14 traditional tattoos and ideas

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  • Traditional tattoos are usually characterized by bold jewel tones and thick black lines.
  • While artists can create tattoos of any subject in the old-school style, common designs include hearts, roses, daggers, pin-up girls, and more.
  • We’ve rounded up our favorite versions of traditional tattoos, from large designs to small inks.

Classic cartoons like Popeye, Mickey Mouse or Betty Boop. Nautical themes like mermaids or anchors. Any combination of hearts, daggers, pinups and red roses. These are all examples of traditional tattoos that perfectly blend this old-school ink style with timeless caricatures and symbols. That stereotypical “MOM” heart-shaped tattoo on your bicep? It’s pretty much old school you can get.

If you love this thick and bold tattoo style, consider going this route for your next piece of ink. Traditional designs usually celebrate nautical themes – think pirates, anchors, lighthouses, mermaids, ships, etc. – but you will also see lots of hearts, daggers and roses. While red and black are popular color choices with old-school tattoos, modern advancements in the industry mean there’s more room to play with shading, lines fines and shades, including blues, greens, grays and yellows.

Do you feel inspired? Keep scrolling for traditional tattoo ideas worth bringing to your next salon appointment.

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