
We can say it delivers all the features for this style, you know:
Thick and bold lines, primary colors, simple design but done with maestry.
This fantastic job is done by Kyle MacKenzie, working at North Street Tattoo, in Salem, Massachusetts.
Color Ship Tattoo
This one is analogous to the last one, with more color and a light different style, so you can feel the point of these tattoos.
One more time, primary colors, simple and bold designs, very clear and thick lines, perfectly done.
This tattoo is made by Audrey, a very talented tattoo artist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, working at Triumphant Arts Tattoo Studio, you should follow her right now!
Traditional Shark Tattoo
Sharks tattoos are a thing in traditional tattoos, because of the symbol and their meaning.
In fact, Sailor Jerry used to say something like you want to hate sharks, but you are going to love them.
Anyway, the first meaning was a protection against the sea and whatever is living there.
Moreover, sharks are just the predator, so none can eat them, and this power is in the symbol too.
Finally, sharks represent the eternal movement, and this meaning is for sailors too!
Traditional Shark Tattoo
As you can see, this can be a very nice example of a very traditional shark tattoo.
Biting position, mouth open with the detail of the tail just on the surface of the water.
Very cool, isn’t it?
The tattoo is done by Eva, a fantastic traditional tattoo artist working at Tiny Tims Baltimore Ave Tattoos, of course, in Baltimore, in the US.
Traditional Shark Tattoo Black Ink
And now, another shark for you.
This tattoo is made 100% in a traditional style, in black and gray ink and with just a little shadowing.
Yes, the design is simple, thick lines very clear and harmonic, a very nice one!
The tattoo is done by Vinny Valdez, a wonderful tattoo artist from San Francisco, California.
Traditional Lucky 13 Tattoo
Number 13 is always a bad luck sign, isn’t it?
But, back a lot of decades ago, tattoos were for sailors, but to convicts too.
And this is the beginning of the story.
These convicts or outlaws integrate the 13 as a symbol of back luck and get inked with it like a statement, like being beyond good and evil.
Lucky 13 with horseshoe
Talking about the number 13, here you can find a very traditional tattoo with the number 13 and a horseshoe.
You know, 13 is the number for bad luck, but horseshoes are the opposite, the lucky one.
The tattoo is made by EAST, a tattoo artist from Auch, a city in the South of France.
Lucky 13 with cat
And, this time, the number 13 in the company of a (little weird) cat.
You know, a black cat is always a bad luck symbol, moreover, with the number 13, the tattoo has a little more power 🙂
The tattoo is done by Damian Gozdur, a fantastic tattoo artist working at Dirty Lust Tattoo, in Warsaw, Poland.
American Traditional Eagle Tattoo
We can say the eagle is the symbol of America in the US way, isn’t it?
And, moreover, in the eagle symbology are elements like intelligence, honor or courage.
Eagles in the Western Countries are a very masculine symbol, because it is about power and domination, and it was one of the main ones for sailors too.
Traditional Color Eagle Tattoo
Yes, fantastic design, isn’t it?
This time you can see a traditional eagle tattoo done with American Traditional Tattoo style, very bold design.
As you can see, primary colors, perfectly done thick lines, and some ferocity in the eagle.
This artwork is done by Lingerfeldt Tattoo, a wonderful tattoo studio in Nashville, Tennessee you should follow!
And Black and Gray Eagle Tattoo
And, in case you are looking for some traditional eagle tattoo design in black and gray ink, this is the perfect example.
The pose is similar to the other, an attacking eagle, the mastery is there too, just another different angle because of the color.
The tattoo is done by Alex Gracia, working at Melbourne City Tattoo.
American Traditional Dragon Tattoo
Yes, dragons are in the sailor symbology, but why?
This is because Sailor Jerry was to Hawaii and eventually met some people from the Asian Southeast, China and Japan who show and teach about Asian dragons.
Then, Sailor Jerry adapts this dragon symbol to the Western mythology.
