Retro Tattoo Styles – Skin Factory Tattoo & Body Piercing

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7 Retro Tattoo Styles That Still Rock

Are you planning to get a tattoo for the first time? Or do you already have a couple and wish to add another one that will never go out of style? Then one of the best options to consider is the retro or old-school tattoo styles.

The love affair between Americans and tattoos go a long way. And today, more Americans are getting tattoos compared to almost a decade ago.

Not to mention, there are more tattoo choices today than ever before. But why should you consider going retro on tattoos? What are the classic styles that will still make you stand out in this modern age?

Continue reading below for seven retro tattoo styles deserving of a spot on your skin.

1. The Classic Americana

First on our list of timeless old-school tattoo styles is the Classic Americana. You can easily spot this traditional style tattoos through some key elements. It features solid colors, iconic imagery, and bold black lines.

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Classic Americana tattoos trace its roots from way back to the 18th century. But it first became popular in the mainstream tattoo scene in the 1930s. It was tattoo artist Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins who popularized the style.

Back then, Classic Americana tattoos often depicted animals, roses, pin-ups, skulls, and nautical themes. You can even see people sporting this tattoo style with a standard heart tattoo.

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2. The Japanese Style

Another old-school option is the Japanese tattoo style or Irezumi. It features remarkable artistry and deep and dark history. Irezumi traces its origins from the Jomon Period (10,000 BCE-300 CE).

However, modern Japanese style tattoos rose to prominence between the years 1603 and 1868. This was during the Edo Period where Japan deemed tattooing as illegal. Hence, the Japanese often associated tattooing to crime, as well as filial piety.

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Furthermore, the older Japanese people shunned on tattooing for another reason. They claimed that tattoos somewhat disrespected the body. In turn, they viewed tattooing as a way of breaking the codes of obedience and respect.

As for the designs, Japanese tattoos feature very large images. These images are big enough to cover the entire back. Other areas where artists place the tattoos include the arms and legs.

3. Stick and Poke

Stick and poke tattoos became one of the hottest tattoo styles back in the 1970s. The name originated from the manner of inking the tattoo on the skin. The tattoo artists do not use any machines to ink the skin.

Instead, they use a rod-like contraption where they attach a needle on the end. Thereafter, they dip the needle into the ink and apply it to the skin by hand. The ink settles deep into the skin as the artist pokes the needle dot by dot.

When it comes to the designs, they are far less intricate compared to other tattoo styles. Most of the recent designs feature bold lines with minor decorative patterns.

Check out our Maui Tattoo shop or our Las Vegas Tattoo shop

4. Black and Grey

Some people call black and gray tattoos as “jailhouse” tattoos. Legend has it that this particular style started inside the prison. In prison, inmates use inks and handmade machines for tattooing.

Artists had to improvise when it came to the materials. They used pen ink and cigarette ashes to make the tattoo ink. They converted old guitar strings into needles.

But on the outside, black and gray started to gain a following in the 1970s. Artists use different techniques in creating their designs.

However, the key lies in the shading variation. Good artists can combine deep and soft shadows and hues. To get more solid grey tones, they mix black ink with white ink.

This leveling in the shades is the secret to keeping your black and grey tattoos from fading.

5. Blackwork

If the black and grey style showcases a fusion of two colors, blackwork tattoo proudly boast solid planes of black. Most of the time, blackwork artists depict geometric shapes.

Sometimes, they present abstract patterns. But the common denominator is that they tend to use minimalist images and symbols. This is because of the tattoos Polynesian origins.

But in western culture, blackwork tattoos became fashionable in Europe during the 18th century. It was the laborers who often sported this particular tattoo style.

Today, you will be one of the coolest if you have one on the arms or at the back.

6. Abstract

Though some people may consider abstract tattoos as relatively new, you can trace its roots toward the end of the 19th century. It was a time when artists were feeling the need to come up with a new form of art.

They want this new art to represent the changing landscape in science, technology, and philosophy. Hence, they started to move to the more creative use of shapes, colors, and expressions.

Today, abstract tattoos are a sight to behold. They showcase visual excellence, as well as conceptual beauty.

7. Realism

Last but not least are the tattoos that use realism. Realism tattooing became popular in the 1970s inside California’s Chicano prisons.

As the name implies, these tattoos look realistic. Thus, they come in virtually any color the artists want.

Some use a mixture of bright and dark colors. Others stick to the neutral black and white tones. The color choice depends on the subject and theme of the tattoos.

These subjects can be objects, animals, scenery, or people.

Important Reminders for Before Getting a Tattoo

Retro Tattoo Styles

Retro Tattoo Styles

Regardless of the retro style tattoos that you pick, there are certain rules that you need to observe. And if it is your first time going through the artistic needle, you need to know some hard facts about tattoos.

First, you will feel a constant scratching on your skin. But after the first 15 minutes, your adrenaline should help reduce the pain. However, the pain does not stop there, as you will experience redness and swelling in the area after the procedure.

If you wish to experience the least amount of pain, pick a fleshier spot on your body. Your forearms and wrists are excellent spots for first-timers.

Last but not least, make sure to check the reputation of your tattoo artist. Go for someone with a trusted name in the local tattoo scene to ensure your safety.

Let’s Get You the Tattoo Styles You Want, Today!

Sporting retro tattoo styles is a good way of expressing yourself. But when choosing the designs, make sure to pick something that you feel good and comfortable about. And if you’re looking for an artist you can trust, then you came to the right place.  To see what other style that are popular this year, check out our friends at Feedspot .

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