“My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.” - Johnny Depp (apparently he’s big in Hollywood, or something like that?)
For centuries, the tattoo has offered people from all walks of life the power to define their culture, share their beliefs and tell their tale through the medium of body art and associalted tattoo fashion.
Many believe that the tattoo - in it's (slightly) more modern incarnation - originates in Samoa, where a body inking was referred to as a 'tatau'. These are also, most likely, where the many tribal-style tattoos you see around originate from.
Since then, tattoos have been used for an abundance of reasons, from medical purposes right the way through to confessions of love. In short, the tattoo is something with a longstanding and illustrious history, offering a great deal of meaning to people the world over.
Fast forward to the present day - and what's going on in the world of tattooing in 2018?
Well, we're going to tell you.
So, without further ado, here are the six must-see tattoo trends of 2018, thus far - enjoy.
One of the most striking things we've seen this year, so far, is a notable rise in minimalism in addition to more delicate, subtle and understated tattoos, as opposed to brash designs rife in colour.
That said, dotwork is a tattoo trend that has come into prominence this year.
The detailed body artwork is materialised using the stippling method, often in black or grey ink, and this forms the basis of tattoo dotwork. There are some sensational designs out there of all shapes and sizes and with a keen creative eye, it's possible to conjure up a work of body art that really turns heads in the street.
In stark contrast to dotwork, tattoo watercolour is a trend that is really taking off this year - and it's dreamy - almost kaleidoscopic.
Cohesive use of bright colours, blended as if created on a traditional canvas makes these kinds of designs look like miniature versions of what you might see in London's National Portrait Gallery. Watercolour tattoos are amongst the most aesthetically striking we've seen and if you spot one while walking around town, its tasteful use of bright overtones will most definitely perk up your day.
Retro or 'Old School'
More or less exactly what it says on the tin, retro or old school tattoos are those modelled on the kind of iconic designs you might see in the 70s or 80s crime flick, or on perhaps on a veteran soldier.
The spectrum here is broad, but the take-home here is that 2018 has seen a significant rise in 'old school' style tattoo designs, with well-known favourites including finger tattoos, 'mom' accompanied with a heart and dagger, flowers, anchors, pin-ups and forearm swallows. Of course, with retro tattoos, the sky's the limit - but a slightly contemporary spin on classic tattoo stylings works well - and it's big right now.
We touched on minimalism earlier when talking about dotwork - but it's a 2018 tattoo that deserves its own mention.
Minimalism is on the rise, popping up literally everywhere - and indeed, with tattoos - sometimes less is more. There are no particularly hard and fast rules here except to create or request a meaningful design that can be materialised using a, well, minimal, use of colouring and lines. It may sound uninspiring but the level of creativity here is immense and the image above is a testament to the notion that space and simplicity speaks volumes.
As more folks begin to get in touch with their spiritual side, a host of satisfying Mandala tattoo designs have emerged, almost everywhere you look.
The geometric shapes are often the result of bespoke designs created for the individual, meaning that while this tattoo trend hones in a specific niche, there is a lot of individually out there regarding Mandala designs. If you're thinking about getting a Mandala tattoo, we suggest allowing plenty of time to carrry out your research and choose ac design is not only bespoke to you, but will really stand out in its own right.
Recently, we've seen droves of deliciously dark tattoos around - the kind of designs that sport an authentically gothic aesthetic coupled with beautiful, harmonious undertones. This new tattoo trend is referred to as blackwork.
Blackwork tattoos push dotwork and linework techniques to the extreme. Substantial blank tinted areas, sophisticated patterns and strikingly original graphic art are the very elements that make this body ink genre what it is, and as it evolves, all it promises be. Any blackwork tattoo worth its salt will consist of a lot of ink-coverage on one particular area, achieved in a way that is coherent and structured rather than random and blotchy. Done well, a blackwork tattoo is very cool, indeed.
"Tattoos, for me, are like a timeline of my life. I could look at a certain tattoo, and it reminds me of a certain time in my life and why I got that tattoo." - Tyga
Each of these trends is entirely different but equally dazzling in its own right. Getting a tattoo is a real commitment and before you ink that skin of yours, you should decide which of these techniques or styles will serve to suit you, and your personality. You should, of course, be 110% certain about the design you choose - if it means something to you, it will endure for a lifetime, after all.
We look forward to seeing your wonderful designs. Oh, and for more tattoo-based inspiration, discover how to accentuate your body art with the clothes you wear.