Making Old School Tattoos: Rules, Meanings, and Tips

Old School Tattoo is the term referring to the traditional American style of tattoo which usually features bright colors and black outlines that emphasizes its boldness. It is usually drawn in yellow, green, red, blue, and black colors. The term “tattoo” is actually derived from Tahitian language “ta-tow”.

Rules in Making Old School Tattoos

The tattoo making in Western countries was firstly restored by sailors who also often got a contact with Polynesian and Asian cultures. In Asia and Polynesia, body painting is a part of a tradition. Nowadays, the traditional styles of tattoo are still popular and are used by many people around the world. However, many people do not know that the traditional tattoo artists/makers should follow some rules in making the tattoos.

Through some apprenticeships, the rules were passed from generation down to the next generation. First, before the use of tattoo boom became so popular back then, the tattoo gun had been shortly made-up. Therefore, you can use both tattoo bomb and gun to create authentic Old School Tattoos for yourself and your customers.

Do not forget to use bold-colored ink to create the tattoos. In making a traditional tattoo, the use of red ink is a must. After that, you can use red-orange, orange, purple, and gray-brown. The combination between orange and red orange will result in yellow color. Meanwhile, you can amazingly get a green color by combining red and grey-brown. You can apply similar tricks in order to obtain a certain color. It is also possible for you to do the trick with black, since black is very important in making a tattoo becomes an Old School tattoo. Old school tattoos must have a bold black outline to define the tattoo design.

Models and Meanings

There are so many picture designs that are usually used to make an old school tattoo. Each design has its own meaning. Each of them represents the owner’s character and feeling. Below are some examples of picture designs along with their meanings.

  1. Anchors

Anchor is an ancient symbol that represents the sailors’ hope of not to be lost and hope of being themselves (being true) in any condition.

  1. Swallows

Traditionally, a sailor will get a swallow tattoo if he successfully passes at least five thousand nautical miles, since the bird is considered as a symbol of fortune and luck. It is also a prayer, hoping that the sailor will be lucky enough to return home safe.

  1. Roses

If the Eastern countries use lotus to symbolize love and purity, then the Western countries use roses to represent them.

  1. Pinups

Usually, sailors would not be accompanied by their women when they were sailing. The lonely sailors then projected their displeasure feeling of sex on some meaningful tattoos. The pin-ups could either represent their real wives, girlfriends, or just their imagination of an attractive female or sexy girl they wanted to be with. There were also some sailors who chose to paint a tattoo of the beautiful mermaid on their body.

  1. Hearts

It is easy to guess that hearts represent love. Besides a romantic love, hearts also represent happiness and joy.

  1. Ships

Ships are considered as a symbol of freedom, and they are also a clear mark of sailing.

Tips on Making Old School Tattoos

Tattoo-making should be done in a right way, since its result will be permanent. Therefore, this article will help you with some tips that might be useful to prevent disappointment because of any possible mistake.

  1. Try not to make the mistakes below.

–               Being too young to get a tattoo. Getting a tattoo before you are mature enough to decide the design will definitely cause a disappointment at a later time. Therefore, you are not suggested to get any tattoo too early in life, or before you reach 18. Young kids usually like cartoon characters or something like that. If you decide to get that tattoo, imagine how it would look like when you grow older. You will become a manly man with a cute tattoo painted permanently on your body. Therefore, there is no need to rush if you do not want to regret it.

–               Seeking for the best price. Choosing a good tattoo and a good artists are the most important things that you need to do. Therefore, you are not suggested to only seek for the best price without considering any other aspects. It is great to get a good price of making a tattoo, however, you also have to pay attention to the quality of the materials and the artist’s skill.

–               Making a tattoo of a person’s name other than your parents and children. We all know that anything can happen with our relationships. Therefore, try not to write a person’s name permanently on your body if you do not want to regret it someday.

–               Letting an unknown artist to draw your tattoo. As has been said before, knowing well the tattoo artist’s skill and the quality is important to avoid the disappointment. Therefore, do not suddenly make a tattoo during your vacation when you see an unknown tattoo artist that you are not even sure about his/her ability.

–               Letting your tattooist to decide the design. Do not ask your tattoo maker to do whatever he/she wants, unless you want to get disappointed. It is you who will wear the tattoo around, and it is also you who will either be happy or embarrass with your tattoo. Therefore, if there is something that you do not really like during the process of making the tattoo, feel free to interrupt, or else the mess will get worse and harder to fix.

  1. You should know the tattoo that you want.

You do not need to rush. You can take your time to decide on the design, especially if it is your first time of getting a tattoo. Always remember that the tattoo will last for the rest of your life. It will leave scars if you try to remove it. You can even search for a design that you prefer and begin to sketch it. Make sure that the Old School tattoos you are going to make are, indeed, the tattoos that you will love.