The Best Tattoo Trends of 2017… and a Few of the Worst | Painful Pleasures Community

The Best Tattoo Trends of 2017… and a Few of the Worst

2017 has been a year of pushing boundaries in old styles and creating new ones. Look back at some of our favorite tattoo trends of 2017.

by memphis Last Updated: May 16, 2021

tattoo trends, best tattoos, 2017 tattoos

2017 has been a year of pushing boundaries in old styles and creating new ones. Tattoo trends have been much more obvious in recent years, but 2017 has been one of creativity and thankfully, with a lack of cliché tattoos. Listed below with examples are our favorite trends, followed by some of the worst trends we've seen this year.

Top 10 Tattoo Trends

10. Gem Tattoos

The gem trend has made quite an impact in the latter part of 2017. 3D tattooing has been gaining traction in recent years, but the 3D quality and apparent translucency is the reason these tattoos have become as in demand as they are. This translucency is achieved by mixing the color ink with just the right amount of white ink, creating a shimmering illusion. This tattoo done by "The Scientist" Ryan Smith features a beautiful composition of lace and stone, making this a perfect mix of feminine, bad-ass, and sexy.

gem tattoo, the scientist tattoo, ryan smith tattoo

9. Black Out Sleeves

Black out sleeves have long been used by industry professionals with bad tattoos to completely eradicate their old work. This technique has been adapted into a style, rather than a last resort. Artists, like Gareth Bannister based in Liverpool, use negative space and white ink to create amazing black sleeves.

black out sleeve tattoo, gareth bannister tattoo, blackwork tattoo

8. Pointillism

Pointillism, also called dot work, is one trend we don't foresee going anywhere — it's a perfect harmony of an intricate design and a bold statement. These tattoos take a much longer time to create than a more basic tattoo style, but the results speak for themselves and clients don't seem to mind paying for the extra hours to create such complex designs. Check out this pointillism heart tattoo done by Poland-based tattoo artist, Kamil Czapiga.

pointillism tattoo, dot work tattoo, kami czapiga tattoo

7. Illustrative

Tattoo artists spend years perfecting straight, even lines and learning how to create crisp, clean images. Once they get the basic rules down, artists start breaking these rules and pushing the boundaries of what tattooing is. The illustrative style is incredibly popular with both newbies and hardcore collectors alike, appealing to all spectrums of tattoo clients. Grim City Tattoo Club's own Saro Eterno did the illustrative tattoo featured here.

illustrative tattoo, illustration tattoo, saro eterno tattoo

6. Pornographic

The porn tattoo trend is an unexpected twist of taboo, which in our opinion, takes tattooing back to its original "scandalous" roots. This trend will continue to gain popularity with clients who enjoy causing a bit of controversy. Check out Sad Amish Tattooer from The Church Workshop in Bordeaux, France for more risqué pornographic tattoos.

pornographic tattoo, provocative tattoo, sad amish tattooer

5. Realistic Lions & Tigers

Since portrait and hyper-realism styles emerged in the latter parts of the 2000s, the realism tattoo trend has been growing year after year. This year especially has been a year of lions and tigers (…and bears — oh my!). Like this tiger tattoo done by Vicente in Hamburg, Germany, artists usually depict these subjects in aggressive poses, channeling strength and confidence.

realism tattoo, realistic tiger tattoo, vicente tattoo

4. Line Work

Line work used to be a frame for colour or black and grey shading, but it has become a style of its own. Intricate line designs have been popping up at tattoo shops all over, and clients love the simplistic, clean look that these sharp lines create. Here is the work of Milan-based artist Mirko Sata, who focuses on serpentine tattoos.

line work tattoo, serpentine tattoo, mirko sata tattoo

3. Mandalas

Since line work has become a style of its own, it has created a sub-style of mandala tattoos. Appealing to all types of tattoo clients, mandala tattoos are sexy, mysterious, and they fit the human body in such a perfect way. This mandala tattoo was done by Sheldon Davidson from Grim City Tattoo Club.

mandala tattoo, sacred geometry tattoo, pointillism tattoo, sheldon davidson tattoo

2. Geometric Tattoos

Geometric tattoos are another sub-style of line work, often mixing elements of black work, illustration, pointillism, and natural elements. We love this trend as there's something really cool about using straight lines and forming them onto the human body. This piece, done by artist Marc Bonin, mixes geometric elements with sketch-style illustration for a more avant-garde approach to geometric tattoos.

geometric tattoo, sketch tattoo, marc bonin tattoo

1. Style Mash-Ups

The biggest trend in 2017 has to be taking bits and pieces of more formal tattoo styles and throwing them together into a unique design. It's a great solution for collectors wanting to incorporate old tattoos with new, and for those who want multiple styles on their body. It's also a rad way of mixing more traditionally opposed styles, like colour with black and grey or realism with traditional. This mash-up style tattoo was done by Chris Rigoni from Australia.

heart tattoo, style mash up tattoo, chris rigoni tattoo

And the Worst Trends of 2017?

Let's clear one thing up: the tattoos listed and pictured below are actually very well-done (and done by professional artists). This list isn't on poorly executed tattoos, but on the overall ideas behind them that most artsts aren't a fan of; we've also included reasons why artists tend to dislike these trends.

Intentionally Bad Tattoos

An intentionally bad tattoo isn't bad in itself — the reason this trend sucks (and is worrisome) is because people see good artists doing "bad" tattoos and think that they can do bad tattoos, which in turn creates actually bad tattoos in unsafe conditions. This example is a client design tattooed by artist Elysse Marcus.

elysse marcus tattoo, ignorant tattoo

Micro Tattoos

Tiny tattoos heal like crap due to their size, and the overall nature of all tattoos — there is a reason old tattoos look blown and faded even when they are solid and black. Based on your skin and how it ages, small tattoos are more likely to fall out or fade completely. There are many artists who dislike doing them, because they know their work will not heal correctly. The tattoo shown here was done by Playground Tattoo in Seoul, Korea.

micro tattoos, tiny tattoos, airplane tattoo, playground tattoo seoul

Palm Tattoos

The skin on your hands sheds off more than almost anywhere else on your body, due to the high level of wear your hands go through. Washing your hands, writing, eating, sweating… all of these create constant change for the skin on your palms, which in turn will cause the tattoo to fall out almost entirely. These palm tattoos were done by artist Baben Veda.

palm tattoos, blackwork tattoos, baben veda tattoo

Memphis Cadeau

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of PainfulPleasures.

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