In general terms, there are five types of tattoos: American, Traditional, Japanese, Tribal and Personal. Each one has its own characteristics, as we will discuss next. Though you are the one who chooses what to get tattooed, artists recommend not combining in the same area different styles. That is to say that there is no problem in tattooing different styles while you do it in different parts of the body. There are styles that traditionally have a spot where the tattoo should be done, such as the Japanese-style tattoo, which is done on the whole back and extends through the arms without including the elbows; or the Tribal-style one, which consists of symmetric figures and is located in the same way on the body, as it is the case with the lower back, having the drawing on each side of the spine.
Some styles have certain meanings to certain groups and it is a good idea to find out if the design we have chosen has any connotation that can be bad for us or can cause us troubles. However, the connotation of the different styles is not always a bad thing: some people know them and wear them to carry a message on the skin that no one can figure out unless they ask for the meaning.
American style: It consists of designs with the esthetics of the 50´s in the United States ―pin-ups, Cadillac’s, dice, fire, hearts and electrical appliances of the time. This type of tattoo has hand-size drawings and, in order to extend the tattooed area, the different drawings are combined.
Traditional style: Angels, sailor’s concepts, etc. This is a very rustic style. Truly, it is a style that is on the decline. This type of tattoo is the one used when people started to get a tattoo in the West.
Japanese style: It has a unique beauty. It is a style that needs care and it has many details. The main concepts of the Japanese tattoo are, of course, dragons and also snakes, letters, kites, big and small flowers, water, fire, smoke, rocks and pots. The Japanese style allows for big tattoos up to the point of covering the whole back and part of the arms. This is a fitting tattoo because, as opposed to the American style, by combining different drawings these are united not by proximity but by real unions among them. This style is ideal for those who want to totally cover a part of their body, since heavy designed drawings can be done.
Tribal style: It is a style that was used by Indians in the Polynesia and in the American continent though it is not very faithful to it. The designs that compose this style tend to be trimmed lines that are symmetric; that is to say, the tattoo has a mirror effect since each side of it is identical. The artist has to be very skillful in order to achieve this effect. These types of tattoos are placed on parts of the body that are symmetric, such as the spine. However, it is very common to have them on the limbs. Though it is a style that requires skill and it is very delicate, within it you have the most «clumsy»way to tattoo: the body painting. As most tribal tattoos, this design is also used in deep black and it consists of covering a whole area in this color.
Personal style: In a strict sense, this is not a style, but all that does not belong to any. These tattoos include photos, names, or drawings brought by the client (many times designed by him). No offense, we recommend that you think it twice before you decide to tattoo something like this, since these tattoos are not exactly pretty and many times that eternal name ends up being a problem.