Want to know more tattooing terms? We’ve got you covered with our three-part glossary on words you should know when it comes to the world of tattoos.

In the second part of our tattooing definitions, we go from G to S!


Geometric is a tattoo design that consists of geometric shapes and lines. They tend to be minimalistic and simple, sometimes with colour and sometimes not.


One of the most positive words you will hear during your tattoo process is ‘healed’. This means your tattoo has settled and less prone to infection. The redness and swelling should have decreased and the tattoo should now be looking awesome!


Another tattoo design you may consider is illustrative, which is a hugely popular style. Illustrative tattoos look just like drawings on paper, so can be as creative and as imaginative as possible.


Keloids (a.k.a. keloid scars) are scars that are enlarged, lumpy and raised. They form around a wound and are much larger than the original scar. As tattoos are wounds, those who are prone to keloid scars should avoid getting body modifications as they are likely to develop around the inked area.

Light Box

A light box is a tool used by tattooists to help them with stencils for designs. It allows artists to trace a custom tattoo design for a client and make it the perfect size for the body part they want it on.

New School

The new school tattoo style is categorised by heavy outlines, vivid and bold colours and an absurd element added to the design that dramatises it and makes it different to the usual style of tattooing.


Many tattoo artists will have portfolios of their work. Often tattoo parlours will have a catalogue of designs you can browse through in the waiting room. You can view portfolios through artists’ social media pages to get an idea of their style and what kind of tattoos they enjoy doing.

Rotary Tattoo Machine

Rotary tattoo machines are a quieter alternative to the coil tattoo machines. They pierce the skin more evenly and are a smoother machine to use when tattooing. They are powered by electric motors.


Scarification is a style where artists have to scar the skin with cutting tools, which leaves a permanent design. Artists who specialise in the scarification style sometimes use tattoo ink to accentuate the design.


A sleeve is a popular tattoo design which starts at the wrist and goes all the way up to the shoulder, like the sleeve of a t-shirt. They are made up of all sorts of different tattoos, which can share a consistent theme or be completely different styles.


Stencils are guidelines for tattooists when inking. They start on paper and then are transferred onto the skin, so the artist can trace the design, line for line.

Stick and Poke

Stick and poke is a tattooing method that requires no machines, just a needle and some tattoo ink. It’s a traditional way of tattooing where the needle is poked into the skin to create a design.

Written by Wayne Grant