Like the name suggests, photorealist styles depict photo-like images and thanks to the assistance of new technologies in ink and needle equipment, it is possible for tattoos to resemble photographic images with high levels of texture and detail.
Black and Grey Lines
Developed in Los Angeles the 1970s, this design uses grey and black shading capturing shadows and depth of field comparable to that of a charcoal drawing.
Think mechanical robots intertwined with human anatomy for this style of tattoo which was made famous from the Alien movies. For a typical design, think pieces of machinery like wheels and bolts twisted among human body parts.
Characterised by bold colourful lines and bright colours, this style of tattoo has been inspired by the cartoon characters that have defined popular culture, with some tattoos even direct depictions of the famous characters themselves.
A continually popular style, many modern tribal designs are modelled from the ancient designs of the South Pacific islanders. Tribal designs typically features solid sections of black ink and are often designed to match the contours of the body such as lower back or shoulders. Their geometric design makes them particularly pattern-based designs.
Think ancient oriental symbols and imagery in this form of tattoo including dragons, cherry blossoms, and Kanji lettering. Tattoos in this style usually form part of a greater landscape using the entire body as a canvas and a focal point such as a dragon is often surrounded by fill work consisting of swathes of colour and artistic swirls.
Remember Betty Boop, the anchor, the thorny rose or even the now iconic ‘mom’ in a heart? These colourful and direct images constitute the typical American style of tattoos and are often associated as the classic tattoo by many, and are also currently enjoying a revival.