Getting a new piece of art on your skin can take some serious thinking. First of all, you need to have an idea of the subject you would like to have, and then what style suits you and the design you have chosen.
If you are a fan of bold lines and colours, you don’t really appreciate shading and you would like to make a statement with your body art you might be inclined towards choosing a more traditional style.
Here’s everything you need to know about traditional tattoos and neo-traditional tattoos...
What Is A Traditional Tattoo?
When thinking about a tattoo, most people instantly think of the bold and exaggerated lines of traditional artworks. And quite rightfully so, since they have been in style for more than a century.
When done correctly, a traditional or old-school tattoo is timeless. On the other hand, if you don’t find the right artist you will risk carrying around an extremely unpleasant-to-the-eye splash of confused colour.
What’s the story behind this old-fashioned style that still has the power to attract people of all ages and professions?
Tattoos are as old as time and, since the beginning, they have been used to symbolize belonging to a specific ethnic or professional group, or even to a caste.
But the traditional style as we know it developed from the encounter of British sailors with the Maori populations at the end of the 18th century. Admiring their traditional and complex designs, the sailors prompted the locals to tattoo them as a souvenir of the successful exploration.
From that point on, traditional tattoos became powerful symbols for achievements, experiences or, even, as lucky charms.
Traditional tattoos might have started out as a style to celebrate a sailor’s adventure but have become one of the most appreciated genres amongst tattoo lovers in the last few years.
How do you recognise a traditional piece?
Usually, traditional tattoos have stereotypical subjects -such as pin-ups or anchors- and are characterised by a bold, thick black outline. It’s a style that relies on bright colours, which easily make it recognisable even to the less experienced eye.
What Are The Best Ideas For A Traditional Tattoo?
Depending on the ability of your chosen artist, almost anything can be given a traditional twist.
Although some styles are more fit than others for specific subjects, it all comes down to your tattoo artist’s capability of designing the perfect piece in the style of your liking.
All you have to keep in mind is that the style’s main feature might not do justice to your idea.
Here are some of the best subjects and ideas to get the perfect traditional tattoos:
Since the traditional style evolved from the sailors' passion to commemorate their endeavours in a visual way, anchors are still one of the most popular traditional subjects.
While sailors used to get an anchor tattoo to symbolise that they had crossed the Atlantic Ocean, nowadays you can get one for its inherent meaning of stability and security.
Pin-ups are, perhaps, one of the most popular tattoo subjects ever. But despite the bad reputation they usually get for being too flashy, they can be used to portray sensuality and femininity in a classy way.
When thinking about traditional tattoos, we immediately think of swallows, sparrows and crows. Sailors used to get a swallow tattoo to celebrate their expeditions and as a talisman for safe returns home.
Even if you are not a sailor you can still decide to commemorate one of your best travel experiences through a swallow tattoo.
#4 Religious subjects
Subjects like crosses and rosaries are pretty much self-explanatory and they hold the same meaning they used to back in the years. If you want to show your devotion, a traditional tattoo is the right choice for you.
With traditional tattoos having evolved from the sailors’ fascination with body modifications, it’s not surprising that mermaids are a popular traditional subject. After all, mermaids can be seen as ocean pin-ups!
#6 Objects That Symbolise A Passion
If you have a hobby, you could choose to portray it through a traditional design. It’s not uncommon to find traditional style depictions of common passions such as sewing, knitting or singing!
What Is A Neo Traditional Tattoo?
While Traditional Tattoos have a story that traces all the way back to the first transoceanic explorations, Neo-Traditional Tattoos have a more recent history. To put it simply, Neo Traditionalism is an evolution of the Traditional style.
But of course, there’s more to that...
How Is It Different From A Traditional One?
How can you spot the difference between a Traditional Tattoo and a Neo-Traditional one? While the subject and styles might be extremely similar, the execution techniques and details are very different.
While Traditional tattoos are characterised by the lack of shading and presence of bold, gaudy colours, in the Neo-Traditional style the colour palette is wide, shading is present and the design appears more tridimensional.
In the Traditional style, it’s common to encounter stereotypical and cartoonish subjects, whereas Neo Traditional designs are much more similar to illustrations.
