Last Updated on June 1, 2020
Traditional American tattoos began its journey to popularity as a way for sailors to remember the places they have been. Their marking were often linked to the lands they saw, as well as the different cultures they were exposed to during their stay.
As America has been pitted into major wars, soldiers made tattooing a part of their tradition. They were either used to draw symbols of protection, a reminder of their loved ones whom they will leave behind or, a way to be identified should their lives be lost in war.
Insignia and other images that were associated in military fashion became symbols of identity that echoed a unit’s brotherhood-in-arms. While modern culture has taken some of these symbols as a kind of pastime, those who first used tattooing wanted to see those reminders etched on their skin.
Traditional American tattoos are easily described by the use of bold lines and heavy colors. The first forms used a lot of blank ink, but more colors were soon being added to the traditional tattoo palette. Being direct in its message has been a plus in traditional tattoos: one does not need to think too deeply to get what the markings on another person’s body say.
Many of the symbols commonly related to traditional American tattoos were eagles, bulls, and other animals or symbols Native Americans held with respect. More symbols were added as artists were exposed to what other people wanted marked in them.
Pinup girls that reminded soldiers of a military unit, the images of Jesus, and other religious icons that were used as good luck charms or symbols as well as, animals not native to the Americas that stood as remembrances of other countries the tattoo wearer may have gone to. Strong lines combined with relatable images delivered a message that can be seen even on darker-skinned people.
If big and bold is what you’re after, then look no further than to these traditional American tattoos.