In fact, there was a symbol for a sailor who navigates to Asia and, moreover, a golden dragon tattoo tells you that this sailor has passed the International Date Line.
American Traditional Dragon Tattoo
This could be a nice example of a dragon done with American Traditional Tattoo style and, as you can see, it is very.. Japanese, isn’t it?
This is because Sailor Jerry references for dragon tattoos were Japanese or, at least, Asian.
The other features, as always, thick lines, and primary colors.
This tattoo is done by Louis Jacobs, a very interesting tattoo artist working at The Black Freighter Tattoo Co, in Chester, UK.
Color Dragon Tattoo
And here you can find another nice example of a dragon tattoo in a very traditional way.
This time, maybe more close to Japanese style but with american point, in black, red and yellow color.
This tattoo is made by Justin McRocklin, working at Trustworthy Tattoo, in Oberlin, Ohio.
Traditional Skull Tattoos
Is something well known that skulls are a death symbol, and, for the sailor, it was too!
But, moreover, a skull is a mark for adventurers, mercenaries and warriors in general.
In fact, skulls are usually with some other things like flowers or daggers.
The dagger was a thing because it was easy to hide and a weapon for heroes and for the evil ones too!
Skull & Snake Traditional Tattoo
This example is a very traditional skull tattoo design, and, as you can see, you can feel the thick lines, all in black ink.
For giving the composition some more power, a snake around the skull, like a guardian from the underworld.
This tattoo is done by Sarah Keeley, a fantastic tattoo artist working at Minhwa Tattoo Co. in Toronto, Canada.
Skull & Dagger Traditional Tattoo
Another iconic design in traditional tattooing is the skull with a crossing dagger, like this one.
This is a flash design, very simple but perfectly done, as you can notice for the lines.
All in black ink, a little bit shadowing in the upper part of the skull and a couple of blood drops.
Fantastic, isn’t it?
The tattoo is from New Amsterdam Tattoo Studio, in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.
American Traditional Snake Tattoo
For us, snakes are a powerful symbol for the rebirth, the new start and the power itself.
In fact, in the sailor symbology are usually inked like prepared to attack, or even biting, and it comes from the “Don’t tread on me” concept.
There is no culture around the globe without a powerful symbol for snakes, so it is always a good sign!
Traditional Snake Tattoo
As we told you some lines above, usually the snakes were tattooed attacking (or prepared to attack), with primary colors and thick lines.
And this is just what you can see here, isn’t it?
This work is done by Koala, working at Portland, and we can say you should follow the Instagram account!
(A bit Neo)Traditional Snake Tattoo
We love this tattoo design because it is just in the middle between a traditional and neo traditional tattoo.
At first it seems more neotraditional, but there is no shadowing, not a complicated color palette and thick lines, so this tattoo has all the features for being an American Traditional Tattoo.
This work is done by Kyle MacKenzie, a fantastic tattoo artist working at North Street Tattoo, in Salem, Massachusetts.
Traditional Panther Tattoo
The last classical symbol for American Traditional Tattoo is the panther one, very popular but maybe not as the other ones.
Panthers are always a symbol of power, and not being aggressive if it is not necessary and freedom or courage too.
Sailor Jerry’s panthers were very aggressive, very masculine, in the traditional meaning.
They were very popular back in the 50’s and 60’s, because they were the most chosen tattoo for the soldiers back in WWII.
American Traditional Panther Tattoo
This can be the most traditional panther tattoo you can get in the world.
Yes, crawling panthers used to be the trend back in the 50’s, with ferocity faces, like this one.
Only black ink, white for the teeths and some yellow for the eyes, and maybe a little Japanese touch.
This tattoo is done by BlueLou, from San Clemente, in California.
And now, just the head
The other trend in the classic way to get inked with a panther design is tattooing just the head, like this one.
As you can see, the tattoo has a lot of power and intensity, and that is the point.
This tattoo is made by Sadie, a wonderful tattoo artist working at High Powered Tattoo, in Richmond Hill, Georgia.
