Different tattoo styles


We don't want to give everything a label, but to give you a guideline and to help us decide which artist is best for you and your project, we want to give you this information.
This is how we see everything in our studio, but this can be different in other places.
Scroll down to see some examples for each style.

1/ Photorealism
This means that the tatoo will be copied as realistically as possible from the photo. This can be a photo of an object (a book, a skull,...), of a person (=portrait), of an animal,...
With photorealistic tattoos, lines are rarely or never used. This means that there will be no black outline around your tattoo.
Everything is built up with shadows and details. Especially the contrast between the shaded areas is very important!
Black next to white/skincolor logically has the best contrast. Therefore, asking to make your tattoo 'not too dark' has no purpose!
To make your tattoo as detailed as possible, the artist needs a certain surface. Getting your tattoo too small is certainly not a good idea! (This isn't even cheaper: sometimes it takes even more work for the artist to get all those details on a small surface than it takes to get equally as much details on a bigger surface)
The better the source photo, the better the tattoo!
Let your artist choose your photo, they know exactly which photo is better, which photo has enough detail, contrast, sharpness,..
This style takes the most time to cover a certain area in comparison with other styles. This is why the style is rather expensive. (Colour takes even longer than black 'n grey)

2/ Oldschool
The oldschool style is the complete opposite of photorealism.
An oldschool tattoo has thick, black outlines. The subject is more illustrative, more simply portrayed. Less details. If you let your artist make the design, the tattoo will generally be better. You can name the subject(s) of your tattoo. You don't have to search for photos, but it can be a good guideline. It's a genre that's been arround for a while, and it will always be there.

3/ Newschool
This is the advanced version of 'oldschool'. Classical outlines, but advanced colouring/shadows, more detail.
Logically, it takes a little bit more time to do a newschool tattoo than it takes to do an oldschool tattoo. So it's more expensive than oldschool, but cheaper than photorealism.

4/ Maori/polynesian/haïda/pacific/..
Simple figures, 'squares' and 'triangles' and... evenly coloured, or filled with a pattern. Lots of symmetric stuff, straight surfaces, straight lines, little or no shadowing.
Follows the curves of your body.
This needs a trained hand to make everything symmetric and parallel.
This style takes the least working hours to fill up the same surface, in comparison with the other styles.

5/ Mandalas, dotwork, geometric Dotwork means that everything is built out of dots, so no even shadow. (but from afar it looks like there is shadow) Mandalas are geometric patterns, mostly in a circle. Alot of the times it has a spiritual/universal (cosmos) meaning. These consist of lines, the figures that are formed can then be filled in with shadows, colours or dotwork.

6/ Watercolour Watercolour tattoos are mostly a combination of linework that is coloured with 'stains' as if it is done with watercolour and a brush. This is mostly a colour tattoo.
Like any other style, it is best to let your artist make his own design, based on your chosen subject. You can also give them a colour scheme, like 'mostly pink and purple' or 'no yellow',..

7/ Surrealism
Surrealistic tattoos are very colorful and seems to be painted. These tattoos can be designed 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional. This style is really nice for people who live in a world made of dreams, illusions and fantasies.

The artists often play with the perspective of the designs. Because of that, everyone can make his own interpretation of the tattoo. Reality and fantasy are very close to each other and it's not impossible that the artist crosses that line.

8/ Bio-Organic - Bio-Mechanic
In designs that are bio-organic, the artist often uses elements who are biological. The lines and shapes are inspired by nature and seem to be growing. Organs, coral, plants... get all of their attention. Sometimes we get to see the anatomy of our inside body on our skin. Bio-mechanic focuses on machines and mechanism. That mechanism can be seen as a creation like a robot. The designs are often 3-dimensional and show us the machine who's hidden in our body. This style is very technical and the artists use a lot of dark colors.

9/ Blackwork
Blackwork is a tattoo style that can be recognized by an absence of colour. What makes this style so unique, is the shape and the contrast of the tattoo. Pure, undiluted ink is used for linework or black areas in the design. This is usually alternated by finer linework, dotwork or a special kind of shading such as whip shading and pepper shading.


For every style It is best to let your artist make his/her own design.

You can give your desired subject(s) and they'll make the best version of it. You can search for photos to explain your idea to us, but if you're sure which style you want, your idea is the best guideline. For example : 'a guitar', 'a tiger', 'cactus', 'Elvis',.. and not 'this tiger on this photo I found on Google images'(which most of the times is really bad quality anyway).

Here are some examples:
Traditional of oldschool Photorealism black 'n grey Photorealism coloured Aquarel/watercolor Newschool Geometric, dotwork and mandalas Maori, polynesian, .. Surrealism Bio-organic ) bio-mechanic Blackwork


Are you searching for our waiting times? Click here.
You want to see a list of our artists? Click here.
You want to ask for a price? Click here.
You want to book in? Click here.
Our contact information you find here.
Also check out our blog! click here.



Keep in touch with us and our guest artist and register your e-mail in our list on top of the page!

Proudly Sponsored by

Latest Blog Posts

© Inksane Tattoo & Piercing, Roeselare. All Rights Reserved.