70+ Amazing New School Tattoo Ideas To Live For

By Jason Hamilton / June 14, 2019
neo indian girl sleeve tattoo
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Vivid colors, round forms, explosive characters, and roots in some of the greatest tattoo styles ever, New School tattoos are a new take on an old trick pony. Stealing some basic foundations from Traditional Americana, fusing it with some stylistic choices from Neotraditional, and throwing in some pop culture references, New School tattoo designs are some of the most playful pieces out there. We’ve pulled together this collection to give you a good idea of some high-quality ink from this particular style. If the colors alone aren’t some serious eye candy for you, the concepts alone should give you a giggle.

A simple wrist tattoo of a camera with a large lens.

A large and highly intricate shoulder tattoo of an old single lens reflex camera with an attached lens and rolls of film as additional detailing.


An intricately designed camera tattoo on the rib cage of an old single lens reflex camera with an attached lens and the words “Capture everything” below.

A wrist tattoo of a penguin drawn by using only one line.


A line geometric tattoo of an elephant and its trunk is drawn by only using one line.

A thigh tattoo that features an elephant’s face and trunk drawn by using only one line.


In this article, we will be discussing with you the new school tattoo design. We will be sharing with you our thoughtfully created gallery of new school tattoo designs as well as the history and background of the said tattoo design.


New School vs Old School

We know it when we see it, but We have been struggling for weeks to come up with a way to explain the difference between old school and new school tattoos. We have finally figured it out! The old school style of tattooing seen in the earlier half of the 20th century used symbols that celebrated patriotism and similar values and were done by electric tattoo machines. Old school, or traditional, tattoos utilize bold, black outlines and incorporate classic “flash” designs, premade designs that could be selected right off the wall at the tattoo parlor. Sailing ships, big-breasted women, American flags, banner hearts with the word “MOM” lettered inside, pin-up girls, Hawaiian beauties, anchors, roses, spiders, sharks, hearts split in two by a raging torpedo with the word “BUSTED!” scrawled in dark ink, jewels, treasure, eagles, playing cards, cobras, crosses and ornamented skulls are all examples of old school ink. Even the sparrow, which is a very popular trend currently, is an old school tattoo.


A creepy looking leg tattoo of a Cheshire cat.

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A colorful watercolor tattoo of a Cheshire cat on the thigh.

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A leg tattoo of a Cheshire cat.


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a wonderfully made steampunk themed Cheshire cat tattoo.

A highly detailed creepy hand tattoo of a smiling Cheshire cat.

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“Sailor Jerry”, born Norman Collins, is considered the forefather of the old school movement. After becoming a sailor at age 19, he opened a tattoo shop in Honolulu, Hawaii, known primarily as a romping ground for swaggering sailors and drunken soldiers. These men were not interested in high-quality tattoos complete with shading and detail; all they wanted was something they could show off to their friends. Although old school tattoos can certainly still be gotten today, you might be more likely to see examples of this style on the forearms of crusty old sailors and retired war veterans.

A colorful and playful neo-traditional thigh tattoo of Deadpool with hearts and a purple rose underneath.

A colorful and highly detailed thigh tattoo of two hummingbirds inside a flower patch.


A colorful neo-traditional arm tattoo of a red and green crocodile in a marshy environment.


A colorful highly intricate neo-traditional tattoo of a compass with a bottled message and flowers in a tropical-like theme.

An intricate neo-traditional leg tattoo of a crown with red eyes and a yellow-orange sun in the background while it is giving fire.


A colored neoclassical leg tattoo of a red-faced cat.

A colored neo-traditional thigh tattoo of a bearded man with intricate details.

After the second world war, tattoos started to become associated with gangsters and juvenile delinquents. When shoddy sterilization practices sparked an outbreak of hepatitis in 1961, the scene was forced even further underground. But after new legislation was passed and updated health codes were implemented, interest was renewed by a younger generation which forged the new school style we see today. New technology combined with fresh ideas has resulted in tattoos that are bold, and bright and utilize heavy outlines.

