15 American Traditional Tattoo Designs & Meanings
Known for their bold black outlines, brightly coloured shading and almost cartoon-like style, American traditional tattoos rose to prominence during the Second World War. These old school designs that still influence traditional flash tattoos to this day, were first created by the famous tattoo artist Sailor Jerry.
Born Norman Collins, Sailor Jerry trained as a tattooist in Chicago, before serving in the Navy. He became fascinated by both ships and Japanese artistry and later combined his two loves by setting up a tattoo shop in Honolulu. Here, he tattooed a variety of Asian-inspired and nautical designs for sailors on shore leave. Since then, many artists have followed in Jerry’s footsteps creating long-lasting retro designs with heavy linework and bold colours.
If you’re fascinated by vintage tattoo styles and want a design that will stand the test of time, look no further. Below we cover 15 of the most popular American traditional tattoos and their meanings. Read on to be inspired!