Tattooing is the art of making tattoos. It is a form of body painting or marking created by inserting substances like ink, dyes, or pigments into the skin dermis layer. The purpose is to form a specific design that can be temporary or indelible.
Have been around even throughout human history and cultures, there are various influential tattoo designs or styles. Likewise, an increasing number of talented tattoo artists flock to this art and even bring it to the vector level.
Tattoos – Three Broad Categories
Tattooing can be somewhat challenging since tattoo artists work with human skin instead of other mediums (paper, canvas, etc.). It makes the artworks exceptionally complex and diverse.
There are three broad categories for tattoos, namely
- Purely decorative or without any particular meaning
- Symbolic or having an explicit meaning relatable to the wearers or other purposes
- Pictorial – a portrayal of a particular person or an item
Popular Tattoo Styles
According to Tattoodo, we can date back the oldest proof of tattoos discovered to 3250 BC. People have used them as a way of expression for different religious, cultural, or personal purposes. Consequently, there are prominent or popular styles for this art of body painting.
Prevalent since the Renaissance era for paintings and sculpture, no wonder realism goes to tattoo design as well. Animals, people, and scenery are the most common themes for this style.
The tattoo artists will use what-so-called portraiture to replicate a person’s image with startlingly high accuracy. They will do it with black ink or colorful ones. Due to its realistic nature, this style requires high-level tattooing skills.
Dada Art developed the surrealism movement, particularly influenced post-World War I Europe. The two most influential and well-known surrealist artists are Pablo Picasso and Salvadore Dali.
In tattoos, surrealism juxtaposes the realistic style by taking form into out-of-this-world designs full of vivid colors. A surrealist tattoo shows the painting picture of a bizarre imaginary world that will be unnerving and intriguing for those who see it.
Classic Americana Style
This style is perhaps what an average person refers to when they think about tattoos. It is classic since it is the basis for contemporary tattooing design.
Also popular as a traditional style or an old-school style, a classic Americana tattoo will feature bold lines, colors, and imagery. It has common motifs like roses, pinup figures, daggers, animals, and other similar themes.
It was Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins who popularized this traditional-styled tattoo in the 1930s.
Tribal tattoos are more likely the oldest tattooing styles in history—thousands of years old. Also renowned as indigenous body art, a tribal tattoo is not only one homogenous style. Similar to tribal culture, there are various styles due to diverse traditions in the world.
To name some of the most popular tribal-styled tattoos are Polynesian, Marquesan, and Maori body arts.
The Japanese tattooing style, irezumi (means “insertion of ink”), has gained popularity for thousands of years. Historically, it started from the Japanese Edo era (1603-1868).
The style uses Japanese culture and folklore as themes in creating distinct yet beautiful designs. The tattoo artists usually apply traditional sense while at the same time, add intriguing new twists to the original style.
The most popular motifs are cherry blossoms and mythical creatures. They often involve big-sized images that cover big areas of skin, such as on the back or stomach.
This tattooing style often involves distinctive shapes with creatively sharp edges, done mostly with eye-catching black ink. One of the most popular themes is sacred geometry. However, today we increasingly see the mixture of geometric and organic elements applied to this genre.
Minimalism is everywhere in interior design, graphic design, and even tattoo design.
In tattoos, they are typically linework with simple techniques yet resulting in an impactful effect. The motif can be anything but usually small and simple objects. The design employs fine lines, along with negative space, in creating an image.
Nowadays, there are countless vector constructor kits for tattoos you can find on the web, available in diverse themes and styles, as mentioned above. Moreover, some of them are free of use. Whether you are a skilled tattoo artist or a beginner, you can use them to design your tattoo stencils.
Those are some of the popular styles for designing tattoos. Hopefully, you can look at them as your inspiring “muse” in creating your tattoo designs. Also, you can look up some cool vector tattoo illustrations available in various editable creator packs.