What is traditional tattooing?

Soooooo, traditional tattooing! How to explain it?

If you have been tattooed at Northern Soul you have no doubt heard myself and Darryn talking about traditional tattooing. At it’s simplest, it means lines, black shading and colour. It’s that simple! But within tattooing, it also refers to the traditional tattoo iconography, the panther, anchor, roses, sailing ships, eagles, hearts, banners, daggers, spiderweb elbows, swallows…

Although, it’s not just subject matter that makes traditional traditional.

Now my traditional is firmly anchored in the vein of Sailor Jerry Collins, Brooklyn Joe Lieber, Dave Gibson, Bill Loika, in other words the very classic style of it. And this style usually has single line thickness, with a limited colour palette. The reason being it’s done as close as possible to the original tattoos of the post-war period. Bold and bright! Traditional traditional!

Now Darryn has his own style, anchored within the traditional form, this is his take on it…

“The traditional tattoos that I produce are have a root in the classic history of tattooing both technically and visually but are also inspired by so many widely varying art forms such as esoteric art, skateboard graphics and science fiction posters to name a few. The next step is throwing them in to a blender to create a bold and bright image that complements the body and mind.

My ideal for tattoos would be a dynamic piece that has energy and movement even though they are static in the skin and to be bold enough that they are at the very least recognisable from across a room although ideally from across the road. Black lines! Enough black to make it stand out and hold and preferably minimal but solid colours that create a simple but bold image that will last a lifetime.

Traditional tattooing is the basis of the modern craft of tattooing, all other styles have sprung from the old timers who originated this style, and their innovations brought us to where the craft stands today, we are standing on the shoulders of giants!

If you have any questions on this style of tattooing just message us and we will do our best to help you out!

Have an awesome day!


Owner/Artist at Northern Soul Tattoo

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