Traditional Tattoos

What are Traditional tattoos?

For thousands of years tattoos have been an integral part of humanity. Traditional style tattoos represent a significant branch in the evolution and development of tattoos. While they were first used in the US in the 1920s, it wasn’t until Norman Collins aka Sailor Jerry introduced them to millions of men in Hawaii in World War II. America’s own style of body art, now known as Traditional Style tattoos, was developed during this period.

Traditional tattoo style is one of the oldest and most popular styles of tattoos. It is characterized by bold lines and bright colors, as well as iconic designs such as crosses, skulls, anchors, and flowers. This style has been around for centuries and is still popular today. Traditional tattoos have a timeless look that appeals to many people, as they are easy to recognize and instantly evoke a story. As these designs are so popular, there are now several different versions of traditional tattoos, including Neo Traditional, American Traditional, and Old School. Each type of traditional tattoo has its own unique characteristics that help define it and make it stand out.

Traditional Tattoos and Their History

Traditional tattoos have a rich history that dates back to the sailors of the 18th-20th centuries. It was during this time that the traditional tattoo style was first developed and popularized. These early tattoos were often symbolic of patriotism and nautical life, as they often featured bold lines and bright colors meant to evoke a strong sense of loyalty and belonging. The most traditional designs were simple, straightforward and had a strong meaning behind them, conveying a sense of love for America. As this style of tattoo became more widespread, it began to evolve into the classic Americana tattoo style that we know today.

American Traditional Tattoos

American Traditional tattoos are a style of tattoo art that has been around for decades. It is characterized by its clean and bold black outlines, vivid colors, and minimal shading. This style of tattooing has been popularized by sailors who brought the art form with them to ports all over the world. These tattoos feature classic imagery such as anchors, swallows, roses, hearts, and more. While basically any design can be tattooed in the Traditional style, a true American Traditional tattoo will include the classic imagery that has been used for generations. This style of tattooing is highly sought after for its timeless look and long-lasting results.

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Traditional Tattoo Portfolio

How to choose a Traditional tattoo

The Old School Tattoo Style Guide

The Old School Tattoo Style Guide is a great resource for those interested in learning more about the traditional tattoo style. It provides an in-depth look at the history of the style, how it has evolved over time, and the iconic designs it is known for. It also offers helpful tips on finding a good traditional tattoo artist, as well as advice on how to make sure your tattoo looks its best. With its comprehensive insight into the traditional style, this guide is an invaluable asset for any tattoo enthusiast.

The Use of Bold Lines and Bright Colors in Traditional Tattoos

The use of bold lines and bright colors is a key factor in the design of American Traditional tattoos. Bold black outlines are complemented by large blocks of saturated reds, blues, and yellows. These colors are generously filled under the skin, giving the tattoo a striking three-dimensional effect. Neo-traditional tattoo designs also feature bold, dark outlines and illustrative looks, but with a twist: finer lines and more detailed shading. Blackwork is another tattoo style that uses bold black lines to create intricate geometric patterns. Whatever the style, traditional tattoos rely on bold lines and bright colors to give them that timeless classic look.

Designs Commonly Seen in Traditional Tattoos

Designs commonly seen in traditional tattoos are often based off old flash designs from the legends of the field. These designs typically depict animals, military insignia, landscapes and shapes like hearts and stars. Each design has a specific meaning, and they are highly saturated to make them look good on any skin tone. Anchors, daggers, mermaids, and things of that nature are what you’ll most commonly see coming out of the American Traditional tattoo style. It symbolizes good luck and showing patriotism. So if you’re looking for a classic tattoo style with a bold and bright look, you should opt for the traditional tattoo style!


timeless traditional tattoos

Don’t wait – come to Opal Lotus Tattoo, the premier tattoo shop in the Katy Houston area for a truly remarkable traditional tattoo. Our experienced team will create something that is perfect for you and make sure you love it! Come get your magnificent tattoo now – there’s no time like the present!

Traditional Tattoo Meanings

Traditional tattoos inspire confidence and boldness because of their iconic use of imagery. Traditional tattoos use mostly saturated primary colors and thick black line. These tattoos often depict anchors, sparrows or women and daggers, dice and other symbols. Born of servicemen in Hawaii who were on shore leave, these tattoos only focus on women, gambling and having a good time. We base this tattoo style on the combination of various naval images and these sensibilities.

