There is a good reason old-school traditional back tattoos are so popular: they are incredibly versatile! The possibilities are limitless, and the theme can center around nearly any subject matter the client and artist can dream up.
When ink enthusiasts think traditional, they think bold, black outlines, a vibrant but restrained color palette, and a hardcore feel that is altogether different from styles such as photo realism or watercolor.
There is a reason this old school style is favored by bikers, sailors, and gypsy wanderers – it isn’t for the meek but for those looking to make a statement.
The best ideas for a traditional back tattoo will depend heavily on the wearer’s tastes. For an exciting nautical theme, a dramatic seascape featuring a clipper ship with an octopus dragging it down to the fathoms below has always been a popular choice. And few traditional pieces with a nautical theme look as crisp as a perfectly drawn lighthouse set inside an oval frame, colored or shaded to precision.
For those who’d rather stay on to dry land, old-school images like the bold red rose, outlined with a heavy weight line and filled in to blood-red saturation, rarely disappoints. Other options include bald eagles, anatomical hearts, and, of course, the timeless image of a beautiful woman. No matter the subject, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with traditional back tattoos!