Staying Up-to-Date on Tattoo Trends & Styles in the Tattoo Academy

Tattooed arm on white background.

The tattoo industry is always welcoming new people who fall in love with ink and are looking for ways to express themselves. The beauty of tattoos lies in the sense of individuality they offer to people. You’ll find people across all social media sharing their favorite pieces and inspiring others to get new ink.

However, there are some tattoo styles that rise above the rest. As an aspiring tattoo artist, it’s essential to keep track and keep up. Want to know which tattoo trends you’ll be seeing this 2023?

Here are some styles that are making waves in the tattoo academy. Read on and get inspiration for your next design.

Neo-Traditional Tattoos

Traditional Americana will always be around. However, there’s been a new-found love for neo-traditional tattoos among ink lovers. Neo-traditional tattoos give a more modern flair to traditional Americana.

Where American-traditional tattoos have consistent line weight, neo-traditional has more variations. This tattoo style modernizes classic themes usually seen in traditional Americana. This includes subjects like animals, plants, and flowers.

Some artists like to incorporate pop culture. Neo-traditional tattoos also have more color variation than traditional Americana. This allows tattoo artists to get creative and show off their mechanics.

Neo-traditional tattoos also have a bold and more illustrative appearance. These tattoos often have white highlights and black shading. If you love working on graffiti, you may be able to cultivate your art style in these types of designs.

Patchwork Tattoo Sleeves

There’s been a rise in interest in getting patchwork sleeves or sticker sleeves. This style enables people to curate tattoo sleeves they love without committing to hours or multiple sessions for a single art piece. Patchwork sleeves consist of small pieces that often have nothing to do with each other.

However, with the right placement and style, it can look cohesive. Patchwork sleeves are fun because they draw the eye from one unique tattoo to the other. It gives artists the freedom to curate unique pieces that will all work together in the final product.

Traditional patchwork sleeves consist of traditional Americana tattoos. However, you aren’t limited to that. The beauty of patchwork sleeves is that you can combine multiple styles and meanings.


Tattoo equipment has come a long way, enabling artists to create tiny but complex designs. Instagram, Tiktok, and Pinterest have had the biggest influence on the popularity of micro-realism. Some of the most popular designs include hyper-realistic butterflies, bees, and birds.

Micro-realism integrates pointillism. This art strategy involves using small lines and dots to complete the final image. Many of the best micro-realistic tattoos don’t even have outlines.

Artists use gradual shading and dot work techniques to create the 3D effect of micro-realistic tattoos. There has also been an increased interest in smaller but realistic portraits.

Don’t be fooled – even if you are tattooing a small part of the skin, micro-realism tattoos take a lot of time. Clients who want micro-realistic tattoos often seek artists who specialize in that style. This tattoo trend can be incredibly difficult to master due to the level of precision needed.

Pop-Culture Inspired Tattoos

Tattoo culture is inspiring clients to get ink of popular media they love. It comes as no surprise to us that anime tattoos will be trending this year. The unique aesthetic of the anime art style makes it more eye-catching on the skin.

You may have seen people on social media showing off their anime or video game tattoos. Anime-inspired tattoos have been particularly popular in the US.

Check social media and you’ll find various pieces featuring Naruto, One Piece, and even Pokemon. These tattoos usually feature portraits of the client’s favorite character. Some clients have requested large pieces referencing snippets of scenes from the manga or anime.

Anime tattoos can go one of two ways. You can stick to a sleek, stripped-down version by incorporating an illustrative style. This style of anime tattoo honors the 2-dimensional look of a manga page.

However, you can also have fun with dramatic perspectives and deep colors. Anime is full of fun and colorful characters, so don’t be afraid to incorporate that into your design.

Ignorant-Style Tattoos

Tattoos don’t need to have some deep meaning for people to get them. This is a mentality that tattoo lovers in the community are taking to heart!

Ignorant tattoos add more dry humor and irony to the tattooing experience. These tattoos have a loose feel to them and look like cartoonish doodles. Some of our favorites are tattoos of frogs in mushroom hats and crooked cats with little knives.