The Types of New School Tattoo Designs

Tattoos have been worn since time immemorial. The ancient world valued tattoos for cultural and artistic purposes. In the contemporary world, tattoos are taking over by storm. It is not just a preserve for celebrities but anyone can get a tattoo as an expression of personality and style.

Here are some of the most famous tattoo designs you can do with the new school tattoo:

The Neotraditional Tattoo

Most millennials would think that having classic tattoo designs makes them feel old. This is the reason why neo-traditional tattoo designs were born. Artists and enthusiasts alike would like to revitalize the classic designs so that they will still have a foothold in an industry that is completely changing with the times. They want these classic designs to also change with the times and have a new face, a new breath of life, a new demographic. These neo-traditional tattoos hope to be the successor of the big classic designs of the old days and bring a new era to the said classic designs.

Despite the change in detail and physical appearance over the years, the meaning of each tattoo design that was given a new breath of life is still the same. Skulls still hold the same meaning, wolves also. American imagery, which is commonly used in this approach of tattoo design, still holds the same meaning as its classic tattoo counterpart.

The best thing about this new school tattoo is that you do not necessarily have to give yours a meaning or even know what it represents as it is no longer considered important. In this day and age, most people consider the appearance of a tattoo more important than the meaning behind the design and this belief is reflected on to neo-traditional tattoo designs we see today.

What truly makes a tattoo design be classified as a neo-traditional tattoo is its bold choice of colors. Most often, neo-traditional tattoos will have eye-popping colors be mixed with other eye-popping colors to make the tattoo stand out from the crowd. Another element that we commonly see in neo-traditional tattoos are the bold outlines of the objects of the tattoo. These bold outlines also help to make the tattoo design pop out and make it easier to mix different colors since there is this somewhat sufficient boundary to each color.

Do not know what we are talking about? Here are some neo-traditional tattoo ideas we have seen on the web to help you.

A colored neo-traditional sleeve tattoo of a wold with flower and leaves as an additional detail.


A monochromatic neo-traditional arm tattoo of a skull.

A neo-traditional colored neck tattoo of an owl with a flower.


A large and highly detailed neo-traditional full back tattoo of an owl with other intricate detailed elements to form one beautiful tattoo.


A colorful neo-traditional leg tattoo of an Oni mask.

A large and colorful neo-traditional leg tattoo of an evil woman with yellow blank eyes and other evil details.

A beautiful and colorful neo-traditional elbow tattoos of a pair of mandalas.

A large colorful and slightly cartoonish, yet highly detailed neo-traditional full back tattoo of the Kraken cutting a modern ship in half while in stormy seas.

A large neo-traditional thigh tattoo of a lion trying to free itself from the chains that surround it.

A highly colorful and detailed neo-traditional sleeve tattoo of a Native American girl with an elaborate feather headdress and red face paint.

An intricate and colorful neo-traditional leg tattoo of the all-seeing eye surrounded by heraldic details used in the royal coat of arms.

A colorful neo-traditional chest tattoo of two sparrow birds flying.

A colorful street style neo-traditional arm tattoo of a tattoed hand holding a red bottle with purple flowers as the background of the overall tattoo.

A medium-sized neo-traditional chest tattoo of a woman with steampunk details and a picture of a skull on the head.

A colorful neo-traditional chest tattoo of a red hand holding a burning match with a yellow triangle as the background.

The Anime Tattoo

In the ever-expanding world of tattoo designs and ideas, it can be quite hard to come up with something new and unique. Sometimes, we simply reach to other, lesser-known cultures to find inspiration and originality and thus, the anime tattoo is born. It has grown quite popular in recent years, even outside of Japan. There are people who might find it a bit too childish to get an anime tattoo, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be so. You just need to get to know it a little better.

To those who are not informed well, anime may seem like just a bunch of weird-looking, colorful cartoons of creatures from the land of the rising sun. Still, a true anime enthusiast might get offended if you compare anime to run-of-the-mill cartoons such as Sponge Bob Squarepants.