Some differences between Traditional and Neotraditional American Tattoo
Of course, Neotraditional Tattoo is a tattoo style that came from American Traditional Tattoo, but it is like an evolution, so there are some differences between both.
Always keep in mind this NeoTraditional were first named as New School tattoo, and it start back in the 80’s.
Things that stays the same:
Differences for NeoTraditional one:
Some Tattoo examples depending on the body part
Here you can find some tattoo examples for sleeves, chest, hand, back tattoos, just enjoy!
American Traditional Tattoo Sleeve
American Traditional Sleeve
Yes, here you can see a very traditional tattoo sleeve with a lot of elements.
First you can see a bird with some flowers and patterns, then a tiger and, finally, the skull.
A very complete sleeve to get inspired, isn’t it?
This tattoo is done by Paul Ski, a fantastic tattoo artist with a private studio in Phoenix, Arizona.
Ship Sleeve Tattoo
And now you can see something different, another sleeve but the main character this time is a ship tattoo.
We do love this tattoo because of the other elements too, like the skull, and the small elements to fill the space between the different tattoos.
This work is done by Lady Luck Tattoo, a fantastic tattoo studio in Weert, in the Netherlands.
American Traditional Chest Tattoo
Eagle Chest Tattoo
Bold, isn’t it?
These kinds of big American Traditional Tattoo in the chest are usually bold and eye-catching, as you can see on this one.
The eagle, big, thick lines, and very bold, with 2 sleeves.
The tattoo is done by Nick Dancy, working at Dancy&Daughters Tattoo Studio, in Århus, Denmark.
Panther & Skull Traditional Tattoo
And now, you can see two different elements in both sides of the chest, a very strong composition.
On the one hand, the head of a panther and, on the other side, a skull tattoo, both of them with a dagger crossing.
This tattoo is made by Mailin, owner of Kings of Punk Tattoos.
American Traditional Hand Tattoo
Traditional Flower Hand Tattoo
Here you can see a traditional tattoo in the hand, this time of a red rose with leaves.
Maybe this is not one of the main symbols or motifs in the traditional tattoo, but the result is fantastic, isn’t it?
The tattoo is done by Red Corner, in Uelzen, Germany.
Traditional Panther Hand Tattoo
And this one is, one more time, a panther head but now in the hand.
All hand tattoos are bold, but maybe this one is a few steps further.
The tattoo is done by Andy Angel Hands, working at The Grand Majestic West.
Traditional Back Tattoo
Simple American Traditional Tattoo
And some examples of American Traditional Tattoo designs!
And now, you can find a ton of different designs to get inspired!
American Traditional Flower Tattoo
Traditional Flower Color Tattoo
Here you can find a very traditional flower tattoo based in the American Traditional Tattoo style.
As you can see, primary colors and nice thick lines, as usual in all this guide, with just a few shadowing for the leaves and nothing more.
This tattoo is by Kritopher Jonh, a very talented tattoo artist working at Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.
Traditional Flower with no shadowing Tattoo
And now, something even more traditional, with no shadowing at all, and a very simple design.
We do love this artwork because it is the perfect example of something:
You can get inked with something simple and eye-catching in the same way, you “only” need to find the perfect tattoo artist for that job.
And Dakota Herman is very talented, as you can see here. She works at Ninth Wave Tattoo, in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
American traditional Wolf Tattoo
Traditional Wolf Tattoo
And now, here you can find another nice symbol for American Traditional Tattoo, like wolves.
Here you can find a very special design, 100% traditional, perfectly done by Jessica Henderson.
Wolves meaning are usually strength, power and being a pack with your family, friends or whatever.
Jessica Henderson is a very talented tattoo artist from Kamloops, in British Columbia, Canada, and she has a lot of traditional and neotraditional designs at her Instagram account.
Traditional Head Wolf Tattoo
And, inside the wolf tattoos, there is a subtrend of tattooing only the head of the wolf (yes, the same with panthers, you know).
