Tattoo graphics: features, history, places for application, best photo examples

Tattoos have tightly entered the life of many people, for some it is a way of self-expression, for others it is a body decoration, and someone at all performs tattoos as a talisman. One of the most popular and fashionable styles is the graphic. Clear straight lines are transferred to the body with incredible sketches. Let's take a closer look at the unrivaled and beautiful style of tattooing graphics.

Main features of graphics

This style has many nuances that not everyone is aware of. The most important of them:

  • Clear contours, confident smooth lines and rich color.
  • Monochrome is one of the most important features of the graphic style. When performing tattoos, black is most often used, very rarely tattoos are applied in color.
  • Absence of transitions and shadows in the drawing. The shadow in the sketch is indicated with the help of dashes, which are also performed in a saturated black color.

Graphic tattoos are best not supplemented with elements of another direction. But a very unusual and interesting result will be obtained by combining graphics with Dotvok. Such a variant is most often used by men. A female version of the tattoo graphics will be a supplement in the form of floral patterns. Rather bold and extraordinary individuals experiment and apply elements of blackwork to graphic tattoos. With the right and careful execution, you can get a stunning effect.

History of the appearance and development of graphics

The graphic style in the field of tattoos gained popularity in the 21st century. Full-fledged sketches appeared in the year 2000, masters were inspired by old engravings of artists, which were created during the Middle Ages.

The main features were already visible then. Since engravings were created on a hard surface with special sharp objects and burnouts, it was not possible to create soft and blurry transitions. This has been preserved in modern stylization as well.

In the engraving of that time there is a large number of paintings with mythical and religious subjects. The engravers (engraving creators) adhered to the classical themes that were relevant at the time.

The first tattoo expert who influenced the development of the style was Duke Riley. He was the owner of the East River Tattoo parlor in America.

In contrast to the creators of the direction, modern artists did not follow any canons, which is why the themes have expanded, the technique of the work has undergone changes. For this reason, the style has become unique and distinctive.

Themes of the tattoos graphic

Very often the tattoos in the style of graphics are confused with the engraving. Certainly, when creating a tattoo in the style of graphics the main ideas are taken from the engraved paintings, but still these are two different styles and they also have different themes. In the graphic tattoos are expressed medieval motifs. Very often in these drawings there are knightly duels or individual details, such as daggers, shields, helmets or swords. Nowadays, any drawing can easily become a graphic. There are no strict limits on the content of the tattoo in this style. That is why this picture can safely adorn the body, as girls and men.

Black and white graphics of famous artists

Graphics is my love, and I want to share this love with you :) Graphics is where it all starts: a pencil sketch precedes any idea. Graphics is very attractive, you want to look at it, and there is always something to consider: light and shadow, night and day, white and black, line, stain, stroke, dot.

Some paintings are so famous that there are separate articles on Wikipedia. That's exactly the kind of thing we'll start looking at:

Albrecht Dürer's "Melancholia" (c.1514) The most enigmatic - there are very different opinions about what the symbols in this painting mean. One thing is certain: the emotional impact on the viewer!

Albrecht Dürer's "Rhinoceros" (1515).

Leonardo da Vinci "Vitruvian Man" 1487

Hans Holbein the Younger The Dance of Death woodcut series 1538 The Old Man and the Old Woman

Hans Holbein the Younger, silver pencil drawing by Jacob Meyer zum Hasen, 1516, Basel, engraving office

Rembrandt Harmens van Rijn. Three Crucifixions, 1653 Dry needle, chisel, parchment, 38x42. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Rembrandt Harmens van Rijn. Faust, 1650-1652 Engraving, 21x16. Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

Rembrandt Harmens van Rijn. Self-Portrait with Eyes Wide Open, 1630 Engraving on Copper, 51x46. Rixmuseum, Amsterdam

Rembrandt Harmens van Rijn. An elderly man with a wavy beard, 1631 Engraving. Actual whereabouts unknown.

William Blake "Elisha in the Chamber on the Wall" 1820. 243 x 210 mm. Tate Gallery, London

William Blake Job and his Daughters. 1823-26. 217 x 170 mm. Tate Gallery, London

William Blake Hecate. 1795. Tate Gallery, London.

Francisco José de Goya's "The Sleep of the Mind Produces Monsters" from the Caprichos series (El sueno de la razon produce monstruos). 179. From the series Los Caprichos, plate 43. Etching and aquatint. 1798 etching

Gustave Doré illustration of Edgar Poe's story "The Raven".

