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American traditional tattoos, also known as Old School or Western tattoos, are characterized by their distinctive style. Here’s what makes them unique:

1. Bold Lines: American Traditional tattoos typically feature bold and thick black outlines. These lines are clearly defined, with no gradation.

2. Limited Color Palette: The color palette of these tattoos is quite limited compared to other styles. Common hues include bold, primary colors such as black, red, green, and yellow.

3. Iconic Symbolism: Full of iconic images, including anchors, roses, daggers, eagles, and pin-up girls, the imagery in American Traditional tattoos often conveys themes of patriotism, adventure, war, and love.

4. Simplicity: The designs are simple.

What are some of the maritime images in American tattooing?


1. Anchor: Represents stability, strength and groundedness. Traditionally, it was used by sailors to signify that they have crossed the Atlantic ocean.

2. Ship: This could be any type of ship, from a Spanish galleon to a sailing ship. It often symbolizes a journey, adventure or exploration.

3. Nautical Star: Traditionally used by sailors for navigation, this tattoo design represents guidance and finding one’s way in life.

4. Swallow: This bird is connected with the idea of return. Sailors used to get a swallow tattoo after successfully finishing a sea voyage.

5. Mermaid: These mythical creatures are common maritime images, representing beauty, mystery and seduction.

6. Sailor Jerry Style Tattoos

What is Neo-traditional tattooing?


Neo-traditional tattooing is a modern variation of the classic traditional or “old school” style of tattooing that incorporates bold lines and vibrant colors. While it maintains the core elements of traditional tattooing, such as similar color palettes and intricate designs, this style also takes influences from various art forms including art nouveau and art deco.

A key difference is that neo-traditional tattoos often have a broader range of themes and greater detail in design. They are typically more experimental and complex, giving artists more freedom to incorporate additional design elements and use a wider array of colors and gradients.