Neo traditional tattoos

Tattoo styles 6 min read Last updated on August 9, 2020

Neo Traditional tattooing or “neotrad” is a modern style, a crossover of the Traditional and New School styles. Neo Traditional tattoos look cool and unusual in that they seem very fresh and bright. Usually they are carefully designed images and plots.

Main features

  • The main feature is in sketch development. Artists, as a rule, draw a few sketches at a time, considering thinking over different concepts and ideas before trying to, then try to combine and stylize them.
  • Bright color palette. Neo-Traditional is characterized by the use of a wide variety of colors. These tattoos are usually brilliantly colored tattoos with shadows. However, neotrad tattoos can also be made in black and white.
  • Large and clearly defined contours. This makes the drawing look more voluminous and less realistic, but impossible to miss. In neotrad there is no place for small tattoos.
  • Hypertrophy. Often drawings in neo-traditional style are the result of hypertrophy and stylizations of already popular plot or sketch.
  • Pictures in this style often resemble toys.
  • Various types of perspectives are used.

Application areas

Shoulders, arms, legs, back - areas easy to work on, with little chance of the image getting deformed during the process.

Popular themes

Animals, flowers, faces of girls and men, skulls, insects.


The style was invented by American artists in the 1980s, as an answer to the then famous traditional style of tattooing. Compared to traditional tattoos, which were simple and used only a few colors, the neo traditional style is more complex and bright, with greater detail, contrast, and stylization. If four colors were primarily used in the old school/traditional style of tattooing, neotrad artists expanded their color palettes considerably.

How do you choose a neotrad tattoo artist?

Find a tattooist who has excellent artistic skills. To create a beautiful neotrad image, different techniques and skills are required, such as the ability to do different color transitions (smooth versus sharp), make aesthetic compositions, create a harmonious color palette, imitate textures or maintain the original style of the picture being copied, and compose realistic shadows. - only some of the techniques that are used in the process of creating a sketch. Listen to your tattoo artist’s advice an unusual and awesome neotrad tattoo.