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Tattoo Styles

Tattoo designs can be classified into distinct styles, much in the same way as painting may be classified into styles (impressionism, realism, etc). Each of the tattoo styles incorporate specific elements which may be unfamiliar to many people so here is a brief explanation of the various types of popular tattoo styles..

Popular Tattoo Styles


It is common for the Japanese style of tattooing to use the whole body as a canvas rather than randomly placed. The design is usually very bold, yet detailed color work. Images of dragons, tigers, flowers, koi fish and geisha girls are amongst the most common japanese tattoo designs. Large images such as a dragon or koi can be surrounded by 'fill work'. This commonly consists of artistic swirls of color, clouds, water or fire. Click here to find out more about Japanese Tattoos.


Tribal tattoo designs are black silhouettes which are usually based on ancient tribal designs. It has become popular to modify a traditional tattoo design so that it appears to be tribal instead. Most of the popular styles are based on the ancient styles of the South Pacific Islands. These are usually abstract, artistic designs that consist of a combination of basic design elements such as spikes, swirls or spines. Click here to find out more about Tribal Tattoos.


Celtic style tattoos are silhouettes with thick bold black lines and sharp angles. A Viking adaptation of the Celtic tattoo style includes mythological creatures like griffins. Celtic designs are primarily black ink. Celtic tattoos are often best created by an artist who specializes in the style as they are difficult to master. Click here to find out more about Celtic Tattoos

Cartoon & Comic Book

Cartoon or Comic Book style tattoos are recognised by their bold lines and colours, and references to characters from tv cartoon shows or popular comic books. This particular style has become more popular in recent times, mostly due to the tv generation and advancements in animation techniques. Click here to find out more about Cartoon & Comic Book Tattoos.


Portrait tattoos are usually a head shot of a person or pet, directly copied from one or more reference photographs. Portraits are often used for Memorial Tattoos to depict a lost loved one. Portraits are commonly either black and grey or sepia tones and should only be undertaken by professional tattooists as they are extremely difficult to pull off. Click here to find out more about Portrait Tattoos.

Black and Grey

Black & Grey tattoos use black ink mixed with water (or white ink) to create shades of grey. The style originated in the prisons of the USA because it was difficult to get coloured ink. Black & Grey tattoos have a depth to them usually associated with charcoal drawings. Click here to find out more about Black and Grey Tattoos.


Fantasy Tattoos are very popular and commonly picture images of fairies, dragons and unicorns, although the genre covers the entire range of myth and magic, providing a lot of potential design options. Click here to find out more about Fantasy Tattoos.


The Grim Reaper is perhaps the most famous darkside evil tattoo design. Skulls, Demons, Snakes and Spiders are also common. Portraits of evil TV characters are becoming more popular in this genre. Click here to find out more about Darkside Tattoos

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