This whimsical, simplistic tattoo design brings light-hearted fun to the tattoo culture. You may find inspiration in making small, cute, and silly designs that bring smiles to people’s faces.

Tribal Comeback

The 90s are making a comeback this year in all forms, including hairstyles and fashion. Tribal tattoos are also making a comeback but not in the way you think. In the 90s, tribal tattoos were a prime example of cultural appropriation.

It may seem like a negative thing that tribal tattoos are coming back. However, it’s not the way you think. Many clients are rediscovering their roots and embracing their ethnicities.

Indigenous women in Alaska and reclaiming traditional face tattoos. Many people from different cultures are taking part as a way to honor their heritage. Jason Momoa himself has shared images of his Hawaiian tattoos.

Tribal tattoos may have a rocky history. But this year, the entire community is working to preserve sacred parts of their respective traditions.

Stick and Poke Tattoos

Stick and poke is the oldest form of tattooing, and more clients have taken an interest in this style. Stick and poke tattoos are usually simple and consist of only bold black lines. The beauty of stick and poke is that anyone can do it.

All you need is a needle, some ink, and a touch of creativity to make a solid design. However, stick and poke isn’t easy to learn, and it’ll take some time to get it right.

If you’re a tattoo student, this is a great way to challenge yourself. With enough practice, you can even go beyond the traditional plain ink work and make something more intricate.

Flash Tattoos

Flash tattoos are something you need to learn about if you plan on starting your own tattoo studio. Many salons feature designs on their walls and in binders, known as flash tattoos. Tattoo studios often have the same flash designs featuring traditional Americana.

You may be familiar with small skulls, swallows, and anchors. However, with the rise of all sorts of tattoo trends, especially ignorant tattoos, you can make your flash designs more unique. Flash tattoos are typically simple and cater to walk-in clients.

Some tattoo artists like to curate new flash designs depending on the season. Halloween is the perfect time to get creative, and you can feature limited-edition designs. Flash designs don’t usually take more than an hour to complete.

Geometric Tattoos

Geometric designs are all the rage right now. Many popular designs feature nature landscapes or large predators like bears and wolves. This tattoo style consists of distinct shapes and sharp, clean edges.

If done right, geometric tattoos can float off the skin and appear 3-dimensional. This tattoo style also incorporates pointillism to make the finished piece more cohesive.

Geometric tattoos alone can look pretty awesome. However, you can also combine other styles like watercolor and mandala tattoos.

Funky Colors

Solid blackwork tattoos will always be well-loved by the community. Recently though, clients have been looking into colored designs. Red and white ink tattoos have a striking appearance and can make a tattoo look more interesting.

Many tattoo lovers in the community, especially women, have been requesting red ink outlines. White tattoos are mesmerizing because they look almost like scars.

Unique Custom Designs

Tattoo trends will always consist of specific designs that don’t offer much customization. Does anyone remember the Tumblr era of infinity signs and finger mustaches? Nowadays, it’s butterflies and snakes.

However, tattoo artists shouldn’t despair. More clients have been looking into one-of-a-kind designs. Clients spend months looking for the right artist to collaborate with.

More clients are looking to get designs that flow with their bodies.

Nature Tattoos

Nature tattoos have always been around and will continue to be popular this year. While it may seem like a common style, many clients find a sense of individuality in different aspects of nature. Think about it – there are countless plant species and animals.

A tattoo of a flower will bear different meanings to its wearer. Nature tattoos also offer a ton of flexibility. You can experiment with color, placement, and size.

Newest Tattoo Trends in the Tattoo Academy

Here are some of the trendiest tattoo styles that you can expect to see this year. Tattoo trends will always change, but it’s a way for both clients and artists to bond over their love for tattoos. These tattoo trends can also offer some inspiration to artists looking to create something totally new.

Do you want to improve as a tattoo artist? Join us at the Tattoo Academy!