Fine Line

Fine lines tattoos have increased explosively in popularity over the past decade. They can be any size but are perhaps most prevalent in smaller versions. Since they can be quite delicate and easy to hide (and also relatively painless), they are an easy entry point for someone’s first tattoo, especially as the art form becomes more prevalent with mainstream audiences. People sometimes argue fine line tattoos will not stand the test of time, but it is too early to tell exactly how they will age.

Geometry from Kay at Vivid Ink Birmingham


There is a lot of variation under the umbrella term of geometric tattooing. The use of pure geometric shapes can be beautiful in their simplicity. They can weave together, undulating into full abstract sleeves or entire back pieces.

However, artists often use geometric shapes in more illustrative tattooing motives, such as animals, other nature motives, and even portraits. 


Hand-poked tattoos are also commonly referred to as stick-and-poke and are, as the name would allude to, performed by hand. This does not mean that you should let your friend tattoo you at the kitchen table – it still needs to be done by a serious and certified artist.

Hand-poked tattoos reportedly hurt less and heal faster. Designs of modern stick-and-poke tattooing will naturally be more simplistic than those performed with a machine, but that does not make them any less impactful when done right. The exact tools used to hold the needle vary between artists.

By Vijay from the Birmingham studio


The genre of illustrative tattooing generally resembles paintings on the skin, like something you would find to explain a text, but artists use different techniques and styles to achieve this.

Some look more like etchings and engravings, whereas others are full-back black and grey style narratives or fancy neotraditional art nouveau poster portraits from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Japanese / Irezumi

Koi fish by Mel from Vivid Ink Stafford

Few tattooing styles are so surrounded by myth as Japanese tattooing. Its full bodysuits adorning members of the Yakuza are the stuff of tattooing legend.

Meant to show their wearers’ tenacity, resilience, and fearlessness and inspire awe in their adversaries, these tattoos take a long time to complete when done in the traditional, hand-poked way known as Irezumi.

Many Western tattooers have also adopted the style, creating colourful koi fish, geishas, different spirits and dragons. 

Lettering / Script

The popularity of having words and phrases tattooed on our bodies continues to rise. No wonder – it is a fairly uncomplicated procedure that requires little planning and can be a beautiful addition to a collection or an ornament all on its own when well placed.

Be prepared that your phrase may look different when sketched out as a tattoo than what you intended and may need a different placement if those are the words you are most keen on. While most artists can make a decent script tattoo, some have made it their speciality and produce letterings just a step above the rest. 


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