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  • Writer's pictureScott Glazier


Another bright and sunny day in Los Angeles with more warm weather ahead of us. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Today’s topic is about the history and styles of realism tattoos. A realism tattoo looks so realistic that it could look just like a photo. It’s full of intricate details and lots of shading with no solid lines to achieve the look. Realism tattoos most popularly depict portraits and animals, but really you could apply this style to any subject matter.

Realism tattoos really began to take off in the West in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This tattoo style has a lot of its origins in Japan. In the early 1800s, Japanese tattoo artists began to experiment with Western styles of tattooing. They incorporated elements such as shading and perspective to create incredibly lifelike images. These Japanese tattoo artists were then approached by Western sailors who were looking for similar tattoos. The first recorded instance of a realism tattoo in the West is from 1846, when British sailor Johnnie Coy was tattooed by Japanese artist Hori Chiyo while in Yokohama. Coy's tattoo, which depicted an eagle clutching a snake in its talons, was so realistic that it garnered attention from other sailors and soon became a popular design.

There are several different styles of realism tattoos which include…

Photo-realism: This style can be black and grey or full of color. It requires a lot of detail and through the shading, and 3D effects you will be left with a tattoo that perfectly captures your subject matter.

Hyper-realism: The details are so extensive in this style that the tattoo will look so realistic like the subject is actually there on your skin.

Morphed-realism: This style takes lifelike images and merges them together to make up one design. While they are realistic in their visual effect, the design itself is abstract.

Portraiture: This style is about creating a photo-realistic tattoo of a person. The level of detail should be so exact that there is no denying who the person in the tattoo is.

Black and Grey Realism: This style uses fully saturated black ink and graduation of grey tones to bring the tattoo to life. This is one of the most popular sub-genre of realism tattoos.

Color Realism: This tattoo style has become more popular in recent years. They are full of varying shades of color and depth with minimal use of black. These tattoos often have that 3D effect and are popular for design of animals, flowers, and portraits.

Today, realism tattoos are more popular than ever. There is so much incredible skill that today these tattoos can really look life-like. If you're considering getting a realism tattoo, be sure to do your research and find an experienced artist who can create the design you're looking for.

Until next time my fellow apes,

Peter Hernandez


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