Did you know: there over 3,000 tattoo parlours in the UK and over 21,000 in the US? With several artists working at each, that’s a whole lot of choice - and oh the pure possibilities when you have a fresh canvas. 

Taking your time to find the best tattoo artists that suit your style, wants and budget is extremely worthwhile. Here are our top tips for scouting out your permanent sticker stabber - and with any luck you won’t be running to the laser removal service in years to come.
Tattoos are art, and therefore they are subjective. What might be your dream design, won’t be the marker everyone is after. It’s really important to find an artist who specialises in the style and techniques that you admire, so taking the time to look into these areas is a good place to start.
Do you want:
  • Traditional
  • Geometric
  • Realism
  • Blackwork
  • Dotwork
  • Tribal
Are you look for heavy or light line work? Are you interested in colour or black and white? Do you want a stick and poke artist or someone who works with a tattoo gun? 
There is an abundance of styles and techniques that artists can specialise in, so make sure the artists you are searching for match your tastes. Have a really good venture into what is available before signing your skin away.
A good place to check out a load of artists and their work is to go to a convention or show. There are tattoo shows all over the world, welcoming a range of talent. For example, The Great British Tattoo Show hosts over 300 tattoo artists. 
Check out World Tattoo Events to find tattoo conventions in every corner of the globe. 
If you’d prefer to peruse from the comfort of your own home, there is also a wide range of reputable tattoo magazines to delve into such as Inked, Skin Deep and Tattoo Life.
When looking online for an artist, visual platforms such as Instagram are a good indicator of an artist’s style, community and reputation. With a simple search you can find tattoo niches, browse examples of work and inspect follower counts. Some tattoo artists even recommend other artists with different styles. The tattoo artist Skully is a great example of this, shining a spotlight on other artists every Sunday through his Instagram stories.
You can also check out credible lists from brands such as BuzzFeed and Cosmopolitan. They’ll want to keep their shining reputations, so are likely to have put in the groundwork to find the best artists available.
Once you have your style down and have found a few artists that you think you can trust with your spare skin, make sure you check (and double check) their reputation and credibility. Check their social profiles, websites and scour the internet for reviews. Ask for their training background, certification and licensing and look into the studio they use - is it fully licensed? You could even reach out to a few people who have been tattooed by them for their recommendations or reservations.
The best artists will usually have a waiting list, so if you have to book in advance, this is another really good sign. An artist that is booked up with a lot of business is probably more experienced and sought-after than an artist readily available for walk-ins.
The best tattoo artist for you, may not be the best for someone else. It all comes down to personal preference, style and vision. But one thing we can all agree on is that we want impressively long-lasting stunning designs without compromise. If anything feels a little shady, evasive or incomplete, think before getting inked.
Happy Tattooing!
September 15, 2020 — Sarah Rachel