Welcome back to the third installment of tattoo styles. Today I’m going to focus on the watercolor, realism, and geometric styles of tattooing.
Watercolor tattoos are a relatively new player in the tattoo game. Inspired by the actual artform of watercolor painting, these tattoos are known for their organic form and graceful plays of color. The speculation around the origins of this tattoo style indicate that it was born out of a rebellion against the traditional forms of new and old school tattooing. The delicate shapes of watercolor tattoos are in complete opposition to the solid structure of an old or new school tattoo. One of the major differences between the two types is the lack of black outline on a watercolor tattoo. Because of that, tattoo artists who specialize in watercolor tattoos have more freedom when it comes to shading and use of color. A word to the wise though…make sure you do your research! Watercolor tattoos are new and you want to make sure you find the right artist for your masterpiece!
Realism tattoos often break down into three different subcategories: realism, surrealism, and micro-realism. All of these styles are tattoo versions of the artistic form in the art world. Realism, both on skin and canvas, means that whatever the artist portraying is as close to real life as possible. Most tattoos done in this style look like photographs of whatever it is they are tattooing. Common themes are celebrity portraits, photographs, film stills and pets. These tattoos can be done in either black and grey or color and often take a significant amount of time to plan. Tattoo artists familiar with this style will often make a map of lights and darks on the skin that looks like a topography map. That helps them really articulate the color and shade perfectly. Surrealism is the art of taking something that looks real or even hyper-real and pairing it with an abstract concept that is often completely unrelated to the actual subject matter itself. Think of Dali’s melting clocks. Micro-realism is a miniature version of the subject matter. Common tattoo versions of this style include famous pieces of art reduced to miniature size on the skin.
Geometric tattoos are all about creating the subject matter via linear patterns. The shapes themselves are an important part of creating the tattoo. Squares, circles, triangles, and other shapes all have a deeper and spiritual meaning within the universe. Additionally, geometric tattoos are often used within another tattoo style like watercolor, tribal and blackwork. You can tell immediately if the tattoo artist has done their job right because such linework absolutely must be symmetrical and precise.
Regardless of what style tattoo you decide to get, make sure you do research beforehand and make sure you have picked an artist that matches the style of tattoo you want to get. A great tattoo parlor, like Good Vibrations Ink, will always have artists capable of creating a tattoo in any style you want!