The birth of tattoos in America started with the American Traditional design, aka Sailor Jerry’s, aka Old School. Next came the New School tattoo style. And after decades of experience had been collectively gathered by the tattoo artists of the country and the world, the Neo Traditional tattoo style was born. This style incorporates colorful inks with muted tones, a realistic look in an illustrative style, stylized shading, and a heavy focus on human and animal portraits. Needless to say, Neo Traditional tattoos look amazing.
But before you go and get your own Neo Traditional tattoo, let us help guide you in choosing the perfect piece of ink. Below we’ll show you the most unique, most stylish, and best-looking Neo Traditional tattoos of 2022. You’ll surely be inspired with the perfect idea for your next piece of ink.
This is “My Little Pony” grown-up style. The pretty pinks and pastels are still here along with the simple design of the flowers. Of course this cute unicorn now graces the hip and is certain to delight anyone lucky enough to catch a glimpse.
The pharaohs and ancient Egyptians idolize cats, so why can’t you?! Immortalize your cat as a God, just like this one, then you’ll have one of the best looking Neo Traditional tattoos around!
Is this a portrait or a mask? I’m not sure. I am sure though that this is an awesome tattoo. The large swatches of facial color are offset by the gap of negative space on the chin and the red of the eyes. Above the face, the swirls of orange and red look like a crown. Btw, within these swirls are old-style tattoo needles. An Interesting Touch
Black ink alone is used in this tattoo. It’s then diluted to create the varying tones of gray which are expertly used for shading and contrast. Offset with pops of white ink, this design has a smoky, mysterious feel. Definitely Demanding a Second Look
This half-sleeve tattoo is really off-the-charts. The black lines and gray tones are done to perfection and then enhanced with touches of orange and yellow. The orange jewels, white beads and earrings are classic nods to Neo Traditional style. With the stylized tiger, beautiful contrasting flower and woman’s piercing eyes, this tattoo is simply captivating.
The gray shading and iridescent pops of green immediately catch your eye. This unexpected color palette is the foundation for this beautiful tattoo. Among many Native American tribes, the wolf is a spirit guide and protector and thus was incorporated into headdresses.
This is one hardcore tattoo. Hardcore because this large tattoo extends right over the armpit; something not commonly seen. The inking itself is awesome. Even with all the lush detailing of the flowers and tassels, the pinks and browns; the snake’s eye remains a focal point.
This is Neo Traditional style in Black and White. Again we see the distinctive blocks of shading that appear almost like patches. The swirls of hair, the decorative beads, the flowers; all add a vintage feel to this portrait. The finishing touch: the glint of light reflected off the eyes.
Hello pussycat – or is that a black panther romping in a field of flowers? Either way, this design is masterfully showcased on the thigh. Framed with pretty florals, this cat looks all too real. Hope this kitty doesn’t bite.
The imagery here is iconic of Old School tattoos but with a twist. With the use of highly saturated modern colors and decorative detailing, this is Neo Traditional’s take on an old tradition. We gotta ask: What’s not to love about this tattoo?
Who needs a choker necklace when you can have this throat tattoo. Of course there’s no hiding this one which definitely makes the neck the focal point of the body. Perfectly centered at the midline, the wings gracefully extend sideways while the moth’s lower body frames the jugular notch. With beautiful colors, lines and shading this tattoo is Big and Bold.
Look at photos of Brad Pitt from the “Fight Club” and you’ll see how realistic this tattoo is. The characteristic shading of Neo Traditional style is here. Swatches of color create a feeling of dimension and boldness. This nicely serves up the sweat and grit associated with a fight scene. Props to the artist
Highlighted with reds and blacks, there’s an undeniable intensity to this tattoo. Of course the woman’s piercing gaze and chiseled facial features only add to that. All brought to you with the characteristic block shading and decorative touches of Neo Traditional style.
Simple colors, simple shading and beautiful black lines; this is Neo Traditional style. Together they make this blue jay so inviting; like he was meant to make a home right on your hand. And lucky for you he won’t be flying away.
Natural images like florals and animals are a common theme of Neo Traditional style. The color palette here is beautiful and expertly inked. Even without extensive shading, the fox vibrantly comes to life. The red and surrounding black shadow deftly highlight the face against the pretty florals. Together they make for one good looking tattoo.
I’ve only recently learned about Rhinoceros Beetles and I can tell you this one is totally realistic-looking. Awesome detailing is achieved using bold lines and dark ink. I guess this is better than having a real one crawling on your arm.
This tattoo is definitely a throwback to Old School themes; think Grandpa’s flag tattoo. But here with Neo Traditional style a broader color palette is used. The design perfectly fits the canvas provided by the upper arm and is an obvious focal point on the shoulder.
I don’t know why this tiger is so angry; maybe it’s just a tiger being a tiger. What is unexpected though is the Non La or traditional Vietnamese hat. The vibrant colors against the dark shadows at the periphery make this tiger hard to miss.
Neo Traditional style can be inked with or without color. Some artists work exclusively with black and gray while others specialize in color. Here the gold of the Crescent Moon provides a beautiful backdrop and accent for this colorful moth.
I’m not exactly sure what this tattoo means but skulls often symbolize death or rebirth. They’re also a common theme in Neo Traditional tattoos. This one seems to have definitely taken root on this guy’s forearm.
Ok there’s a lot going on here. First off the design, colors and shading are awesome. And talk about creating a focal point; this tattoo definitely hits the mark. Of course the theme could be considered pretty intimidating by many. Proceed With Caution
This guy definitely wants to make a statement or at the least attract some attention. I’m not sure about the theme and location but the tattoo is really well done. FYI: Smaller tattoos are often recommended for this area due to future sagging and aging of the skin.
It’s fitting that the sea goddess Amphitrite, wife of Poseidon, is surrounded by elements of the sea. The shading around the eyes is so characteristic of Neo Traditional style. Rather than being blended with gradual transitions, it appears as isolated islands of contrast. This tattoo is definitely fitting for someone who’s a lover of the water.
Both technical and artistic skill is on display here. The muted black tones and deep burgundy shading play nicely against the cherry red flames. Tattoos often tell a story. This one perhaps symbolizes finding the light after having gone through the fire. This one will definitely inspire discussion.
Raccoons are a familiar site in many places; on your hand not so much. Centered right over the hand, the design nicely follows the curve above the fingers extending onto the wrist. Although raccoons can look cute I’m not sure this is the most welcoming image.
There’s masterful use of color in this tattoo. Actually there’s masterful design, shading and contrast too. The colors are muted yet at the same time intense and serious.
This woman’s got it all: great style, flowers in her hair and pops of gold jewelry. The simple rich colors add a sophistication and look great on most skin tones. Looks like she’s a winner.
Ideassimple hopes you enjoyed the article, please comment on your favorite amazing neo traditional tattoo designs. Be sure to visit our tattoo category on our website for more cool ideas. Thanks a lot!