Speaking about the tattoo, it is a very traditional one, with a bold design and a lot of ferocity. As you can see, there is some blood too!
This tattoo is done by Josh Johson, working at Olde Town Tattoo, in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
American traditional Rose Tattoo
Traditional Rose Color Tattoo
Another fantastic symbol for an American Traditional Tattoo is the rose.
You know, the rose is the queen of flowers, and it represents beauty, love and passion.
And here you can find an amazing design with a rose, a dagger and a banner with a name, representing the love for someone.
The tattoo is done by Nico Venerio, a fantastic tattoo artist between Stuttgart, in Deutschland, and Barcelona, Spain.
Traditional and Simple Rose Tattoo
And, if you want something even simpler, yet wonderful, here you can find another rose tattoo design to inspire you.
As you can see, it is something more conceptual but respecting all the American Traditional Tattoo guidelines, which is fantastic.
The tattoo is done by Carlos Tattoo, from Argentina, another fantastic tattoo artist you should follow!
Traditional Lion Tattoo
Traditional Lion Chest Tattoo
Impressive, isn’t it?
Yes, this lion chest tattoo done with American Traditional Style is a big thing, and you can feel the essence of the animal itself just staring at it, isn’t it?
We do like the linework of this tattoo, and the lion expression, of course!
The tattoo is done by Kenny Tea, a very talented tattoo artist working at Rude Studios, near Leeds, in the UK.
Traditional Lion and woman tattoo
And here you can find another kind of design.
As you can see, the lion figure is the main character, with a woman riding, some flowers and a date.
All done in a very traditional way, in black ink, and with perfect linework, just another masterpiece.
The tattoo is done by Twenty Two Tattoos, a fantastic tattoo studio from Belgium.
Bear Traditional Tattoo
Traditional Bear Head Tattoo
Yes, another very nice animal to get inked with an American Traditional Tattoo style is the bear, as you can see in this awesome design.
This time it is only the head, with an open mouth, like attacking, the same thing as the other animals tattoo in this style.
The tattoo is done by Gemma Taylor, a wonderful tattoo artist from Newcastle, Australia (not UK!) you may follow.
Another Attacking Bear in American Traditional Style
Another nice example, this time without arrows, is this nice example.
This time the colors are others, but the animal and the attacking pose stays the same, isn’t it?
Talking about the meaning, the bear is always power, being honest and, in some cultures, connecting with the underworld.
This tattoo is done by Indigo Cat Tattoos, a fantastic tattoo studio from Tbilisi, in Georgia (the country in Europe, not the US state).
Traditional Bee Tattoo
Traditional Color Bee Tattoo
Cute, nice and bold, isn’t it?
We do love bee tattoos in every style, but this American Traditional one is just perfect.
Very eye-catching because of the placement and the bold design, and perfectly finished by the tattoo artist, with thick and straight lines.
It is just fantastic.
The tattoo is done by Thamires Oliveira, a very cool tattoo artist from Varginha, in Brazil you may follow.
Black and gray Traditional Bee Tattoo
This time you have another bee tattoo, but completely different, isn’t it?
First, because the drawing is taken from the side, and then, of course, this is a black and gray traditional tattoo.
Because of this, this tattoo and the previous one just are so different, that’s it.
This tattoo is done by Dan Côté, working at Le Studio Tatouage in Québec, Canada, and he specializes in this kind of traditional black and gray tattoo.
Traditional Phoenix Tattoo
Traditional Phoenix Tattoo
This is another perfect example of what a very traditional American tattoo looks like.
As you can see, simple designs, thick lines, and just a little shadowing make the phoenix shape.
Moreover, this phoenix design is a Western one, which is difficult to see because usually they are on Asian style, something different, you know.
This tattoo is done by Joey Devoe, from Novascotia, in the US.
Yes, this is more even more traditional
If you want to know how tattoos were back in the 50’s or 60’s, this could be a very nice example.
And, because of this, this piece is so unique.
Thick lines, simple designs, very bold colors and drawing-like tattoos.
