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Tattoo Styles 101

Tattoo styles are the different techniques and designs used in tattooing.


When choosing a tattoo design, this is the primary consideration. It's important to be familiar with the variety of styles available, and it helps to be open to different styles, which you are able to indicate on your application, as not all artists are skilled in all styles.


Qualified applicants are matched with available artists at our locations based on the how well the styles that applicants are open to align with the skill sets of the artists. So the more styles you are open to, the better chance of being matched with an artist at the location you apply to.


A few things to keep in mind:

  • Not all shops have artists who accommodate all styles, particularly the more specialty styles like watercolor, or abstract.

  • Not all artists work in color.

  • Depending on the nature of your scarring, not all tattoo styles may be recommended.

    • For example: heavy scarring and/or radiation burns may not lend themselves to fineline work. If you select this style, please keep in mind that your artist may recommend varying the line weight, or adding shading/ color to areas with texture.

Tattoo Style Definitions:


BOLD / TRADITIONAL / NEO-TRADITIONAL - bolder designs featuring black outlines & varied line weight with varying levels of shading


FINE LINE - focuses on very thin, delicate lines to create designs with minimal shading


MINIMAL / DECORATIVE - small details that accentuate or frame, rather than hide, the canvas


WATERCOLOR - featuring bright colors and abstract designs, mimicking the appearance of a watercolor painting



ORNAMENTAL / GEOMETRIC - uses intricate, often symmetrical patterns like mandalas, dotwork, geometry, etc



ABSTRACT - free form, fluid style shapes, patterns, or lines


When looking for reference material for mastectomy tattoos, which applicants are required to provide when applying, we have found this Instagram account very helpful. The owner collects and reposts images of mastectomy tattoos from around the world.

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