Sailor Jerry is a name that evokes images of bold and traditional tattoos, often featuring pin-up girls, nautical themes, and iconic American symbols. The man behind the brand, Norman Collins, was a legendary tattoo artist who helped popularize the art form in the United States during the early 20th century. His signature style has inspired countless tattoo enthusiasts worldwide.
We’re taking a closer look at 25 Sailor Jerry tattoos that showcase his unique and iconic designs. From classic anchors to fierce panthers, these tattoos are a testament to Collins’ enduring legacy as a pioneer in the tattoo world. For those who want to celebrate the history of tattooing and Americana design, you could do no better than to get a tattoo inspired by one of Sailor Jerry’s flash designs.
Nom Nom Nom
Let’s kick things of with a Sailor Jerry style tattoo that is so much fun! This frog going after a fly is so playful. Hallmarks of traditional tattooing include bold, thick lines, simple shapes, and a limited color palette. All are on display in this example.
One of the most iconic Sailor Jerry tattoos is of a Hula dancer. It’s so beloved that you will find it on the bottles of Sailor Jerry-branded rum. Cheers!
Sailor Jerry butterflies are extremely popular today and you will find them decorating bodies in an array of colors. This example is more traditional but you can spice things up with your favorite tones.
In this Sailor Jerry inspired tattoo we find a pair of hands shaking. What a beautiful symbol of friendship and compromise! This is also a very popular design.
Pin up girls are also trademarks of Sailor Jerry’s style. Cowgirls, sailors, fortune tellers, and more are all game. If a pin up intrigues you, work with an artist who can turn any character into a Sailor Jerry-like one.
Panthers and tigers are also popular among Sailor Jerry tattoos. In tattoo parlance, tattoos on the hands and face are called “jobstoppers.” We think this handsome pair would get a pass.
Traditional daggers are beloved. One piercing a heart like this example is quintessential Sailor Jerry. Names or a message are great to include in the banners that seem to drape over the knife.
This wolf looks very traditional but the heart is a more contemporary take. Neo traditional tattoos mix old and new to take designs to stellar heights.
To the Grave
Nautical imagery is featured heavily in Sailor Jerry’s tattoos. After all, he got his start tattooing other sailors and servicemen. This is one of the most popular tattoos from his iconic flash. What’s flash? An artist’s flash is her portfolio of sorts. These pre-designed tattoos are original pieces by the artist that enthusiasts can choose from!
Qeue the “dun-uh’s.” We’ve got a shark here that is so animated. A gentle red background offers dimension to this simple yet affective design.
Anchors are some of the most requested tattoos of all time. Simplicity is bliss in this Sailor Jerry classic. These look fantastic with or without the banner, but we encourage you to get something equally evocative as “Sink or Swim.”
Here’s another example of a Sailor Jerry pin up. We find a character outfitted in a sailor’s uniform. How darling!
We absolutely love the graphic quality of traditional rose tattoos. In our book, you could do no better with a floral design.
Here’s a very interesting take that embodies the Sailor Jerry aesthetic while being completely fresh and new. We don’t know why this person decided to get a burning home, let’s hope they are not an arsonist!
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Here’s one of Sailor Jerry’s designs that has been decorating bodies for decades. It is especially popular among servicemen and women. It’s easy to understand why! This beauty is the personification of the USA.
Swallows are another highly favored Sailor Jerry classic. They are used often as “filler” which are small tattoos that can be placed between larger designs on sleeves. You will also find these dramatically placed over the collarbones on many folks.
Here’s a sweet tattoo that’s based on a Sailor Jerry design. It’s been commissioned in honor of this person’s dad. Don’t you love the heart shapes in the feathers?
As you might imagine, ships are some of Sailor Jerry’s finest works. This is a clipper ship with a burning sun behind it. For lovers of time spent at sea, you could do no better.
That Good Fight
“Fight till death,” this Sailor Jerry dagger tattoo says. This design is a great reminder to endure and keep pursuing your dreams.