That is an American traditional tattoo.
This work is done by True Love Tattoo, a tattoo studio from Cookeville, in Tennessee.
Traditional Raven Tattoo
Traditional Color Raven Tattoo
Nice one, isn’t it?
We do like this traditional raven tattoo, we must admit it!
And this is because of a few things, first, because we do love the raven as an animal and what it represents (wisdom, night, underworld), and, secondly, because this is perfectly donde based on an American Traditional Style.
This tattoo is done by Chase Tucker, a fantastic tattoo artist from Portland, Oregon, specialized in traditional tattoo.
Fantastic Traditional Black and Gray Raven Tattoo
And this is another fantastic example, this time in black and gray ink of a raven tattoo.
This time is more conceptual, but it fits perfectly with the American Traditional Tattoo style.
The tattoo is done by Nico Muñoz, a very talented tattoo artist who has his own particular style to make tattoo designs, and this is always a plus!
Traditional Tiger Tattoo
(Neo?)Traditional Tiger Tattoo
Just between NeoTraditional and Traditional tattoo styles we want to show you this design so you can get inspired.
We do love it because you can feel the power and the strength of the animal, and this is always a very good thing!
The tattoo is done by Vlad Tatau, working at AD Pancho Tattoo Studio, in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Crawling Tiger Traditional Tattoo
And this example is a very, very traditional design.
- Crawling Tiger, because, as we told you with the panthers, it was the way animals were represented 50 years ago.
- Attacking or ferocity pose.
- Primary colors, with tons of yellow.
- Nice thick lines.
Just a perfect work!
This tattoo is done by Mando Rascon, working at Fifth State Tattoo, in Arizona.
Traditional Snake Tattoo
Traditional Snake Tattoo
This one is a perfect example of how a very traditional tattoo can be bold and awesome.
As you can see, an attacking snake with a banner, all in black and gray ink.
We do like this tattoo because we can say it gives you the essence of the animal itself, and the tattoo style.
This tattoo is done by Davide Esposito, working at Mas Tinta Studio, in Italy.
Traditional Snake Head Tattoo
And, the other main option for a snake tattoo is something like this.
Just the head of the snake, open mouth (as the other animals in this style). Moreover, a dagger inside the head, another very iconic symbol for American Traditional Tattoo.
This tattoo is done by Philly Phillips, a tattoo artist working at Calavera Tattoos.
Traditional Moth Tattoo
Traditional Moth Color Tattoo
Nice, sweet and bold, isn’t it?
Yes, this full of color moth tattoo is a thing, a perfect work in American Traditional Tattoo style.
We do love it because of the fantastic line work and then all the color, bright in yellow and black of the composition, just awesome!
The tattoo is done by Jessica Elliot, a fantastic woman tattoo artist working at DinkyTown Tattoo you should follow right now!
Black and Gray Moth Tattoo
The other example is this one, this time, of a black and gray moth tattoo.
You know, in the moth tattoo subtrend there are a lot of designs in black and gray like this one, and we think they are just fantastic.
The moth symbol is about rebirth, passing thought something very hard and being here to talk about it.
The tattoo is done by Isabell Mira, a fantastic tattoo artist from Stuttgart, in Germany, working at Bold As Love Tattoo.
Traditional Butterfly Tattoo
Traditional Black and Gray Butterfly Tattoo
It’s time for another animal, this time, the butterfly!
This tattoo is about a butterfly in the very traditional way:
- Black and gray ink.
- No shadowing at all.
So it is a perfect example for you.
This tattoo is done by Christian Hensen, owner of Immer Und Ewig Tattooing, in Hamburg, Germany.
Traditional Butterfly Color Tattoo
This nice and cute butterfly tattoo is a perfect example of another American Traditional Tattoo, as you can see.
We do like the tattoo design itself, with the butterfly flying, and the bold lines with very bright colors.
Moreover, the placement, in the hand, is perfect for this design.
The tattoo is done by Joshua Gilbert, a wonderful tattoo artist owner of High Hopes Tattoo, in Illawarra, Australia.
