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High Life Thinking Of Getting Inked ? Here's A Beginner's Guide To Some Classic...

Thinking Of Getting Inked ? Here’s A Beginner’s Guide To Some Classic Tattoo Styles

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You’re ready to get your next tattoo, but maybe you don’t know what the best style for your idea would be.

As tattoos are slowly becoming more accepted as a modern art form, the techniques and styles are ever branching out. There are probably thousands of styles of tattoos around now, with talented artists creating their own every day. But for your ease we at PagalParrot have brought you a simple yet brief tattoo style guide (no matter how traditional or unconventional) to see what cool styles are the right fit for you, or just incredible styles to keep an eye on !

1. Traditional / Old School Tattoos

Traditional (also referred to as American Traditional or Old School) is the oldest form of tattooing (after ancient tribal techniques). In the modern world, as we know it, tattooing began with this identifiable style. Solid black outlines, a limited colour palette, less detail and impeccable precision, traditional tattoos stand the test of time. If done correctly, with proper aftercare this style will last a long time without having to be touched up.


Popular traditional imagery includes roses, hearts, nautical, eagles, skulls, daggers and women’s heads.

Some old school or traditional tattoo designs

2. New School Tattoos

We’ve talked about old school, so now it’s time for new school. Unlike traditionalism, the new school of tattoo artistry is all about free-styling and unique patterns with custom ideas that haven’t been used before. New school is becoming more popular due to modern equipment and new techniques. It’s nice to see body art that’s really different and no one else has.


New School tattoos are like a crazy comic book on your body depicting fabulous imagined worlds full of chaos and very often chariactured animals in vivid color.

new school tattoo designs

3. Black and grey

Black and grey is a style that only uses black and white ink in varying shades. Typically, the tattoo is made by diluting the black ink with distilled water in various proportions, creating a “wash” of lighter shades. Some artists mix white with black ink to produce a gray shade, but it is not the traditional method. White ink can also be used to smooth out sharp transitions between the different shades, or as a highlight. This style supposedly originated in prison, where inmates had limited access to different colors of ink.


Common Black and Gray Themes include Skulls, Wolves, Portraits, Money, Religious, Guns & Knives etc.

black-and-grey-tattoo designs

4. Japanese

Dating back to 10,000BCE, Japanese tattooing is one of the most sacred tattoo arts. Detailed designs often cover large areas of the body such as the back or the arm. This tattooing style follows a very strict set of artistic rules – positioning, imagery used, direction, colour and more, all adhering to the ancient traditions. Imagery includes cherry blossoms, koi fish, lotus flowers, dragons, war dogs and geishas.


5. Script or Text Tattoos

Lettering and word tattoos are very common. The best thing about this type is it can be very meaningful, make a statement, express your feelings exactly, or just be wacky. Gothic, swirly, intricate fonts are popular but there’s no limit to what font a script tattoo might utilise.

script or text tattoo

6. Biomechanical Tattoos

Typically freehanded, Biomechanical tattoos adapt to the unique flow of a person’s body, meant to mimic machinery that could be hidden within the skin. Paired with ripped-apart flesh and robotic parts, this type looks best when placed on muscled parts of the body. When designing this project, think of your legs, arms, or even neck and then get inspired by fantastical machinery. You may choose to draw the design yourself or shop around for a skilled biomechanical tattoo artist.

biomechanical tattoo designs

7. Tribal 

The oldest tattoo style, from ancient times. Nearly always black in colour, often using symmetry and geometrical design. Sometimes un-detailed with block black lines, or like the tattoo below, utilising delicate detail and precision. A good artist will carefully design a piece to compliment the shape of the body, like this one.


8. Surrealism

The art genre of surrealism gives artists loads of material to work with. The artistic style can change, the subject can change, but as long as the viewer comes out of the experience with that feeling of sublime fantasy, the artist has achieved their purpose. Surrealism is undoubtedly one of the strangest forms of art, and one of the most impressive. Not only does an artist have to use a crazy amount of creativity to come up with the idea but it also takes a very skilled hand to bring the idea to life.


9. Watercolour

Currently very popular, Watercolour tattoos mimic an experimental artistic process – using splashes and streaks of colour to give the impression of paint being used on canvas or paper. The watercolour effect can be all-encompassing to the design, with no line-work or other styles, but it can also be combined with realism or solid outlines, to form just the background or foreground of a tattoo. Often bright colours are used and themes of nature.


So what are your favorite tattoo design styles ? Show us in the comments section below !

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