Anime is actually manga but brought to life by means of animation, either done old school as an analog movie or by using computers to create a digital moving picture.

The big difference between Western-style cartoons and anime is that we’ve grown accustomed to the fact that cartoons are mostly meant for children, while anime can be for all age groups.

Some of them feature quite dark and serious themes, and some are only adult oriented.

Once you’ve seen an anime, you’ll instantly recognize the animation style each time you stumble upon it again. Characters commonly have big eyes, small noses, and exaggerated hairstyles.

Let’s look at some of the most popular characters from the incredible world anime which may inspire your next anime tattoo.

A tattoo of Vegetta.

A tattoo designed to look like the skin is ripped and revealing the clothes of Goku.

A tattoo of Goku in Super Saiyan Mode.

A sketch-like tattoo of Goku.

A cute tattoo of Goku having fun.

A small inspirational tattoo relating the types of pokemon you will pick on your journey.

A cute tattoo of Pikachu surrounded by lightning.

A cute tattoo of Jigglypuff imitating a scoop of ice cream.

A tattoo of Hunter, a ghost type pokemon.

A beautiful tattoo of the legendary fire beast, Entei.

A cool tattoo of Dragonite in battle.

A cute tattoo of Dragonair while showing its elegance.

An abstract tattoo of Cubone.

A tattoo of Naruto Uzumaki, the franchise’s main protagonist.

Another tattoo of Naruto Uzumaki.

A sketch-like tattoo of Kakashi Hatake, the Sixth Hokage of Konoha.

A tattoo of Naruto’s famous headband.

A tattoo of the eyes of the franchise’s major characters.

A large tattoo of clouds in Naruto.

Another tattoo of one of Naruto’s major characters.

A stylized tattoo of Naruto Uzumaki.

The Low Poly Tattoo

Geometry is a branch of mathematics that is concerned with questions of shape, size, the relative position of figures, and the properties of space. This branch of mathematics, and in extension, science, is mostly considered as a graphic, logical, and numerical form of thinking. It is filled with figures, lines, and measurements which makes it a very interesting field of mathematics.

We are pretty sure, however, that the reason why geometric tattoo designs were inspired by geometry was not that of the measurements but rather the figures in this intellectual field. Geometric tattoos explore the idea of using numerous lines to form a unique shape and figure which can accentuate a simple tattoo.

Since its introduction in the body art industry a few years ago, a lot of designs were made that can be classified under the geometric tattoo design category. Most of these designs are modern and artsy and one of these tattoo designs is the low poly tattoo

Lowpoly tattoos are tattoo designs that feature a polygon mesh in 3D computer graphics that has a relatively small number of polygons. This specific tattoo design is quite famous for tattoo enthusiasts and tattoo artists that want to have a traditional tattoo design with a modern touch to it. The tattoo design holds a lot of meaning to it though usually, the meaning of the tattoo even if it is in low poly form is the same as the traditional tattoo design where it is derived.

Here are some low poly tattoo designs that are quite famous in the tattoo community:

A low poly geometric tattoo of an owl on the arm.

A three-dimensional low poly geometric tattoo of a fox’s head on the arm.

A low poly geometric tattoo of a lion that is inked on the leg.

A three-dimensional low poly geometric tattoo on the upper back of a wolf.

A watercolor low poly geometric tattoo of a bear on the back

A watercolor low poly geometric tattoo of a howling wolf with cosmic detailing on the back.

A low poly geometric tattoo of an eagle’s head on the sleeves.

A three-dimensional low poly geometric tattoo of a dinosaur on the sleeves.

A highly detailed low poly geometric tattoo of a sword pierced heart on the thigh.

A low poly geometric tattoo of a rabbit with watercolor detailing to accentuate its visual appeal.