Gustave Doré illustration of Honoré de Balzac's "Naughty Tales"

Elisabeth Merkurievna Böhm, Famous Silhouettes, lithograph

Vincent van Gogh

Egon Schiele "Schiele painting a nude in front of a mirror," 1910 pencil Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna

Pablo Picasso Portrait of Igor Stravinsky. 1920. Graphite and charcoal. Picasso Museum, Paris.

Henri Matisse.

Felix Vallotton "The Beautiful Resurrection" 1895

Felix Vallotton "Manifestations". 1893

Felix Valloton "Laziness"

Valentin Alexandrovich Serov Portrait of A.P. Ostroumova-Lebedeva 1899 lithograph paper

Valentin Alexandrovich Serov Portrait of Composer I.K. Glazunov 1899

Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin. "Ending for the World of Art". 1899

И. Я. Bilibin. Title page to the article "Folk Art of the Russian North". The World of Art magazine. 1904

I.Ya. Bilibin. Book illustration.

Anna Petrovna Ostroumova-Lebedeva.

Cypresses 1902. Paper, woodcut. 310x240 (200x105). Collection of V.S. Gevorkyan

Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva Neva in the Early Morning. From the album St.Petersburg, 1922.

Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva, Anna Petrovna Ice drift From the album St.Petersburg, 1922. RUSSIAN STATE LIBRARY

Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva In the park. Poplars, 1902. paper, woodcut

The linden alley and monument to Emperor Paul I. From the album Landscapes of Pavlovsk 1923 paper, woodcut

Marc Chagall

Illustration by N. Gogol "Dead Souls". 1927

Goncharova Natalya

"The English Lion" from the series "Mystic Images of War" 1914. paper lithograph

Goncharova Natalia Goncharova "The Horse Bled" from the series "Mystic Images of War" 1914. Paper, lithography. 320х243. Collection of V.S. Gevorkyan.

Goncharova Natalia Sergeevna Brother's Grave From the series "Mystical Images of War" 1914. Paper, lithography. 250х322. Collection of V.S. Gevorkyan

Goncharova Natalia Sergeevna. Trees. Illustration for the poem "The Deserted People. The Hermitess" 1913. Paper, lithography. 182х143. Collection of V.S. Gevorkyan.

Favorsky Vladimir Andreevich B. Pilyniak "Untitled". Illustration, 1932. paper, woodcut.

Favorsky Vladimir Andreyevich B. Pilyniak. Illustration of 1932. paper, woodcut

Favorsky Vladimir Andreevich B. Pillniak "A Tale of Doom". Screensaver 1932 paper, woodcut

Dmitry Isidorovich Mitrokhin. Bouquet in Vase. 1934. paper, woodcut

Dmitry Mitrokhin. Leningrad. Winter 1937. Paper, carved etching.

Dmitry Isidorovich Mitrokhin. Iris Flowers 1939. paper, copperplate print

Georgy Semyonovich Vereisky Cityscape, 1950s.

I'll stop here for now. :) I hope you found it interesting! I'm planning a second part 1 modern graphics, don't miss :)

Women's tattoo graphics

Girls tend to choose small beautiful tattoos with deep meaning. Their list includes:

  • Flowers. As a rule, girls perform orchids, roses, lotus, clover. Such tattoos carry a symbol of femininity, beauty and charm.
  • Birds represent loyalty to home and fidelity in relationships.
  • Animals. The list includes cats, lions, owls, pandas or dolphins. All of these animals have different meanings, but the main ones are considered friendly, powerful, proud, intelligent, lucky and noble.
  • Inscriptions. Some girls perform a graphic style tattoo with their partner's or child's name inscribed on it. Various statements with a motivational character are also widely used.
  • Insects. A frequent choice of girls is the dragonfly, which carries a symbol of self-actualization, curiosity, courage and fragility of nature. And butterflies are a symbol of lightness, tenderness and carelessness.


  • Realism
  • Oriental
  • Chicano
  • Biomechanics
  • Old School
  • Tribal
  • Thrash Polka
  • Dotwork
  • Polynesia
  • New skool
  • Traditional
  • Blackwork
  • Neo-tradition
  • Ornamental
  • Ethnography
  • Sketch Style
  • Watercolor
  • Graphics
  • Black and white
  • Japanese
  • Handpoke

Men's graphics tattoos

Tattoos in the style of graphics are very attractive to men's attention, which is why and often found on their bodies. Often guys choose the following drawings:

  • The wolf indicates the strong male character of its owner and the desire to achieve the unknowable. Wolf eyes, made separately, denote pain, betrayal of others and loneliness.
  • Compass. This tattoo indicates a desire to remain true to his principles in life, in spite of the many temptations.
  • Anchor. Such a tattoo has the meaning of an unconditional life stance of a man.
  • Leo. This picture will indicate that its owner feels a brave and courageous defender. He carefully observes his principles of life and defends them to others. Such a person is able to cope with their difficulties and not accustomed to asking for help from others.
  • Dragon in the graphic style carries the meaning of loyalty, strength, courage and realistic perception of what is happening.
  • The rose indicates a man's ability to remain loyal to his choices.
  • The graphic pattern of the bear indicates the inner power, energy of its owner, as well as incredible strength.
  • Heart. If this symbol is pierced with a dagger or knife, then the meaning of the tattoo is the pain experienced due to the breakup of a relationship.

