American tattoos Melbourne

The bold, brightly coloured, and almost-cartoon like tattoos of animals knives through skulls and birds flying over ships are an extremely popular tattoo style.

The history of American tattoos

The history of traditional American tattoos play a big part in their modern day popularity.

The easily recognisable American style artwork was born in a tattoo parlour in Pearl Harbour, during WWII.

Sailor Jerry made a living tattooing American soldiers who would normally never have walked into a tattoo shop.

Men, and society as a whole, were changed by the shadow of war, and it was this change in mindset that led men to do something that was deemed “disrespectable” at the time.

The popularity of Sailor Jerry’s iconic artwork was pivotal in the growth of the tattoo industry, and still remains strong all these decades later.

With the help of Sailor Jerry and his innovative tattoo style, a mix of the traditional Japanese tattoo and Sailor Jerry’s own American flair – that’s exactly what the tattoo industry did.

Jerry didn’t just pioneer a new style of tattoo, he was instrumental in creating new tattooing machines, more effective sterilisation and the invention of purple tattoo ink.

Stories like Sailor Jerry’s paved the way for our own Essendon tattoo parlour to prosper in the modern day.

The bold technique pioneered by Jerry is still extremely popular at tattoo parlours across the world.

Popular traditional American tattoos

Hearts and swords

The image of a bright heart pierced with a knife is a traditional American tattoo visual that can be uniquely designed to suit your specific taste. Other alternatives include a dagger through a red rose.

The image is the perfect contrast of love and hate, and light and dark, and is well-loved by tattoo artists and aficionados alike.

Ships and nautical symbols

If you’re a big fan of the traditional American tattoo, you may want to follow the lead of others by paying homage to Sailor Jerry.

A tattoo of a ship is the typical way that tattoo lovers pay their respects to a man who gave the tattoo world so much. Complementary symbols include anchors, nautical stars, cannons, compases, and swallows.


Skulls can be the stereotypical tattoos of darkness or they can feature brightly coloured flowers throughout and around the skull, much like the Mexican sugar skull.

A skull with a rose depicts life and death, or the contrast between good and evil.

Fantasy characters

If you want a tattoo of a dragon, elf, goblin or fairy, fantasy characters look incredible in the traditional American style.

If you have a specific or unique fantasy creature in mind, our talented artists can custom-design your traditional American tattoo.

Body parts

Many people decide to ink themselves with a vivid, bright floating body part. A solitary eyeball or cracked tooth floating through a sea of other tattoos?

These quirky, eye-catching tattoos are synonymous with this unique style.


Animal tattoos have a long history and are used to convey a variety of messages.

From an American eagle that represents power and beauty to a fox symbolising wisdom, an American-style animal tattoo is as bold as it is beautiful.