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Tattoo in the style of old school (old school) + photo and meaning of tattoos

In tattoo culture, the old school style appeared more than 100 years ago, but at the same time it does not lose its position. On the contrary, every year the style improves and becomes more popular. This type of tattoo was used by sailors, but now it is in demand among modern girls and men all over the planet.

History of appearance

The history of the style begins in the 20s of the 19th century, then many sailors did old school tattoos. These were bright tattoos that carried a certain meaning. The sailors were very suspicious, they constantly needed amulets and protection, but their profession did not always allow them to wear pendants, rings, etc. That is why men got tattoos to symbolize something.

The most popular tattoos were anchors, roses, swallows and heart. Due to the fact that sailors were not often at home, they used portraits of their wives for tattoos, enriching them with flowers and other symbols.

hourglass with flowers


The style is characterized by thick black outlines as well as simple colors. The color scheme includes black, red, green and blue shades. As for the drawings, they are laconic and do not contain unnecessary details.

Undoubtedly, the old school at the moment differs from the first works that were made several years ago, but the style retained the main features. The style is characterized by volumetric drawings and marine themes.

In addition to drawings, inscriptions can be used. Most often they are associated with the names of loved ones. Sailors used them so that a part of their family was always there.

It is known that masters love to fill voluminous tattoos, playing with flowers and adding new elements, but not in this style. Often old school tattoos are not voluminous and look flat.

Akira Latanzio is considered one of the best masters in the style of old school. Here are some of his works:

many small images
a girl in latex under the navel
skull with pistons on the forehead

Popular figures and their meanings

V in the modern world, many do not attach importance to tattoos, they serve as a kind of decoration on the human body. But each of the drawings carries a certain meaning. We suggest you consider the most common tattoos and find out their designations.


For sailors their ship was a second home, and their crew was a family. Therefore, on their body, one could see ships, denoting hope, freedom and movement forward.

Nowadays, not only those people are stuffing the ship into the old school who are associated with the sea, but also those who honor traditions and history. For all the time, the drawing has absorbed the experience of generations.

The owner of such a drawing says that he is ready for any circumstances that life will give them and trusts the world.

ship on the neck


The meaning of the swallow often testified to motherhood. It was this symbol that was the sign of the ancient Greek goddess, who was the patroness of all young mothers. But what does this mean to sailors?

In addition to motherhood, Isis ruled the wind and the sky, which is why the sailors used this drawing. For some, this tattoo indicated a desire to return home. For others, it was a symbol of love.

Therefore, if you decide to get a tattoo with a swallow pattern, you can choose the value that suits you best.

swallows on the chest


For sailors, skull was a symbol of overcoming difficult situations. For shipbuilders engaged in piracy, the drawing spoke of mercilessness and fearlessness.

Nowadays, such drawings can be seen on the bodies of male rockers or musicians. For them, the skull is a kind of amulet. With the help of a drawing, they want to show that they are not afraid of difficulties and are ready to fight them.

skull on the girl's leg


A dagger or knife indicates that a person is ready to fight to the last and preserve his honor. The symbol is metaphorical, since it speaks of the struggle not with enemies, but with the difficulties in life encountered on the human path.

 dagger through the heart


The sea anchor was stuffed by those shipmen who first of all sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. It means protection from difficulties in life and the witchcraft forces encountered in the life of sailors.

Now the meaning of the anchor tattoo has not changed, the masters only allow to embellish the drawings and add an additional ornament to them.

anchor on the leg


This figure has many meanings. The symbol may indicate the presence of a loved one, fortitude, honor or nobility. The heart is stuffed on any part of the body and is depicted not alone, but with the addition of other attributes. The drawing can be supplemented with swords, crosses, shields or birds, which indicate freedom.

heart on the chest

Popular tattoo sites

As you know, tattoos can be applied to any part of the body you want. But earlier there were certain parts of the body on which old school tattoos were stuffed.


The forearm is one of the less painful areas for a tattoo, so you can often find drawings on this particular part of the body. In men, tattoos, as a rule, take up all the space on the arm, leaving no free space.

For girls, the forearm is a place for applying inscriptions and names that motivate them and remind them of the presence close people.

on the forearm picture


The shoulder is a part of the body on which the drawing is a whole composition, since it is possible to extend it further. Therefore, the symbol on the shoulder can be updated over and over again and new colors added to it.

a girl is drawn on the shoulder


Most often men allow themselves to get tattoos on their chest, girls decorate their bust much less often. When choosing a tattoo on the chest, you need to take into account the fact that it may look vulgar.

full chest beacon


The back is exactly that part of the body on which a huge pattern can be placed. But it should be borne in mind that getting a tattoo on the back is not easy, since the spine is the most painful place on the human body.

 musical tattoo


Girls get tattoos on their thighs, as they can give sexuality and attract male attention. Moreover, with the right choice of pattern, ladies can visually reduce their volumes.

a boat on the thigh


Men’s tattoos often symbolize masculinity, strength and the ability to withstand all life’s problems.

That is why in the list of drawings you can find anchors, images of birds, ships and lighthouses.

guys toys
male sketches
sharp razor and flower

Female sketches

Unlike male symbols, female tattoos have a different meaning. They are addressed to the girl’s personal qualities. Initially, old school tattoos were stuffed by girls who were in the port area. By this symbol, the sailors could identify a lady who is ready to take a sip on them and give them affection.

Now the weaker sex can easily get an old school tattoo on his body, since the original meaning faded into the background.

drawing under the skirt
family symbol
beautiful hammered legs


In this video I propose to see how a tattoo artist fills a client with a swallow in the style of old school:

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