Some say there is no difference between neo traditional tattoos and new school tattoos they are one in the same. I disagree. Strongly. Although the definitions of these two styles may be similar the actual tattoos/art are worlds appart.
An easy and maybe unfair way of explaining the major diferences in style is that neo traditional tattoos are traditional american tattoos executed with modern talent and techniques.
New School has no ties to traditional tattoos, they are cartoony, colorful, realisticaly shaded. A prime example of a new school tattoo is this reoccuring image of a tattoo machine (not gun...but thats another story) all distorted and twisted around with crazy iradic proportions usually sparking and spraying blood.
Examples of neo traditional would be split shaded, bold outlines, smaller color pallete, reds, yellows, black, ect. There are many reoccuring images in neo traditional tattoos; banners, skulls, all seeing eye, birds, roses, diamonds, ect.
Around the year 2002 new school tattoos were increasing in popularity with younger tattoo collectors. Up untill about 2008 when neo traditional steped out of the shadows and is now one of the industrys biggest and most popular styles like black and grey and Irezumi (traditional Japanese)
If you can't tell already My favorite style is neo traditional. My artist of choice is Dennis Duarte at Art For Life Tattoo in Keene NH.