New School Tattoos Are Brilliant Art
New school tattoos, sometimes called new ‘skool’ tattoos, are known for their vivid colors, thick line work, and cartoonish proportions. Despite their name, they are heavily influenced by old school American tattooing styles. The new school tattoo style represents a rebirth of traditional tattoos with a wider variety of colors and gradients to deal with. Along with that, new school tattoos cover all types of subject matters, from the old school eagles and anchors to more recent caricature styles. All tattoos are works of art, but thanks to their innovative tattooing techniques, new school tattoos stand out as brilliant.
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New School Tattoo Designs
New school designs are only possible because their artists choose to share and distribute their techniques with other artists. As with anything open source, this has led to a flurry of high quality content that only continues to get better. The main types of new school tattoos use solid black outlines—similar to Irezumi tattoos or comic book art—along with two or three base colors. Although the color palette is usually limited to those few colors, gradients can obscure that by blending the colors together and giving the image more depth. On top of that, many artists will throw in some extra colors for a higher price.
This distinguishes new school tattoos from old school tattoos, which are limited in their color palette to red, white, blue, yellow, green, and black—never anything fancy, and never anything in between. New school artists are more likely than old school artists to use ink with a name that would make a Crayola crayon envious.
Types of Tattoos
New school animal tattoos are the most popular subject matter that artists encounter. Animals almost invariably have Disney-style eyes that are as close to a circle as possible and absolutely huge. It’s not unusual for those eyes to take up half the face. To match this, the body will be disproportionately small. Skull tattoos are also very common, and the prevalence of bright color schemes mean that the style is perfect for sugar skulls. Lastly, the major type of new school tattoos are caricatures, which are portraits of people drawn in a cartoonish style. These can be actual people, pin-up girls, or famous characters from myths, legends, and…TV shows!
Photo Realism in New School Tattoos
Not all new school tattoos are cartoonish. When you take away the cartoonish black lines and odd proportions, the new school style of coloring can produce some wicked photorealistic tattoos. These unique tattoos are characterized by their unique use of color. Rather than shading in black and white, artists can use blue, purple, and pink to get their point across. With every extra color that the artists use, the tattoo piece becomes more vivid and believable. With this technique, it’s even possible to create 3D tattoos that cast fake shadows on the skin. This seems to be rare, though—most likely because the dark shadow takes away from the color of the piece.
New School Tattoos for Men
Masculine tattoos take a step back from the skulls, flames, and tribal designs typical of other tattooing styles and explores the possibilities of the art. Masculine pieces can be abstract by depicting famous paintings, illusions, or brain-twisting characters, or they can be concrete and depict realistic pin-up girls, eagle caricatures, and even stylized hearts and roses. Subjects that are traditionally considered feminine get a pass in this style of art. On top of that, artists have a huge variety of line art styles that they can experiment with. Instead of using the curved, toony lines that are more feminine, they can use straight and stylized lines to create abstract work. This gives the tattoo an extra dose of masculinity, no matter what the subject is.
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New School Tattoos for Women
Feminine tattoo designs are also more varied in the new school style. The curved, toony lines lend some femininity to anything they paint. This means that horror subjects and gruesome pictures, which would normally be considered masculine, look charming and chic in the new school style. Both realistic and toonish styles work well in new school designs, so the possibilities are quite limitless. Cute characters can be drawn in a delightful way or a frightening way and still look amazing. Instead of focusing on whether the tattoo is feminine or masculine, it would be better to think of what sort of tattoo matches you. Whatever design you have in mind, there’s guaranteed to be a style that matches your personality.
It is worth shopping around to find a tattoo artist whose style you love. Because new school artists are constantly experimenting with styles and passing on their information, tattoo shops in the same area of the world can have drastically different artists that can draw the same thing in incredibly different styles. Ask any prospective artist for a look at their portfolio. The best case scenario is that they have an album of images for you to browse through—this lets you see their tattooing skill, which tends to be a little worse than anything in their sketchbook, on average. That’s just the nature of the medium—tattoo artists have to deal with a curved surface, limited color palette, blood, and a squirmy canvas.
New school tattoo artists constantly change their styles, but as a whole, new school tattoos seem to match each other in style and resemble one another. This diverse yet united style allows for a limitless color palette and subject matter, and the freedom of the line art style helps these tattoos deliver an impact. Where most tattoos convey significance and meaning, these tattoos focus heavily on the character of the tattoo. The ability of new school tattoos to perfectly match the person who’s wearing them makes these tattoos brilliant works of art well worthy of a living canvas. There are tattoo styles that display more technical prowess, but the freedom of the new school style leaves viewers with a bigger impact.
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