Anchor Tattoo

Sailor Jerry’s anchor tattoo was one of his most well-known tattoos. This symbol is familiar to sailors. But, an anchor tattoo doesn’t just belong to sailors. The anchor symbolises safety at sea, stability, security and a solid foundation. It is an ode to the pioneers of the west who left behind their civilizations in search of a new life and sailed across the oceans. It was common for Naval sailors and Naval men during World War II to have a way to identify which brand of service they were loyally a part.

Nautical Star tattoos

A five-pointed star representing the directions on a compass is commonly depicted as the nautical star. It is strongly associated with the traditional mentality of seafaring sailors and their long voyages across the seas. It is a sign that they can navigate the oceans and find their way back home.

You will often see the nautical star alongside other traditional symbols, like birds and rope. These stars are popular for their beauty and their symmetry.

The Dagger Tattoo

Traditional tattoos include the dagger, which is a common symbol. This design has strong associations with the military as do many others. The dagger can symbolize death, war, or military combat. They are the last line of defense for soldiers after all other options have failed. Traditional tattoos use them. You can also use daggers with roses, skulls or hearts.

The Swallow Tattoo

We also associated the swallow with nautical symbols and sailors’ use of them. It was an indicator that land was close when sailors were at sea and saw one. This symbolizes good luck, hope and the possibility of returning home.

Traditional tattoos commonly depict small birds. This portrayal represents the lifestyle and sensibilities of a sailor traveling the globe.

Traditional style tattoos often depict a ship as a symbol to express freedom and adventure. Many sailors traveled the oceans hundreds of years ago and received tattoos depicting the ships they called home. These tattoos were kept as documentation and mementos. These tattoos are often used to represent wanderlust or the pursuit of the unknown.

Another tattoo commonly used by sailors during World War II. This tattoo might have included images of mermaids, nautical stars, and other sailor-related motifs.

The Rose Tattoo

They often use the rose in traditional tattoo designs along with other depictions such as skulls, daggers and names. The rose is typically done in red and was often used with the script “Mom”, or “Mother” during World War II. We used it as a symbol of beauty, love, loyalty, and respect for those who had given it to them.

The Mermaid Tattoo

Traditional tattoos of mermaids often feature traditional designs. They are another symbol of sailors and the experiences they have at sea. Although the mythical creature of the Mermaid is legendary, it symbolises a desire for women and the debauchery they might engage in once they arrive at the shore. It also represented a lure for sailors, which would end in their doom when they became shipwrecked upon rocks. Men can lose everything because of the beauty and power of the mermaid.

Dice Tattoos

Traditional tattoos depict dice as symbols of luck. The numbering on the dice will indicate whether the dice are communicating good or bad fortune.

It represented gambling for the American sailors of 1940. Sailors would travel to shore to release their fears, emotions, and hostilities. This was done by engaging in debauchery, drinking, gambling, and other forms of debauchery. Dice was also a symbol of luck on the battlefield. They can symbolize luck or afflictions in betting, even though they may be got under different circumstances.

You are interested in getting a Texan Tattoo in traditional style? We can set up an appointment with one of the top artists for the job.

The Benefits of Traditional Tattoos

The benefits of traditional tattoos go far beyond their aesthetic appeal. One of the main advantages of these tattoos is that they are relatively affordable compared to other styles. This is because the simpler designs take less time to execute, meaning that the cost of the tattoo is lower. Furthermore, traditional American tattoos have thick lines and primary colors, meaning that they look just as good decades after they were first inked. Traditional tattoos have also become powerful symbols of achievements, experiences and even lucky charms for those who choose to get them. Moreover, by getting a traditional tattoo you are honoring the history of the art form and getting a piece with strong symbolism.

How to Find a Good Traditional Tattoo Artist

Finding a good traditional tattoo artist can seem like a daunting task, but there are a few things to keep in mind. The best way to find an artist is to do your research and look for portfolios and reviews. It’s also important to talk to the artist about your ideas and get a feel for their style. Searching on the internet and following tattoo artists or tattoo shops on social media channels like Instagram are a fantastic way to find an artist whose work you admire. Additionally, most tattoo artists will want their apprentices to be able to draw every tattoo style well, so if you want an American traditional tattoo, make sure your artist has experience with this style. With a bit of research and effort, you can find the perfect traditional tattoo artist for your needs.