American Traditional tattoos are made up of very simple parts, but all these parts create a bold, long-lasting design that can be enjoyed for years to come if done correctly. American Traditional tattoos include a bold outline and a simple color palette which work together to create a unique 2-dimensional design that will outlast many other styles of tattooing today. The traditional style of tattooing is one of the most popular styles of tattooing today. This style has been made popular by many world-famous artists such as Sailor Jerry Collins and Ed Hardy, as well as newer artists like Mike Chambers. The main goal of a traditional tattoo is to create an amazingly bold design that can be clearly recognized from across the room and last forever. Artists such as Sailor Jerry Collins brought the style from Japan, giving it a more Americanized version of the traditional Japanese style, dating back to before 10000 BC. Traditional Japanese tattooing was a form of punishment for criminals, such as the world-renowned gangs of the Yakuza. Many people now have adapted the American Traditional style that Sailor Jerry and Ed Hardy have brought over into a new style called Neo Traditional, which uses more line weights and a simple color palette, but with a few more colors to complement the tattoo.
The electric tattoo machine (also improperly called a gun by many who are not in the profession) forever revolutionized the tattooing culture in America. It replaced a much older method, still done today by Horishio 3, which requires a needle on the end of a long stick to be thrusted into the the desired part of the body over and over to achieve what the new machines can do at a much faster rate.
Many traditional tattoo artists use what is known as "flash", which are pre-designed drawings that the customer can choose from, that are placed on the wall for them to see. Flash has evolved much more, and is not all hand-painted with watercolor as it once was. Most artists do not even use flash anymore, because the internet has completely taken over, just as the electric tattooing process has revolutionized the tattooing industry.
Most "flash" in the early years of tattooing in the United States consisted of eagles, flags, women, or a compass. Most "flash" was usually military-related items that could closely relate to the vast amount of soldiers coming and going in the area at that time.
Most "flash" consisted of smaller to medium designs to make the application and the overall process much faster, which resulted in less pain and more daily customer volume.
The reason most traditional tattoos last longer are because of their simple design which does not allow for variation over time, and because most traditional tattoos use up to 75% black, which is made of several things, most importantly carbon. This ingredient helps give the tattoo a foundation that will last much longer than a tattoo that consists of only colors without carbon.