Who is suited to the style of graphic.

The main advantage of the style is its versatility. This direction is suitable for men and women. The meanings of future tattoos are determined by the clients themselves, but often they coincide with the general meaning of the depicted object. The associative series that emerges is important, as it is the client who walks around with the chosen design.

Graphics is suitable for straightforward and ambitious people. For fans of bright and colorful images, the style is unlikely to be attractive, because it is inherently monochrome.

The tattoo is a part of its owner, so it is worth taking into account that it is difficult to complement the graphic with another - colorful composition.

And yet the style can be combined with the following fashion trends:

  • Black and Grey - softens the inherent clarity and contrast of drawings inherent in graphics;
  • Geometry - figures of different shapes look advantageous in graphic design;
  • Dotwork - the presence of a large number of dots, giving volume, very harmoniously with the graphics;
  • Abstract tattoos - for those who are eager to experiment;
  • Minimalism - small miniature tattoos with a clear design also have their fans;
  • Blackwork - in some places the space is completely painted in black, and the rest of it is done in graphics.

In some cases clients nevertheless induce the master to create graphic tattoos in combination with colored elements. Thus appear various optical and abstract illusions, colored comics on the skin.

Places for graphic tattoos

The graphic style can be safely called universal. You can perform the tattoo on any part of the body, and it will look beautiful and stylish. When choosing a zone, first of all you need to pay attention to the scale of the picture. The second thing you should pay great attention to is the curves of the body. Not all areas of the sketch will look even and beautiful as in the drawing. A master will help to figure this out. It is best to choose a professional in his business, so as not to regret the performance of the tattoo. Girls often apply graphic designs to the thigh, neck or wrist. Men prefer the back, chest, shoulder or forearm.

Tattoo in the style of graphics looks quite beautiful and unusual. Execute in such a technique can be absolutely any composition. The most important thing - to work out a preliminary graphic sketch and consult with a professional tattoo master.

Popular tattoo styles and motifs

Printed flowers tattoo graphics are most often black and white. With the development of tattoo culture, works in color have appeared. Drawings in contrasting fire, or blue-green color are popular.

In terms of motifs, animalism is leading the way. In the tattoo graphics animals take a leading role, because they are considered an allegory of human qualities. Animals are performed both in a realistic and knowingly graphic version.

Since 2014, there has been an increase in the popularity of isolated pan-landscapes. The images represent a small miniature with views of nature. It is inscribed in the frame of a crystal, or terminates at the bottom with an image of a piece of solid rock with facets.

This design is preferred by persons under 35 years of age. They are a symbol of the desire to travel, to learn new and unusual. They encode the concepts of "peace", "harmony with oneself" and "harmony".

Tips for sketches

In order for the tattoo to remain beautiful as time passes, do not turn to beginners. They use cheap paints, whose pigment quickly turns gray.

Masters with no experience are recommended to use branded paints and needles right away. The tattoo merchandise market allows you to find the right items at an affordable price.

Tattoo sketches are made individually. You can be inspired by works from the Internet, it does not contradict the idea.

But the graphic style is built on expressing specific thoughts through images. If you just want to decorate your body, choose compositions with flowers. Plants are versatile and won't lose their relevance after many years.

Recommended reading: Black and white tattoos

The choice of a place for a tattoo

Above in the material we mentioned a certain feature of such a technique, on which largely depends on the choice of location of the tattoo. Clearly traced lines that are used in the drawings, should be located on those parts of the body where they will not refract or bend. It follows that it is most acceptable to apply the tattoo graphic on the shoulder, forearm, hip, back or any other area where part of the body under the sketch will not be in motion. Plot compositions and volumetric drawings, respectively, should be placed in large areas, such as the torso or back. For portraits and smaller pictures the ideal places are shoulders, forearms, shoulder blades, chest or thigh. Neat sketches look good on the arms. Mini-tattoos can adorn any part of the body, and can be placed, for example, on the fingers, behind the ear, on the neck, on the hand or foot.

Tattoo graphics can look bright and flashy and represent the whole picture, and can decorate the body with neat sketches. In any of the options, this technique is able to impress, because professionally performed tattoo is a real work of art.


For women

For men