Gallery of traditional tattoos that can be filtered by subject, body part and size.read more
Traditional tattoos, also called "Old School" or "Classic", is a reference to a Western or traditional American tattoo style and are characterized by bold black lines, a simple color palette, and flat 2D perspective.
With the invention of electric tattoo machines in the late 19th century, tattooing proliferated rapidly throughout America and Europe. The designs were kept relatively simple out of necessity, as the machines and inks were not yet refined, and most western tattooers were brand new to the trade.
While not strictly relegated to members of the Armed Forces, many Traditional motifs have strong cultural ties to the U.S. military, especially the Navy. First with the Spanish-American war, but more significantly during World Wars I and II, western sailors and soldiers had the opportunity to observe en masse the tattoo practices of Japan and Polynesia, and take that inspiration back home. As such, Traditional work ironically embodies a mix of western nationalist pride with an appreciation for the beauty of foreign cultures.