Tattoos are a personal expression that’ll stay with you for life – yet no matter how original you think you’re being with your inking choice, certain themes tend to repeat themselves.
As the ones in charge of inking these permanent designs into bodies, tattoo artists have an excellent grasp of what tattoo trends are popular at the moment.
Although the subject, colours, and location can vary, these are the biggest tattoo trends of 2018, according to tattoo artists.
For the artists at West 4 Tattoo in New York City, a very specific tattoo style draws customers from around the world – fine-line tattoos.
“Tattoos today can achieve a level of detail that can be similar to drawing; therefore, a trend of ‘fine-line’ has risen,” the artists at West 4 told us.
Although most fine-line tattoos are minimalistic and tiny in nature, the tattoo artists at West 4 are most often tasked with “scripted lettering” in particular.
“Lettering is the most popular request at our shop because words carry so much significance and meaning to the clients, whether it be names, numbers, dates, actions, quotes, adjectives,” the artists said, which is why they “put every ounce of care into the tattoo because we know that there are dozens of meanings and hours of thought before our clients commit their skin, their time, and their finances to us.”
A perk of minimal tattoos is they are often hidden, according to the artists at West 4, who regularly tattoo the rib cage and wrist areas.
“Something the everyday person can take on,” fine-line tattoos are easily concealable – and there is minimal pain.
Although many artists refuse to do finger tattoos because they fade, the trend is still seeing increasing popularity as an appealing way to get a tiny tattoo.
According to the artists at Good Times Tattoo in London, hands and fingers are becoming one of the most popular tattoo locations.
Underboob tattoos, meaning tattoos below the chest line on women, and behind-the-ear tattoos, are also highly requested, according to artists at West 4.
Full-sleeves and large-scale tattoos
On the other end of the spectrum are those getting large tattoos, as the arms remain one of the most popular spots.
Naresh, a tattoo artist of 30 years and owner of Flamin’ Eight Tattoo, told us that “larger scale work, for example, full sleeves rather than smaller pieces” are seeing an increase in popularity – something that he would like to continue.
However, although he prefers larger tattoos over smaller ones, he is also “torn between the normalisation of tattooing and the consequential loss of its intrigue and mystique and with it, its power to shock and inspire.”
With all of the new designs and techniques available, many tattoo artists are still partial to one style in particular – traditional tattoos.
According to the artists at Good Times Tattoo in London, the trend they’re happiest seeing – and tattooing – is “the traditional stuff, so that it doesn’t die out.”
For Stefan Dinu of London Inkaholics, these are requests that include “styles of black and grey,” photo-realistic tattoos and “geometric black work.”
Traditional tattoos are typically boldly-lined, and done in all black, or brightly coloured.
Despite what is trendy this year, tattoos are about self-expression and what’s popular doesn’t really matter – as long as you love it.