The style of New School made its earliest appearances on the West coast in the late 1970s and early 1980s—with California tattooers experimenting with designs that incorporated celebrities, cartoon characters, and science fiction favorites. One of the earliest pioneers of the style is Marcus Pacheco of the San Francisco Bay Area, who helped to solidify the style centered in bold outlines, vivid color palettes, and exaggerated subject matter.
The style came into its own during the 1990s and soon became one of the biggest tattoo trends of the decade. Today, the style has evolved to include many subgenres and it continues to be a staple of tattooing throughout the Western world.
Some of the most prominent new school artists include Joe Capobianco, best known for revolutionizing pin-ups within the style, as well as Jime Litwalker, Jesse Smith and Cleen Rock One.
While these industry icons are still relevant in the new school world, a host of tattooers are continuing to push the boundaries for the cartoonish style and have become the next household names. One of these artists is Kelly Doty, who you may recognize from season 7 of Ink Master and continuously produces imagery that pushes the bounds of our furthest imaginations. Another artist who has gained a reputation in the new school world is Josh Peacock, whose designs are a hybrid of a 90s flash page and a dentists' fantasies. Then there's Steven Compton, who has not only gained a following for his psychedelic cartoons but has spent the last year fighting a battle with cancer.
Take a look at just a small handful of the incredibly talented new school tattooers killing the game in 2018 in the gallery below, and don't be afraid to share your favorite artist from our list in the comments section on Facebook. We want to know which talented tattooer is on your bucket list!