Traditional Scorpion Tattoo
Very Traditional Scorpion Tattoo
Yes, this is how a very traditional scorpion tattoo looks like, and it is just awesome.
Speaking about the scorpion, it is the symbol for the unknown, the underworld and it is an animal with poison, so it has a lot of strength.
This tattoo, perfectly finished in American Traditional Style is done by Truly Yours Tattoo, a wonderful tattoo studio from Mannheim, in Germany.
Color Scorpion Tattoo in American Traditional Style
Here you can find another variation, this time with more black ink and some red color.
We do like this combination because we think it can create a perfect atmosphere for the tattoo, and for the animal itself.
The tattoo is done by Liam Camilleri, owner of La Familia Tattoo in Malta, and he has a lot of fantastic designs on his Instagram account.
American Traditional Scorpion Tattoo with Lettering
You can see another nice example here.
This time, the traditional scorpion tattoo in color but, moreover, with some script just up the tail “I’m not all my mistakes”.
Yes, as you can see, these kinds of tattoos can have a very strong meaning.
This tattoo is done by Caleb M., Owner of Electric Gnome Tattoo, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Traditional Bat Tattoo
Head of Bat Traditional Tattoo
Maybe a little creepy, but fantastic too!
We do love this tattoo (and the next one) because, with this design, you can travel 50 years back in just one second, and this is fantastic.
This tattoo is done by Myke Tattooer, a nice tattoo artist specialized in American Traditional Tattoo you should follow!
Traditional Entire Bat Tattoo
One more time, if you want to know how tattoos were 50 years ago, this is a fantastic piece to travel to that time!
Yes, this artwork is done in a very, very, very traditional way, and we think it is just beautiful.
This tattoo is done by Anholt Tattoo, a fantastic tattoo artist working at Black Rose Tattoo and Gallery, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Some more designs for you
American Traditional Spider Tattoo
Let’s move on into more tattoo designs for you, without any order.
This one is about a spider tattoo made in a very traditional way.
As you can see, the design is very simple but powerful, with no shadowing or gradient, thick lines and very clear.
That is the point.
This tattoo is done by Mihovil, a tattoo artist working at Mano Cornuta Tattoo, in Zagreb, Croatia.
Felix The Cat American Traditional Tattoo
Yes, Felix the Cat has been in the American imagination for decades, in fact, its first apparition was back in 1919, so you can say this is really traditional.
Moreover, Felix the Cat design matches perfectly with American Traditional Tattoo guides, so, if it fits, it just fits.
This tattoo is made by Machinist Tattooer, a very talented tattoo artist for this kind of old designs working in Astana, Kazajstan (yes, Kazajstan).
Griffin American Traditional Tattoo
This is the perfect example for telling you something:
You can do whatever you want in American Traditional Tattoo style if you follow up just a few guidelines.
The griffin is not a very American symbol (in fact, is more a Greek mythology symbol) but, if you design it properly, as you can see, the result can be 100% in style.
This tattoo is done by Tor Leong, a tattoo artist working at Deatwith Tattoo, in Melbourne, Australia.
Cobra American Tattoo
Now let’s move on into something more classical.
Cobra tattoos are a sub-trend inside the snake tattoos in American Traditional style and, this time, instead of a cobra head you can see a woman head in the snake, isn’t it?
These kinds of images were really popular for decades, and this is a nice and amazing example.
This tattoo is done by Vinny Fiorenzo, working at Portal Tattoo Gallery, at Woodstock Georgia.
Complete Sleeve American Traditional Tattoo
Here you can see a complete arm sleeve tattoo, from the arm wrist to the shoulder, all made in American Traditional Tattoo Style.
As you can see, the final result is impressive, moreover, if the tattoos are perfectly finished like this one.
This arm sleeve is done by Jun Hyuck, a fantastic tattoo artist working in Liberty Or Death Tattoo Shop (nice name for the parlor, isn’t it?) and you can find it in Hongdae, Seoul, South Korea.
