50+ Best American Traditional Tattoo 2020

To learn about the Old School American Traditional Tattoos, we need to share a bit more about the past how they came to America and their subsequent evolution to the present day.

The tattoos were introduced through the English expeditioners led by Captain Cook in his trips to Tahiti in 1771, Joseph Banks, a scientist with interest in art, sailed with Captain Cook, explained Polynesia as the process of getting tattoo. Cook’s sailors were very fascinated by this idea and art and they began the tradition and quicky spread this love among sailors, who learned the art and practiced it on board. And it became a way to relate with unity, struggle and number of murders committed. (bit intense, right?)

american traditional tattoo

This is how the Old School is born. One of the famous styles from the history of tattooing, on the coasts of USA, before the sailor need of something unique and personal in the crowd. Also, emerged from the “underworld”, when people believed that tattoos were a matter of murderers, prisoners or thieves. The name it received was American Traditional tattoo.

The Style and Iconography of Traditional Tattooing

In 1933 a book called “Tattoo: Secrets of a Strange Art” by Albert Parry was published and it showed the growth, tattoo has gotten in times. As the New York Historical Society states, “According to Albert Parry’s book was so inundated with requests, it became difficult for them to keep up with the demand for new designs.

It is also worth mentioning them museum of Daredevil tattoo in New York City. The museum has tons of trade beginnings of Western tattooing, but it has tons of artwork, machines and photos from old school tattoo lover centuries old. There are many artists who specializes in traditional tattooing, including owner Michelle Myles tattoo artist opened in 1997 when tattooing was finally legalized in New York.

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As time passed tattoos remained within small section in early 1900s, sailors, homeless and circus freaks.

It wasn’t until the World War II that American units came together in rare moment and as tattoos graced only the staunchest servicemen before, millions of men were exposed to body art as they took shore leave in Hawaii. And as many locals and different classes of American men came together at intersection of Honolulu during the war, there was a tattoo shop ran by heavily tattooed former Navy man by the name of Sailor Jerry.

As time passed tattoos remained within small section in early 1900s, sailors, homeless and circus freaks.

It wasn’t until the World War II that American units came together in rare moment and as tattoos graced only the staunchest servicemen before, millions of men were exposed to body art as they took shore leave in Hawaii. And as many locals and different classes of American men came together at intersection of Honolulu during the war, there was a tattoo shop ran by heavily tattooed former Navy man by the name of Sailor Jerry.

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What is an American Traditional tattoo?

There are many traditional tattoos you will see across countries and cultures. One of the famous ones is American traditional tattoo. They are characterized by their clean black outlines, vivid colours and minimal shading.

What are the rules for American traditional tattoos?

American traditional designs use heavy black outlines and a lot of shading and minimal colour. Usually, they are darker in appearance and colour of choice is very limited.

Best American Traditional Tattoo 2020

 

Pin-Up Tattoos

Majority of the sailors were male. For the sailors who had loved of a woman, it was difficult for them to go without seeing them for months. As pin-up magazines gained popularity in America, sailors started to give tribute to their women. Pin-up tattoos are still very popular and bold.

american traditional tattoo

American Traditional Tattoos Lettering

There are certain things that are very important for that old school look. You can’t skip the detailing in an American traditional tattoo. One of those things is the lettering tattoo. The lettering done is clean and straight up and down. You can choose many fonts and draw with plain lines or block style. Choose to shade your bottom or top to give a more calligraphic look. There just some set of rules that you have to follow that’s it!

american traditional tattoo

Neo Traditional Style Tattoos

Neo traditional tattoos are just another version of the Old School American tattoo which has evolved over time and with coming of tattoo machine. Rather then being just black in colour, Neo style chooses intense colour palettes and broader range of style variation including cartoon, realistic tattoo imagery.

This a very vivid, realistic body art style. Combine it with old school use of symbolic imagery. Neo style tends to work towards the luridly bold with line and colour is unique and keeps the blackwork outline and fonts elements of old school a focal point of design array.

american traditional tattoo

Traditional Rose Tattoos

One of the most famous flower designs, Rose tattoos are popular for both men and women. Most tattoo artist tend to believe the rose, a bright flower, symbolizes beauty or is representation of our love lives.

Sailors would often receive the rose tattoo to honour their loved ones. Roses also symbolizes peace that they longed for long but to abandon and struggle just a bit more.

american traditional tattoo

American Traditional Anchor Tattoos

Anchor tattoos were the favourite tattoo designs for Sailors, because for ofcourse reasons. More than that, an American traditional anchor tattoo has a symbolic meaning that is pretty easy to define.

Anchors serve a very crucial task of ships, they act as a ground vessel in turbulent waters, some can be said for a sailor’s loved ones. Its common to get a name underneath them as a tribute.

american traditional tattoo

American Traditional Butterfly Tattoos

Butterfly tattoos are very pretty and adorable, they are most classic designs. But they have gotten a label of being called cliché. Sailor Jerry had flashed several pieces of butterflies, each bold and adorable in their own way. Although, people think them as very gender specific. Butterflies designs look great on any gender and their opulent wings which makes them highly unique and customizable.

american traditional tattoo

American Traditional Panther Tattoos

Sailor Jerry universe has a lot of contribution in American tattoos. This panther tattoo is another one of the classics. The panther is a very ferocious animal with insane stealth, ripping muscles, incredible hunting abilities and sharp imposing teeth. A panther tattoo represents a badge of masculinity.

A panther tattoo is often paired with a coiling snake which being doubled down on the sexual prowess implied.

american traditional tattoo

Do American traditional tattoos age well?

Aging of tattoo depends of different factors like the size of the tattoo and sun exposure. Back and chest tattoo generally tend to age well. Forearm, hands or knuckle tattoos tends to age really quick.

How much are American traditional tattoos?

Small tattoo generally cost between $50 or $250. Although it totally depends upon the tattoo designs like a tattoo with a lot of detail and shading will probably cost more than a normal cross tattoo. Hiring a tattoo artist typically costs $120 to $150 per hour, and prices depend on how long it takes.

American Traditional Tiger Tattoos

Tiger signify pride, sense of ferocity and independence. Tigers are solitary animals and often the top prey of the jungle. They are a great option if you like tigers and if you already have a tiger tattoo then you can cover up with old schools to make it look even more cool.

american traditional tattoo

American Traditional Tattoo Dragons

Dragon tattoos are very popular and mixing them with American old school is a great option. Dragons represents strength, masculinity and protection.

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