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Tattoo style

Here’s a little overview of today’s tattoo styles

Realistic technique

The realistic techniques should better be characterised as lifelike, these works are really as if wonderful paintings had been applied onto the skin.
Characteristically we can mention the portraits here, but every tattoo can be named realistic if they look as photos and look exactly as we would expect in life.
This tattooing style is very personal and unique, it is characteristically chosen by those who love beauty, the lifelike things and those who would like – for example – to wear the portrait of a loved one.
Despite this the style is characterised not only by the tangible reality, any vision or tale-like theme can be the base of the tattoo. It is important to obtain a fully realistic and accurate result.


This adorable new style maybe stays closer to painting then any other thing, and it is the perfect opposite of the already mentioned realistic works.
While regarding the previous style the accuracy, the lifelike shapes and lines are definitely central, the watercolour tattoos are characterised mostly by the superficiality, by the borderless appearance.
The colours and shapes are blending into each other, they seem to be inaccurate but every “brush-stroke” and the seemingly accidental surfaces have their own important roles.
In addition in case of the watercolour tattooing the contours are often not meeting each other, and sometimes these defining lines are fully absent.

Old School

The Old School tattoo is the recalled version of the traditional tattooing, therefore this kind of tattoos is used by those who are paying their respect to the old traditions.
This picture-like simplified and yet resolute style dominated at the very beginning, when the tattooing became popular – or at least appeared in the Western society.
This inevitably merged with the sailing culture, thus these motifs can be discovered in the rethought Old School, too. Naturally the techniques and patterns have already changed by now, but they can be still recognised clearly. As a result the ships, the anchors, the skulls, the simplified “hula girls” are considered again as items the lovers of the Old School tattoo would like to wear.

New School

The New School tattoo is the renovated version of the Old School style. It has quite similar style-motifs but is usually operates with more definite contours and conspicuous colours.
Maybe its most significant novelty consists of having many tale figures, modern but drawing-like elements in the style, thus the end-result became genuinely spectacular. The majority of the tattoos somehow fits into the Old School (except when it is characterised by another style motif), the traditional patterns, shapes and motifs correspond to these requirements.
The popularity of the New School tattoo is due to its versatility and to the fact that it is easy to alloy it with other styles, the essence consists of boldness, the many colours, fantasy and the more definite contours.

Buena Vista Tattoo

The Buena Vista, aka Trash Polka style is also a new trend, actually it is alloying the realistic elements with the fully cleared minimalist motifs. These tattoos are usually built on three levels: red, black and grey which at first sight might seem slightly gloomy.
Of course it is not meant to be too girlish, the majority of the Buena Vista tattoos have a message, a social critique and opinion-distributing opinions.
The resoluteness is definitely a good attribute in connection with these tattoos since the relatively young and newish trend can’t be mistaken for other works.
The main patterns are often surrounded by paint-spots, shades of various sizes and even the inscriptions are frequent.

Dotwork Tattoo

The Dotwork is also a very specific tattooing style, it differs from any other technique in its basics.
There is no line, the work is made of points only, exactly as in case of the impressionist pictures.
Naturally there is some difference compared to the painting style, since the tattoos are more accurate, geometrical, while in case of the paintings the essence consists of fading into each other.
Anyway looking form a distance the points of the dotwork tattoos are forming lines and pictures, while when looking from closer, the miniature dots are separating perfectly.
Characteristically these works have rather black and grey shades, and they are used more for completion, but they look beautifully when being alone or in colours.

Oriental / irezumi (japanese, eastern tattoo style)

This style represents priceless value for the carrier since a Japanese tattoo can serve with takes of extremely deep themes. The irezumi name actually means the process of “injecting ink under the skin”.
The Japanese tattooing traces back in the very past.
The steps of the traditional Japanese tattooing, the “Tebari” are as follows: the master (Hiroshi) is applying the ink (sumi) onto the skin by using a brush, then he is leading it under the skin with a bamboo stick. At the tip of the stick there is a bunch of needles (hari). Naturally nowadays there are modern techniques of performing the tattoo of this style.
It is a style suitable for covering.


The non-figurative tattooing patterns are often considered as special tattoo patterns since usually the yare made by request, for a certain person, and it is very difficult to copy the same non-figurative tattoo pattern.
Actually the non-figurative tattooing patterns are made of the clever and rather decorative combination of the lines and various shapes.
These tattoo patterns can have their own recognisable shapes. The difference between the male and female non-figurative tattoo patterns consists of the fact that the male non-figurative tattoo patterns are stronger, they have thick lines, while the female nonfigurative patterns are fine, feminine and have soft lines. The advantage of the nonfigurative tattoo patterns makes it possible to apply them on any part of the body, since they have specific forms, they can be adjusted easily to the contour of the body. This also shows the versatility of the nonfigurative tattooing and in addition it can be used together with any other tattoo motif as a completion or as the main pattern.