This is one of the reasons why Neo Traditional Tattoos are so popular for portraying Art Deco motifs and flowers.
The Best Ideas For A Neo-Traditional Tattoo…
Since this style is an evolution of the popular Traditional/Old School you can decide to take one of the popular subjects from the latter and give it a more modern twist.
However, Neo-Traditionalism is a style on its own and as such it has crafted and developed its own designs, such as sugar skulls.
Some of the best design ideas for Neo-Traditional tattoos are…
#1 Art Deco Portraits
Who doesn’t appreciate an amazing Art Deco depiction? If you are a fan of this early 20th-century style and you enjoy the perspective of turning your body into a contemporary work of art, Neo Traditionalism is the definitely a great option for you.
Flowers have always been known to have a secret language, and that’s why many people choose them as a tattoo subject as a symbol of their beliefs.
Thanks to its wide colour palette and attention to detail, you can safely choose Neo Traditionalism to have your favourite flower inked.
Faces and portraits are some of the most common subjects for Neo-Traditional tattoos. You can decide to have your favourite artist portray you or a loved one in a fancy manner, or you can choose a pre-existing design from your artists’ portfolio.
Animal tattoos are some of the most popular in all styles. But while not everyone fancies the extreme realism of a Realistic tattoo, a Neo-Traditional one depicts the animal of your choice in a way that resembles an illustration.
Be it a panther, or an owl, or even a swallow, Neo-Traditionalism could be just what you’re looking for.
Everything You Need To Know Before Getting A New Piece…
Choosing style and design is just a part of the whole process of getting tattooed. That is why in order to ensure you have the best possible experience we decided to put together all of our tips and tricks to getting tattooed. Are you ready?
#1 Choose Your Design
Nothing lasts forever… except when it comes to tattoos. Choose your subject and style carefully, as it will stay with you forever. Take all the time you need to browse for ideas on the internet and, once you feel like you might have found something that matches your desires, start looking for somebody to help you customise your idea.
#2 Find The Perfect Artist
While awesome designs are not hard to find, finding the perfect tattoo artist is. Look for somebody who’s reliable and has a wide portfolio of clients to show you. Above all, you want to find an artist that is able to make your tattoo unique, adapting style and subject to your skin and personality.
#3 Respect Your Tattoo Artist
This is incredibly important: respect your tattoo artist profession. Getting a tattoo is fun, but designing and realising one takes a lot of practice, time and hard work.
Don’t expect your tattoo artist to work for cheap and respect their advice and tips. After all, they are the ones with the experience ! However, this is artwork on your body, so don’t go along with something you’re not 100% happy with. This is why we say, choosing your artist carefully and making sure you’re both on the same page (or skin) is so important!
#4 Prepare Your Skin
Getting your skin ready for a new piece of art is essential to ensure the best results. If you have any scars or redness make sure that you ask your tattoo artist’s opinion before booking a session.
Keep your skin moist and hydrated with natural and organic products and don’t forget to protect yourself from direct sunlight.
#5 Don’t Drink On The Day Of Your Session
Did you know that drinking alcohol on the day or day before your session can increase the pain and bleeding chances? The slightest amount of alcohol could also increase your anxiety and make the tattoo experience less than pleasurable for you, so best avoid alcohol for several days before your sitting.
Make sure to drink plenty of water as hydration is one of the staples of healthy skin!
#6 Aftercare Is Fundamental
After getting your new tattoo done don’t forget to follow all of your tattoo artist’s instructions to ensure that it heals properly and quickly.
If you neglect to use the right care on a freshly done piece you risk to completely ruin it!
Our skincare range includes a choice of tattoo aftercare products, containing safe and natural ingredients that are guaranteed to speed the healing process and quickly restore your skin’s health.
Only The Best For Your Skin
The best way of loving your skin comes from a combination of a talented tattoo artist and the right aftercare. That’s why CrocArt partners with the best professionals to ensure that you make your tattoo dreams come true.
Find out more about our range of products and partners.
Looking For A Tattoo Artist? Start Here
Finding the right artist might be hard. That’s why we’ve decided to partner with some of the best tattoo artists in the UK. Check them out!