This time-tested snake design is made fresh by the addition of fire coming from its mouth. Does that make it a dragon?
How cute are these little cherries? If you’re looking for something dainty and sweet, you can scale these down or go with a similar size.
We’ve got a striking eagle design in this example. Notice how blue highlight in the feathers really pops against that red circle? Contrast is the name of the game when it comes to Sailor Jerry tattoos and color. You want a little to go a long way.
Lady face tattoos are traditional designs that can be worked into just about any type of character your heart fancies. Isn’t she gorgeous?
The Lucky One
“Good luck,” a banner reads in this design that features a horseshoe, an eagle, and some flowers for good measure. If you’re after a tattoo that doubles as a good luck charm, this Sailor Jerry tattoo is the one for you.
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Couple of Cuties
Once you get one tattoo, it’s hard to stop. We say the more the merrier, especially with these traditional designs. Sailor Jerry would be proud!
Sailor Jerry tattoos continue to be a popular choice among tattoo enthusiasts looking for traditional designs with a bold and distinctive style. These 25 tattoos showcase the enduring legacy of Norman Collins and the impact he had on the tattoo world. Whether you’re a fan of pin-up girls, nautical themes, or classic American symbols, there’s a Sailor Jerry tattoo out there that’s perfect for you. So go ahead and get inspired by these timeless designs, and who knows? Maybe you’ll end up getting a Sailor Jerry tattoo of your own.
For even more ink inspiration, keep reading. We’ve got dozens of tattoo ideas to share with you.
Learn More About Neo-Traditional Tattoos By Looking at the Examples Below.
We find many elements from traditional tattooing harnessed here along with radical color that’s been blended in a more contemporary style. Also notable is the use of black ink to create dimension and texture in the background of the design.
Rose and Snake
What a showstopper! We find a snake wrapped around a glorious rose in this energetic design. Notice how there is a black outline around every shape in this design? That’s a hallmark of traditional and neo-traditional tattoos.
Mushrooms From a Shell
Here’s an interesting design that finds some handsome mushroom springing from a shell. There is so much texture produced from hatching and movement lines.
Sacred heart tattoos are and have been extremely popular for decades. We find a new interpretation in this design that has a pleasing ombré that brings so much color and life to the design.
Horseshoe tattoos have been popular for a very long time as well. We find an update to the old design with the inclusion of the “sparkle” or “confetti” effect which is simply a bunch of dots used to fill various shapes.
Mum’s the Word
Chrysanthemum designs are well-represented among neo-traditional tattoos today. A cotton candy pink meets baby blue in the petals of this stunner.
Blue Flame, Black Bird
Take a look at this black bird’s plumage and you will see tons of little lines added to give the feathers texture. Despite all of it, the tattoo still reads as flat and 2D which makes the blue element really pop.
The black nails on the hand holding these flowers contrast beautifully with the orange rose in the foreground. Roses have been tattooed like this for decades.
Isn’t this lantern tattoo magical? Note the way the color intensity seems to radiate from the flame in the center and fades the further the tattoo moves away from it. It produces a very interesting effect.
Cute characters from nature are a big part of both traditional and neo-traditional tattoos. We find a sweet raccoon holding onto a pinecone here. Notice how green has been applied to the raccoon to make the golden-orange of the pinecone stand out? That’s money.
Eye Heart U
A heart with an eye in it is a classic symbol that’s been tattooed thousands of times. We find it improved here with a heart that’s full of spikes and has dramatic, black shading.
Lady faces are very popular among neo-traditional tattoos. We find a rather sinister one in the above example with a fresh-looking thorn or flame element.
Death’s-head hawkmoths are another popular design these days. When researching tattoos, we encounter tons of these done in a variety of styles. We must say it translates well for neo-traditional tattoos.
We find a rather poetic neo-traditional tattoo here that finds a broken arrow wrapped in a ribbon and some beads. What an attractive entry.
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As we mentioned, lady faces are wildly popular and they have been for a very long time. What’s new in the above design is the shading on the face and its freckles. It’s very close to what you would find among traditional tattoos from decades ago.