Lighter Tattoo in Traditional Style
Now, another very nice tattoo design, completely different and maybe a good idea for you.
Yes, this is a lighter.
Not a simple lighter, the one you can find in all the movies from the bad guys back in the 70’s.
The best ones.
This fantastic piece of work is done by Chase Tucker, a fantastic tattoo artist working in Portland, Oregon, at Scapegoat Tattoo.
Two Portraits in Love Tattoo
Yes, old school traditional tattoos can be romantic too, and maybe this is the best example.
With this American Traditional Tattoo style, and taking the characters for the iconography, you can see these two portraits in love with a bit of sarcasm.
We do love it.
This tattoo is done by Brad Potter, working at Great Malvern, in England, near Wales, in the UK, of course.
Married Couple Tattoo
Let’s move from love to another thing: Getting married.
As you can see, you can have a very nice memory about yourself getting married in your skin.
This time, you cannot say American Traditional Tattoo is only for people in prison, isn’t it?
This tattoo is made by Fabio Nembo, owner of Nembo Tattoo Shop, in Ostia, near Rome, in Italy, of course, and he is very focused on traditional tattoo style, so we think you should follow him right now.
Coffin Tattoo in American Traditional Style
One very positive thing about American Traditional Tattoo is the versatility.
You can do nearly everything you want in this style, and we think it’s fantastic!
Here you can see a coffin tattoo in thick lines and color with, one more time, a bit of sarcasm and we do love the idea.
This tattoo is done by Michael Traina, from Jacksonville, in Florida, and he is a very talented tattoo artist for American Traditional tattoo style.
Tiffany’s Lamp Tattoo in American Traditional Style
What do you think about his lovely piece of work?
As you can see, it is a Tiffany’s lamp, very Victorian style, made with American Traditional guidelines and a fantastic color palette.
And we do love it!
This tattoo is made by Ru Levin Tattoo, in Toronto, and they have a lot of nice work on this tattoo style perfectly done, so just check it more at their Instagram account.
Realistic Woman Portrait
You can do amazing things in the American Traditional Tattoo style, as you can see here.
This tattoo is just in between two styles:
Realistic one and American Traditional Tattoo.
Moreover, the illustration is very American Traditional but, as you can see, the finish of this work is 100% realistic and done perfectly.
This tattoo is done by Olly Furze, a very talented tattoo artist working at Ashburton, in Devon (UK) with a very personal style.
Complete Chest Tattoo in American Traditional Style
Yes, as you can see, this is a complete chest design all in American Traditional Tattoo.
On these several pieces you may notice a skull with a snake, a tiger face, a complete jaguar, a crying baby, a scorpion, an eagle and much more.
And we think this is a perfect example for you, what do you think about it?
This tattoo is done by Josh Bovender, a wonderful tattoo artist working at Sweet and Sour Tattoo at Powdersville, in South Carolina.
Complete Eagle Back Tattoo
Very bold, isn’t it?
This eagle tattoo is not for everyone, and, just because of this, we think it deserves to be in this list.
As you can see, this complete back tattoo is perfectly done with thick lines and an amazing finish, so we can say it is just a masterpiece!
The tattoo is done by Vince Pages, owner of Nuit Noire Tattoo, in Geneva, Switzerland, and we think you should follow them right now!
This is the end of this HUGE guide, we hope you enjoyed it, and, if this happens, plase, share this content for us!
Some FAQ's for American Traditional Tattoos
The main rules for an American Traditional Tattoos are: Thick lines, no shadowing and black or primary colors in the ink, and simple designs, that’s all.
The main rules for an American Traditional Tattoos are: Thick lines, no shadowing and black or primary colors in the ink, and simple designs, that’s all.
Neotraditional tattoos can have some shadowing, more colors (not only primary), and more complex designs, it is like an evolution.
Sure! For some people American Traditional Tattoos are the only tattoo style. It is true realism is getting on trend for the last few years, but traditional are a must too!