A Guide to Tattoo Styles

Here at Cthulhu tattoo we consider the act of creating a tattoo to be a shared process with our clients. Our clients are not just canvases to be painted on; they're an active participant in an artistic expression. Why? Because a tattoo that represents our clients' personality and that they're proud of is something that elevates their mood and their vibe.

So in order to help our clients to create a dialogue with us, we'd like to show some examples of different styles of work done at Cthulhu. That way, when you choose us for your ink, you can explain your vision and help grease the wheels of artistic collaboration.


The traditional style of tattoo is something you're probably very familiar with. It's the anchor your granddad had on his arm, a swallow on a collarbone, or the rose with a "Mom" ribbon. It is timeless and will never go out of style.


The neo-traditional style puts a spin on the images of yesteryear, updating them with modern looks but retaining a classical vibe.


Realism is just what it sounds like. A realistic depiction of something, like a photograph. Often clients will come to us with family photos, loved ones, or in this case, Freddy Crougar.

Black and Gray

As a style, black and gray can mean almost anything, but it means a tattoo using only black and gray ink. Black and Gray can be done as realism or more stylized, but is used when the artist needs the extra contrast of lighter ink.


Blackwork refers to a tattoo that uses only black ink. Any shading blends directly into the skin. 


Linework refers to a tattoo with no (or almost no) shading, relying on the artist's steady hand and pure drawing skills. Linework tattoos are typically more delicate, and can usually be filled in later with color.


Watercolor is a fairly recent trend among tattoo artists. It involves little to no linework or outline around the shapes, relying instead on bright washes of colors that interact with one another to create an illusion of painted skin.


Lettering or text tattoos are an artform of their own. Usually done as linework, they require a steady hand and good spelling. It represents the range of styles from flowing script to gothic block lettering.

Illustration / Aesthetic

These are harder categories to pin down -- aesthetic can mean almost anything -- but is typically characterized by strong linework and color shading.

Anime & Cartoon

Lots of people love to rep their favorite cartoon and anime characters. This colorful style is a variation on the illustration or aesthetic style.


This is just small sampling of what the talented artists at Cthulhu Tattoo are capable of. There's a reason we're considered the chillest, best tattoo shop in St. Petersburg. Please book a consultation today, or browse our artists' porfolios to see even more amazing work!