The Classical American Traditional Tattoo Style Guide

The American Traditional Tattoo style, also called old school tattoo style, classic tattoo style or western traditional tattoo style, is known for its bold lines. Bright colors and iconic designs, such as roses, anchors and beautiful ladies heads. They are beautiful from the start, age beautifully and are filled with the history of tattooing. You can’t really go wrong with a piece in this genre!

  • What is American Traditional Tattoo Style?
  • History of American Traditional Tattoo
  • American Traditional Tattoo Design

What is American Traditional Tattoo Style?

Old school tattoos refer to western or traditional American tattoos

Old school tattoos refer to western or traditional American tattoos. The style of the work is bold, with solid black outlines, usually full of solid reds and greens with blues, yellows, browns and purples. Unlike traditional black and gray sketch tattoos, they have no shadows. transition. The color is capable and the expression is bright too. Old School (also known as Skool), which often appears in earlier patterns, sailors, anchors, hearts, swallows, owls, skeletons, flowers… etc. With the improvement of other factors, the patterns have become more diversified. Compared to totems, such patterns also have their own intrinsic connotations.

Old school western traditional American tattoo. The style of the work is bold and the lines are solid. Strong sense of pattern. Mainly black, red, yellow and brown. The gradient is capable and concise. The expression is clear. Patterns often appear: sailors, anchors, hearts, swallows, owls, flowers, etc. It is also one of the common styles popular among young people today.

Therefore, when the playful patterns with bright colors and various shapes are vividly painted on the paper and then depicted on the guests who like this style, it is more an admiration of the predecessor’s culture and a kind of equity. Admire it!

History of American Traditional Tattoo

history of american traditional tattoo

American traditional tattoos originally pioneered in the late 19th century on the Bowery in NYC. However, this tattoo style didn’t truly became popular worldwide until the 1960’s, and it’s all thanks to Normal Collins, better known as Sailor Jerry. When he opened his tattoo shop in Honolulu, Hawaii, after spending many years in Southeast Asia as a sailor and studying Japanese tattoo from old masters. It’s worth noting that he originally learned from Gib “Tatts” Thomas.

Even though he learned a lot about Japanese tattoo, he still developed his own style and iconography, which is the standard for American tattoo today. You find his style still featured on tattoo parlor flash sheets, which were created to showcase the most common requests from the public. The idea behind flash sheets was to make the tattoo process faster and easier, which is why these tattoos feature a simple color palette and bold outlines. If there’s a word that defines American tattoo style is practicality. However, that doesn’t mean this tattoo style is not meaningful.

American Traditional Tattoo Design

grim reaper american classic tattoo

American Traditional design styles use heavy black outlines with minimal color and a lot of black shades. They are usually darker in appearance and the color choice is limited to simple colors such as average blue, green, red and yellow. Colors are used in blocks with very few details. The American Traditional tattoo design is also being styled in such a standard way that everything they portray appears as a two-dimensional shape, without any three-dimensional depth.

The American Traditional tattoo design style usually lacks a lot of complicity since it was done years ago with less advanced equipment and the tattoos were made fast at lower prices. The majority of traditional tattoo designs portray military and nautical motives and themes, as navy and army men were the primary tattoo clients. This design style preserved its popularity throughout the years, thanks to its historical significance, clearly readable simplicity and traditional American roots.