The style of ‘Old School’ tattoos is a popular aesthetic in the tattooing scene and has become an iconic illustration style in other genres of art. The stylised handmade drawings feature thick black outlines and bold colours, often depicting roses, anchors and pin-up girls from the tradition of sailor tattooing. Follow along with today’s Photoshop tutorial to produce a digital illustration inspired by the style of old school tattoos. Unlike tattooing with ink, Photoshop layers to make it easy to draw with the advantage of being able to delete and try again! We’ll then bring the design to life with colour, and apply a stippled shading effect to create a modern interpretation of a traditional tattoo flash graphic.

How To Create Old School Style Tattoo Art in Photoshop

There are many symbols that are associated with traditional tattoos. Hearts and roses that are accompanied with a banner containing the name of a loved one is an iconic design often associated with sailors. The design I will be creating in this tutorial uses simplistic shapes, a limited colour palette and grainy shading that mimics the style of old tattoo flash graphics.

Open Adobe Photoshop and create a new document. I’m working with a canvas size of around 2000x2000px. Set up the Brush tool with an appropriately sized tip for the width of the linework (20px in my case), with the hardness value to 100%.

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  1. Thanks for sharing. It is a buzzword you will keep going to hear more as the year passes. It was awesome to read…Keep up the good work. Thanks..

    Halcyon Technologies

  2. This helped me a lot! thank you for your time, i’m following you from argentina!
    un abrazo genio!

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