New school tattoos

Tattoo styles 7 min read Last updated on July 27, 2020

New School is a transitional style of tattooing, of both Old School and Neo-Traditional styles. This relatively new style has introduced freedom and a new outlet for creative expression in response to the Old School style with its “boring stereotypes”.

New school tattoo distinctive features:

  • Bright and saturated pigments (sometimes even acidic)
  • Clear contours
  • Voluminous image – easily identified from afar
  • A complete departure from realism
  • Uses voids, which can occupy the same area of the drawing as the painted areas
  • Abstract images
  • A variety of flashy subjects
  • Caricature
  • Are able to bring a smile to the viewer (as they are often funny)

Plot Features

New School is characterized by a wide variety of subjects and elements. It allows for flights of fancy. It is worth noting that often drawings are characterized by lots of different characters such as cartoon images and caricatures.

Popular images also include existing and non-existent animals, superheroes, comic book or cartoon characters, portraits, hearts, elements of fire, flowers, and birds.

Varieties and branches

  • Acid - uses of unnatural "acid" shades;
  • Ecstasy - psychedelic plots;
  • Wild style - graphic fonts predominate, including text fragments and graffiti
  • Cyberpunk - futuristic and gloomy, it is a mixture of computer and mutant monsters;
  • the direction of new traditions - a classic branch of New School which depicts cartoon characters and animals.

Application areas

New school tattoos are mostly medium to large in size. Hence, they look good on the shoulder, back, or chest. The more important thing is to find the right sketch for a certain part of the body.


As mentioned earlier, new school type of tattooing was a response to everything “boring and old”. This style arose in the 1980s when the rave movement was gaining popularity.

The old-style became dull and monotonous in contrast to the discos, electronic music, and bright clothes becoming especially popular at that time. So by introducing volume, a variety of brought colors, and wild subjects to the old-school style, new school tattoos became a hip and popular space for creativity and self-expression.

The creator of this tattooing style is considered to be popular designer Don Ed Hardy. After the widespread popularity of the new school style, Hardy patented the Ed Hardy brand in 2004 and released a line of clothing with images inspired by said style.