The City and Landscape Tattoo

Whenever we think of tattoos, tattoo designs to be specific, we always tend to associate it with the usual designs we see like tribal and traditional tattoos. What if we tell you that there is more to tattoos than those typical tattoo designs? Yes, there’s a whole new world of cool tattoo designs out there waiting to be discovered. These cool tattoo designs will not only look and feel unique but it will also fit the image and personality you want to portray on your skin.

At this day and age where there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of tattoo designs available, the immediate need for cool tattoo designs to be introduced in the market lessened. Although it is lessened, new designs are still introduced once every few years to continually grow the tattoo industry’s official roster of tattoo designs it can offer to its large and unique clientele.

Landscape tattoos, like the name implies, is a tattoo design that features natural and beautiful scenery as the object of the tattoo. This tattoo design was actually just created or devised a few years ago while tattoo artists are desperate in looking for new cool tattoo designs to introduce to the market.

A landscape tattoo of a tall and mighty snowcapped mountain on the thigh.

A landscape tattoo on the sleeve with the original image on the right and the copy as a tattoo on the left.

A beautifully crafted landscape tattoo of mountains and forests with a sketch-like appearance on the sleeve.

A picture like landscape tattoo of a campsite deep within a tall tree forest on the sleeve.

A medium size landscape tattoo of a snowy mountain range on the ribs.

When these tattoo artists are starting to deplete their usual tattoo idea inspirations, they looked to nature and saw that Mother Nature can be the inspiration itself for their tattoo designs. Tattoo artists began inking beautiful sceneries as tattoos to tattoo enthusiasts and the reception was outstanding. Despite its currently small consumer base, we suspect that in a few years, this tattoo design will catch on and become a rising tattoo design.

A vibrantly colored low poly geometric landscape tattoo of mountains, a river, waterfalls, and a camping site.

A small neotraditional landscape tattoo of a mountain range and a river in the night.

A beautifully designed landscape tattoo of a pine tree forest with mountains and a small log cabin.

A painting like landscape tattoo of a forest with a Native American tent on the arm.

An intricately designed landscape tattoo of mountains and a lunar eclipse on the arm.

City tattoos is a stark contrast from the cool tattoo design mentioned above, landscape tattoos. City tattoos are basically a tattoo design that heavily features various cityscapes as the main object of interest of the tattoo.

A large sleeve city tattoo of New York City featuring its numerous high rise buildings and offices and with the Chrysler Building at the side as the tattoo’s focal point.

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A highly detailed and beautifully designed city tattoo on the sleeve of a generic downtown area of a city.

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An intricately crafted city tattoo on the sleeve of New York City at night with the old Twin Towers and Brooklyn Bridge.

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A simplistic but beautiful city tattoo of London with the London Eye, the Gerkhin, and St. Paul’s Cathedral being featured among other famous London landmarks.

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A large full back city tattoo of Los Angeles, California with its high rise buildings, Staples Center, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Most city tattoos are composed by the towering skylines of cities with its skyscrapers and towers being the focal point of the tattoo design in general. Others just have the silhouette of the city skyline tattooed to give off that simple yet elegant and creative aura.

A highly detailed city tattoo on the foot of Seattle, Washington’s skyline with the Space Needle as a focal point.

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An intricately designed city tattoo of a generic city in the mountains with a ski slope and a glass dome.

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A neotraditional city tattoo of New York City with the Freedom Tower and Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise.

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A beautifully crafted city tattoo of the skyline silhouette of Berlin, Germany’s capital, with the Brandenburg Gate heavily featured.

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A city tattoo of a European city with Paris’ Eiffel Tower and London’s Big Ben.

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No matter what the design of the city tattoo might be, it is still considered as one of the harder designs out there because of the various lines it uses and the complexity of the inspiration itself. complex? yes, it is complex because tattoo artists need to copy the aura of the city when doing the tattoo. You would not like to have a tattoo of New York City then give off the aura of, let us say, Los Angeles right? So yes, this design is considered hard because of the evoked aura it needs to achieve.

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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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