50 New School Tattoo Designs – The Revolution of Freedom of Human Expression

New school tattoo technique was born out of a human passion for innovation combined with the thirst for freedom of expression. Tattoos are an expression of the soul of the artist and a sort of identity of the customer. The customer relates to it, while the artist materializes it. It is the most popular tattooing style in the 21st century. Millions of people in the world adorn these tattoos in their bodies.


The History

It originated in the United States and was heavily influenced by Old School Tattooing. Though some sources point out that the new school style originated in the 1980s, the most widely accepted account states that it originated around the 1970s in California.

Traditionally, tattoo designs were dictated by artists and customers had very little role in it. In the 1970s there was a huge demand for custom designs by many customers. This demand was met by new age tattoo artists who were open to trying new things while most of the traditional tattoo artists stuck to old ways.

Artists like Marcus Pacheko, were one of the early patrons of the new school style.

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Basic Characteristics

The new school technique has incorporated elements of other tattooing traditions like the old school, folk art and the irezumi. It can be said that it has its roots in the old school technique because of the heavy outlines both techniques rely on. The main difference between the styles would be the vast range of bright colors used in new school as opposed to the rather limited palette in the old school. The old school tattoo technique used only white, yellow, red, blue green and black while the new school is known to incorporate everything in between which included hundreds of variations.

The New school techniques are a big turn off for those don’t like some exaggeration. The images used are highly fantasized and unrealistic though its nothing short of top-notch creativity.

New school artists use bubbly letters and rough edges which make it very similar to graffiti art and cartooning. It is seen as an integral part of hip-hop culture.

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The Subject Matter

The greatest achievement of this type of tattooing is the revolution it has created when it comes to subject matter. While traditional tattoos used to occupy itself to hearts and eagles, new school tattoo has ventured into all sorts of subjects.

Highly customized patterns and novel themes are frequently used while the traditional subjects are sometimes shown as an expression of irony or homage.

The subject matter has been heavily influenced by Disney characters. Most characters have huge eyes that cover half its face in some cases while the body is usually small and disproportionate. Sugar skulls are another popular choice thanks to the wide array of color combinations possible.

Another sought after the choice is to ink cartoonish portraits of famous people, movie stars, legends of the past, pinups and wild beasts.

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Lion and Tiger: People who are looking for a symbol of strength and ferocity, the lion is a good choice. The tiger is chosen by people who would like to portray a sense of royalty and fearlessness.

Eagle: Eagles are a classic American power symbolizing power, honor, and intelligence. It is a very popular old school tattoo symbol which has found its way into new school tattoo as well.

Pin-ups: They tend to represent extreme femininity that could stir the imagination of even the dumbest of men. These tattoos originated among sailors. It would be the only female form he would see for months or even years. These days it represents a man’s wicked fantasy of how his ideal woman should look like.

Club Logos and gang symbols: Gangs and clubs use tattoos to differentiate their hardcore members from the rest. It is a sign of loyalty and respect.

Skulls: Skulls have always been an integral part of tattooing. With the new school style, a huge variety of skulls have come into the picture thanks to the different colors available. It symbolizes death and its inevitability.

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The Art of Photorealism

A more recent trend these days is to make tattoos which are highly proportionate and life like. This is contrasting to the usual cartoon style with black outlines and obvious lack of proportion. A unique blend of colors is used to make the tattoo look very realistic. Some expert designers are known to create exquisite 3D designs by creating fake shadows in the skin. When done right, it is truly a wonder worth seeing.

While a lot of people still prefer cartoon based tattoos, photorealism is catching up at a fast pace. There are even some artists who focus solely on this variation of the new school style.

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Changes in the Attitude of Artists

New school artists are known for their openness and commitment to keep on innovating. Most of the old school artists either perished or changed their styles to the rising demand for new school tattoos.
Old school artists used to keep all their techniques to themselves and remained highly secretive in order to prevent competition. This is one of the main reasons why the old school style became dead and stagnant as there was no room for innovation.

Contrastingly, the new school artists were more than interested in sharing new innovations which lead to more creativity and advancement in the tattoo community. This difference in attitude has created much tension between the artists belonging to the two styles.
While the new group is all about progressiveness, old schoolers say that the art of tattooing has lost much of its charm because of this attitude.

It can be said that new school tattoo is a natural representation of our times where freedom and self-expression are the main mantra. It has rightfully transformed the art of tattooing and has taken it to extremes. It has opened up a whole new dimension of art with the depth of a pit-less well. As years go by, this style of tattooing will always remain a remarkable milestone.

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