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25 Most Popular Types And Kinds Tattoo Styles Of All Time | Part 2

From the earliest days of self-expression, man has inked his flesh with permanent markings:

Tribal symbols and protective totems, military and combat rankings, the names of loved ones, and a number of other sacred images intended to tell the wearer’s moving story, as well as transform the body itself into a work of art.

Our passion for tattoos certainly hasn’t waned.

If anything, the trend has become a minted way of life well into the 21st Century. Around the world, men and women continue to honor the ancient art of tattooing, some in ritual tradition, others for the sake of aesthetic pleasure.

For many, receiving a tattoo is a rite of passage, and few stop at just one.

It would be impossible to list the sheer plentitude of tattoo options and inspiration, as truly the tattoo’s image is as unique as the individual who selects it.

One thing is certain: a tattoo is a lifelong commitment, and what we wear under the skin will no doubt accompany us to the end.

The question therefore remains:
What is sacred to you and emblem speaks of your own struggles and triumphs, as well as your humor and penchant for living life to its fullest?

Do you live–and ink–boldly, large and out loud, or conversely prefer the smaller, subtler mysteries that linger seductively on the peripheral?

Clothes may not make the man, but the ink he commits to certain does. And where tattoos are concerned, the only rule is to stay true to the man you are, and are no doubt striving to become.

With that said, go ahead and explore these top 50 best different tattoo styles below featuring the most popular types and kinds throughout the course of history.

Mayan Style

The Mayans existed for nearly 3500 years, now their artwork lives on. They were known for their art, which features intricate designs honoring their myths and culture. A lot can be learned by studying the Mayans and a tattoo honoring them is a great way to spiritually connect with this strong, ancient civilization.

Minimalist Style

Simple. Short and sweet. Understated. A minimalist tattoo is all of these. Minimalist tattoos forego the elaborate designs of other styles in exchange for a simple word or small image. Often symbolic to the wearer, the meaning is not always clear to onlookers. This is a great way to express yourself without drawing too much attention.

Negative Space Style

Easy to confuse with an inverted tattoo, a negative space piece draws your attention to what is not there. Instead of drawing a tree, a negative tattoo artist will draw the space between the branches and let the tree come together from there. This is a subtle technique, but can have a powerful affect on the finished piece.

Neo-Traditional Style

Classic American themes are the focus of neo traditional tattoos. Native American images, art deco, and cartoons are common themes in this style, often accented by thick, strong borders and bright, lively colors. This is great way to honor the imagery of times past while adding a modern touch.

New School Style

Take old-school images and mash them up with graffiti stylization, and you are left with new school tattoo work. The finished product of this technique is similar to the neo-traditional style, with bright, colorful images and heavy, black borders, but there are subtle differences. Image content tends to have a more modern flair with an older feel to it.

Norse Style

Big. Bold. Strong. These describe not only Vikings but also Norse themed tattoos. The Vikings were tough. Nobody is going to argue with that. Norse tattoos are based on ancient Viking designs and provide a sense of strength, power, and control. Intricate designs are frequently presented in full sleeves or torso tattoos, serving as a testament to the artist’s devotion to the craft.

American Traditional Style

Classic images from America’s past are at the forefront in American traditional tattoos. From the tales of crossing the sea to reach America, to stories of gunslingers from the Wild West, American traditional tattoos feature images inspired by American history. Often accentuated with modern features, these tattoos show a reverence for the past while staying rooted in the present.

Optical Illusion Style

People will have to look twice at an optical illusion tattoo to fully appreciate it’s complexity. Tattoo artists can create illusions so realistic that one might think there actually IS a hole in your hand. Is your arm really carved out of wood? These tattoos make people stop and think about what they are seeing.

Outline Style

Simple and understated, an outline tattoo is a great entry into body art. Having an outline of your tattoo image is the perfect way to see how it looks before committing to hours of filling and coloring. Don’t let the simplicity fool you, though. A simple outline can make just as strong a statement as a full color image.

Pinstripe Style

Pinstripe tattoos contain incredible detail but are not overwhelming. Think line drawing meets Spirograph, and you have the basic idea behind a pinstripe tattoo. These tattoos feature amazingly intricate designs, all created with simple, thin lines. Variations in color, thickness, and angle all come together for a limitless amount of design possibilities.

