How to Design a New School Tattoo

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How to Design a New School Tattoo
Design a New School Tattoo

Similar in style to old school tattoos, new school also utilizes bold outlines and bold, bright colors, but often border on being surrealistic. This style of tattooing has been likened to graffiti art--big, bold and a bit twisted. There are specific designs referred to as new school, but you can turn almost any tattoo design into a new school piece with the help a good tattoo artist. Read on to learn how to design a new school tattoo.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Find a tattoo artist who excels at new school tattoos. If you have a regular artist, they may already be well versed in this particular style of tattooing, or can steer you in the right direction to someone who is.

  2. 2

    Consider a bold, black outline. Like old school tattooing, new school pieces also tend to use bold outlines in solid black. If you're looking for a new school tattoo, then this is probably one of the things that appealed to you about this art form.

  3. 3

    Pick bold colors. Also like old school tattoos, these tattoos utilize bold colors only brighter and with lots more color choices. New school tattoos can run the gambit in color and shading, so go wild.

  4. 4

    Choose classic themes with a modern twist. The designs tend to be a little more detailed than the simplistic ones used in the old school format, so you have a little more freedom when it comes to a theme.

  5. 5

    Discuss placement with your tattoo artist. Depending on the overall size, which is greatly dependent upon how much detail your piece has, and the amount of exposure you want the piece to get, you can easily narrow down where to place it.

Tips and warnings

  • There's sometimes a fine line between what's considered new school and neo-traditional. Some pieces may even technically fall into both categories and some artists actually interchange the two terms.
  • It's not unusual to find a tattoo artist who enjoys taking an old school piece and giving it a new school twist.
  • Old school tattoos have a more defined set of rules to follow, whereas you have more freedom with new school. For more information on old school tattoos, read the eHow article, "How to Design an Old School Tattoo."

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