Here’s a rather intense-looking rooster in this design which has used some incredibly warm colors that contrast well with the black elements of the design.
How daring is this little bird on a planchette? Botanical elements are popular additions to any design that sweeten the deal.
This flamingo tattoo looks positively electric in neon color. Pink, orange, and olive green all play well together in this big tattoo.
Pretty as a Peach
Go ahead and get your favorite fruit inked on you! Fruits make excellent neo-traditional tattoo designs because they put focus on shape and texture.
A black candle looks mesmerizing with bits of the “wax” picking up some of the warm golden colors that surround it. It makes it look as if the flame is being reflected from it.
What do you think of this neo-traditional bat tattoo? It’s fantastic. We find many elements of traditional tattooing here with a. few surprises for a look that feels both vintage and contemporary.
A True Gent
A gentleman cat? Why not! We think this furry fellow looks rather dapper in his green getup. Despite the whimsical subject matter, this tattoo is very close to the traditional tattooing style.
A Dagger of Love
We find dynamic color throughout this design from the handle to the delicately shaded tip of the dagger. “love dagger” feels like an oxymoron but it totally works for this design.
Neo-traditional tattooing is best when it harkens back to classic flash. An hourglass is a popular thing to get tattooed and it’s taken to brand new heights in this design that offers so much visual interest and plenty of imagination.
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We told you fruit is popular among neo-traditional tattoos. These blueberries are the perfect little celebration of the fruit.
Her Father’s Hand
This is a tribute tattoo for her father who was a carpenter. We find a very interesting perspective with a hand seeming to float in front of the tools of the trade. What a sweet, meaningful design.
A Splendid Mystery
In this deceptively simple design, we find all sorts of popular elements married together. A classic rose, a vase, and a sacred heart are all connected in this inspired design that’s been applied to perfection.
Do you have a better sense of the neo-traditional tattoo style? We hope we’ve given you a good idea of the hallmarks of this style and just how astonishing and cool these designs can be. In general, “traditional” is not something most of us are into but for tattoos, it brings the past to life in fresh, new ways. Happy tattooing!
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 0.1 Nom Nom Nom
- 0.2 Aloha!
- 0.3 Buttery
- 0.4 Palling Around
- 0.5 Yee-haw!
- 0.6 Meow
- 0.7 Classic Dagger
- 0.8 Love Bite
- 0.9 To the Grave
- 0.10 Jaws
- 0.11 Anchors Away
- 0.12 Pinned Up
- 0.13 In Bloom
- 0.14 Burning
- 0.15 Lady Liberty
- 0.16 Birdie
- 0.17 In Memeoriam
- 0.18 Clipper Shipper
- 0.19 That Good Fight
- 0.20 Fire Breather
- 0.21 Cherry Bomb
- 0.22 Free Bird
- 0.23 Lady Face
- 0.24 The Lucky One
- 0.25 Couple of Cuties
- 1 Learn More About Neo-Traditional Tattoos By Looking at the Examples Below.
- 1.1 Lucky Fish
- 1.2 Rose and Snake
- 1.3 Mushrooms From a Shell
- 1.4 Sacred Heart
- 1.5 Good Luck
- 1.6 Mum’s the Word
- 1.7 Blue Flame, Black Bird
- 1.8 A Bouquet
- 1.9 That’s Hot
- 1.10 Rad Raccoon
- 1.11 Eye Heart U
- 1.12 She-Devil
- 1.13 Death Moth
- 1.14 Broken Arrow
- 1.15 Cowgirl
- 1.16 The Clucker
- 1.17 Cute Chick
- 1.18 Flamingo-Go
- 1.19 Pretty as a Peach
- 1.20 Light Up
- 1.21 Beautifully Batty
- 1.22 A True Gent
- 1.23 A Dagger of Love
- 1.24 On-Time
- 1.25 Berry Special
- 1.26 Her Father’s Hand
- 1.27 A Splendid Mystery
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