The thick, bold outlines. The aggressive contrast and shading. The classic imagery. Nothing beats a traditional tattoo when it comes to eye-catching designs. I guess it’s somewhat ironic that traditional American tattooing, which started in the early 1900′s, is more popular now than ever. Whether it’s a trend is irrelevant – there are tons of awesome tattooers out there, doing great traditional work. Here are 9 examples of killer traditional tattoos, by American artists:
01) Traditional Eagle Chest Tattoo
We’ll start things off with a CLASSIC image, the huge eagle chest piece with a banner. This one is by Murray Sell, and has all the right elements for a kick ass old school tattoo, with a touch of modern with the bold red background.
02) Traditional Owl Tattoo
Owl tattoos are another common theme, and this one by Tamara is as sharp as they come.
03) Traditional Ship Tattoo
Yes, it’s one of those TV star artists, but Tim Hendricks can actually work. This black-and-grey piece is pretty much a perfect example of the classic “homeward bound” theme.
04) Traditional Plague Doctor Tattoo
I don’t know why, but you sure see a lot of plague doctor tattoos lately. I have been fascinated by the plague doctor imagery for a long time, so it’s weird to see it suddenly become a trend in tattooing. Nonetheless, this piece by Ron Henry Wells suits the theme perfectly well.
05) Traditional Chest Piece Tattoo
Okay I lied, we do have one non-American artist listed here. Canadians love traditional tattoos too, and this piece by Ryan Halter somehow manages to fit in about a thousand different images into one killer chest piece.
06) Traditional Woman’s Profile Tattoo
Cris Cleen is all about the imagery of the classic early century tattoo culture. His work bold, clean, and as sharp as it gets.
07) Traditional Battleship Tattoo
What would a traditional tattoo list be without a military inspired piece? This battleship by Krooked Ken is a perfect example of that.
08) Traditional Wolf Tattoo
Another common theme for traditional tattoos are fierce animal heads such as wolves, panthers, and other scary animals. Sarah Schor is one of the best in the business, and this wolf head flows amazingly well.
09) Traditional Tiger Head Girl Tattoo
Finally, we top off the list with one of the best traditional tattooers in America today – Chad Koeplinger. Chad travels quite a bit, so be sure to follow his blog to see where he is working from. If you can get a tattoo from him, consider yourself set for life.