top of page

Old School tattoo

Traditional tattoo and Old school Tattoo.

About style

A traditional tattoo in the style of Old School or Traditional could be called a classic in terms of performance and theme. It is not a watercolor that requires a special color and artistic vision. It is not a dotwork that can be distinguished by a “dotted outline”. Old school tattoos are quite characteristic. This is a clear lifestyle full of life.


Old School was born in the late 19th century in America and Europe and then spread worldwide. It is said that Old School is not just a style, but an entire period. The color tattoo, which was popular at the time, is still in use today. It hardly changed, except that the tattoo technique and the quality of the tattoo machine and consumables used had improved. Great importance in spreading the Old School style is dedicated to sailors. They were the first to revive tattoo practice in western countries. The sailors traditionally tried to make a new tattoo on arrival at the new port. Knowledge about tattoos, which was usually depicted on their own skin, was imported from the Polynesian Islands and Asian countries. But when we compare Old School and Polynesia, we should realize how unique Old School is. This style was created under the influence of knowledge gained from islanders and formed its own characteristic features.

Sailor Jerry

By the way, besides all sailors, a certain founder was very important in this style. He had a great influence on shaping the style about half a century later. The fact that this person is included in the history of tattooing in this style allows us to call Old School an American style, even though it was popular in Europe at the same time. His name is Norman Keith Collins. He was an American sailor who served in the Navy and visited all of Southeast Asia. From there, along with the discovered love for tattoos, he brought knowledge of this style. After his military career, Norman Keith opened his own tattoo parlor in the US. He worked in an original combination style: a multi-colored Japanese tattoo was combined with a rough nautical tattoo in a former sailor's drawings, but paradoxically it looked harmonious.

Style properties

One of the features of the Old School style tattoo is the restriction on the theme, which is well defined and whose symbolism is known. Old school tattoos include skulls, hearts, angels, crosses, fire, ribbons, stars, women. Such widespread though repeated themes appeared somewhat later than those of the sea, which were originally discovered on drawings on the body and still occur. These are anchors, swallows, water nymphs and deities - water patrons. Another area of interest is texts. Often in this style there are signs with names, citations, big event names. The tattoos can be combined with illustrations.

In Black House Tattoo, old school tattoos are done mostly by:


You can also read more about tattoo selection here:


Gallery of old school tattoos by our tattooists:

bottom of page