Classic cartoons like Popeye, Mickey Mouse, or Betty Boop. Nautical themes like mermaids or anchors. Any combination of hearts, daggers, pinup girls, and red roses. These are all examples of traditional tattoos that perfectly blend that old-school style of ink with timeless caricatures and symbols. That stereotypical “MOM” heart-shaped tat on your bicep? That’s about as old school as you can get.
While we love single-needle and fine line pieces as well, if you love this thick, bold style of tattooing, consider going this route for your next piece of ink. Traditional designs usually celebrate themes related to the sea — think: pirates, anchors, lighthouses, mermaids, boats, and more — but you’ll also see plenty of hearts and daggers and roses, too. While red and black are popular color choices with old-school tattoos, modern advancements in the industry mean there’s more room to play with shading, fine lines, and different colors including blues, greens, grays, and yellows.
Feeling inspired? Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of the best options for old school tattoos and classic tattoos. Keep scrolling for traditional tattoo ideas worth bringing to your next appointment at the parlor.