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Black and Grey / Blackwork

Black and grey tattoos are done using a degree of black to grey shading. Traditionally, these tattoos do not include any other color, however, occasionally you will see some color added, or in the case of Trash Polka, red.

Blackwork tattoos use only black ink with absolutely no other color and no shading. The designs range from tribal tattoos to custom illustrations or sketches.


Color tattoos are full color designs lined with black and shaded. These designs can be traditional in style meaning they use block coloring and no tones. Or they can use color shading where colors merge.


Irezumi or traditional Japanese style tattooing took root in the early 17th century. Colorful tattoos filled with folklore heroes and creatures sit on a backdrop of waves, smoke, and clouds making for masterful bodysuits or individual tattoos.


Originating in the 18th Century, traditional tattooing encompasses bold lines and bright blocked colors.


Neo-traditional tattooing is an evolution of traditional tattooing. It holds on to the important element of pronounced linework and vibrant colors yet allows for the blending and merging of those colors.

New School

Taking after the cartoons and comics of the day, new school tattooing emerged in the latter part of the 20th century. This cartoonish and comic style remains true to the importance of linework and bold colors.


Realistic tattoos are all about the details. From portraits of people to photographs of animals or architecture, these tattoos are meant to look life-like.


Portrait tattoos are normally taken directly from photos. A professional tattoo artist will take a clients photo and make a stencil to apply on the body to use as a guide. The photograph you use should be of good quality and large enough for your tattoo artist to clearly see details.

Flash Designs

Tattoo flash is a pre-existing design that can be easily copied onto stencil paper that is then placed on your body and finally completed by your professional tattoo artist. Tattoo studios are filled with flash sheets, some dating back to the early 20th century and others more modern. You will find flash created by legendary tattoo artists like Lyle Tutle, Paul Rogers, Ed Hardy, Sailor Jerry, Philadelphia Eddie, Mike Malone, and our own Ken Cameron and Troy Lane in tattoo studios around the world.

Custom Design

When a professional tattoo artist designs something specifically for you, it is custom. The tattoo artist while collaborating with you on ideas, placement, and size creates this design making it unique. The design can then be placed using stencil paper or the artist may freehand draw all or parts of the design directly on your body.


Freehand tattooing means the tattoo artist draws the design directly on the client without the use of a stencil or prepared drawing. These tattoos provide the client with a truly custom design while taking advantage of individual body shape and allowing the design to have even more free flowing movement. You will notice your tattoo artist using different colored pens/markers to create the design, as each will give way to outlines, shading, and color in the finished tattoo.


There are a variety of styles that fall under the umbrella of tribal tattoos. From Polynesian including Samoan, Hawaiian, Pacific-Northwest, and Maori designs, Iban and Celtic, to Mendi, Mandalas, and Modern. Each is unique and comes with a rich history behind the designs.

Cover-ups, Touch-ups, and Reworks

Don’t worry, a professional tattoo artist has seen their fair share of unwanted or faded tattoos and will guide you on your options if you choose not to have it removed.

Cover-ups can be tricky, but after taking into consideration the size and color of the existing tattoo, a professional tattoo artist will give you options. Granted you may not be thrilled at their initial suggestions due to design or size, it is a start and you and your tattoo artist can come up with a solution you will be happy with in the end.

Sometimes an older color tattoo will fade over time due to sun exposure. A professional tattoo artist will be happy to work with you in giving that faded tattoo new life with a pop of color.

Occasionally a tattoo that didn’t come out exactly they way you wanted can be reworked by a professional tattoo artist. Reworking entails the tattoo artist going over the existing design and providing more detailed work.

Visit our FAQ page for the answers to your most frequently asked questions.

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