Pixel Style

While video game graphics continue to improve, love for the 8-bit images of the past grows. Pixel art tattoos remind us of our first adventures in video gaming. They are also reminiscent of cross-stitch patterns and perler bead designs. Whether it is a classic Mario image, or a newer character given a pixel treatment, these tattoos make us nostalgic for the simpler times.

Pointillism Style

Pointillism tattoos take dotwork art to the next level of detail. While dotwork tattoos take a great deal of skill to create, pointillism pieces take much more. Areas of highly dense points give the appearance of solid blocks of color and allow for unmatched levels of shading and blending. Generally done in all black, color can be added for a different effect.

Pop Art Style

Made famous by Andy Warhol, pop art can be used to create striking tattoos as well. While fine art encompasses the more traditional art seen in museams, pop art features subject from pop culture. Pop art tattoos frequently feature comic book images or musical icons, but any subject matter that is derived from popular culture is a good choice.

Portrait Style

Memorialize your loved ones or your idols with a portrait tattoo! Frequently done in a hyper realistic style, a portrait tattoo is the perfect way to pay tribute to someone. Whether it is a pop icon, historical hero, or a passed love one, keep them with you with a tattoo of their portrait.

Quote / Word Style

Always have your inspiration with you with a quote tattoo. Do you have a favorite phrase, or a power word? Keep it with you all the time as a tattoo. Quotes work best as a simple font, while single words look great when embellished upon. Many quote tattoos can be found on the forearm, upper chest, or lower back.

Silhouette Style

If a full colored portrait or image is too much for you, consider a silhouette tattoo. The beauty in this style is in the simplicity. While color can be added for some striking results, most silhouette tattoos are done in all black. These work well on any part of the body, and can range from a small icon to full torso coverage.

Sketch Style

Take a piece of an artist’s sketchbook with you in the form of a sketch tattoo. While an image with full color and details is stunning, a sketch tattoo has a charm that is hard to match. A work in progress, an idea, a quick render; these are thoughts that come to mind when we see a sketch. Room to grow, but beautiful as it is.

Stained Glass Style

Let your light shine with a stained glass tattoo. Heavy black borders represent the ironwork, filled in with vibrant colors to create the illusion of an illuminated stained glass window. Use a tradition design, or take any image and have your tattoo artists turn it into a stained glass window.

Surrealism Style

Surrealism tattoos show us a world where something is not quite right. Or, perhaps, it is… Artists like Dali have made surrealist art famous, and tattos artists can build on this by taking a common scene and working a bit of the bizarre into it. Is that face melting? Why is there an eye in his mouth? These are questions that a surrealism tattoo may make us ask.

Torn / Ripped Skin Style

A specific type of optical illusion, a torn skin tattoo features flesh ripping away to reveal what is underneath. This technique takes time to achieve, but leaves a remarkable finished image. What do you have lurking under your skin? Bones, gears, pistons? For best effect, these tattoos are done on larger areas, such as the chest or upper arms.

Trash Polka Style

Combining realism and trash, trash polka tattoos offer a unique, bold style choice. Originated in Germany, trash polka takes traditional art and collages it with “trash” or smudges, smears, and words, to create a one of a kind style. True trash polka is done in all black and red, although variations can be made to change the final effect.

Tribal / Polynesian / Maori / Hawaiian Style

One of the more popular styles, tribal tattoos pay homage to our ancestors. A tribal tattoo features bold designs, based on the artwork of tribal civilizations. Many cultures can be represented, but frequently designs are based on Maori, Indonesian, or Hawaiian motifs. These tattoos look great in any location, from a small cuff to a full body cover.

Watercolor Style

Watercolor art has a distinct softness to it that other mediums struggle to replicate. Watercolor tattoos offer the same feeling. Carefull blending of colors and use of varying intensities leads to a tattoo that looks like it was painted right on to your skin. This technique works especially well as a background for more a more solid, well defined image, but easily stands on it’s own.

White Ink Style

For a very subtle effect, a white ink tattoo may be what you’re looking for. Depending on the natural color of your skin, white ink can be almost invisible. You know it’s there, and it can be seen if it’s being looked for, but often it goes undetected. It can also be combined with inks of other colors for some truly amazing results.

Wood Carving Style

A specific type of illusion, a woodcarving tattoo looks as if your body is made of solid wood, into which a design has been carved. This look is achieved through careful use of shading and highlighting. Take the time to find the right artists, and this can look very relistic. This technique works especially well on the arms and legs.

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