Britain might be a small island, but as we found out, it’s packed full of very talented tattoo artists. On our mission to find the best of the best from this country, we found amazing artists specializing in realism, blackwork, fine line art and any other kind of tattoo imaginable.
This list of the best British tattoo artists includes 16 unique individuals who all have something to offer. They aren’t all the most Instagram-famous artists (although a few of them may have snuck onto our list) but they are all worth considering if you want to get a tattoo in Britain.
You can find the portfolio for each artist below. If you need further help deciding on a tattoo style, size, and placement, check out all our helpful guides here at Saved Tattoo!
Best Tattoo Artists in London
There are tattoo studios hidden away on streets across the capital. We managed to narrow down our list to the top two tattoo artists in London that we adore: Frank Carter and Jean Le Roux.
- Location: Rose of Mercy, London
- Portfolio: Mostly American traditional
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frankcarter23/
Frank Carter is known for his awesome tattoos and tattoo studio/café, Rose of Mercy, in London. But his career also includes impressive feats such as being the singer of hardcore punk band, The Gallows. He’s an extremely talented tattoo artist (and musician) and we are inspired by his American traditional style of art.
Frank has over 100k Instagram followers, is covered in epic body art, and can be booked to illustrate your body too. You can check his availability at Rose of Mercy – the studio recently re-opened after the COVID pandemic.
Jaguars, roses, and tigers in the American traditional style, first popularized by Sailor Jerry in the USA, are all featured heavily on his IG profile and professional portfolio. If Frank isn’t available, you’ll still be impressed by the expert tattooists also working at Rose of Mercy.
Jean Le Roux
- Location: Good Fortune Studio, London
- Portfolio: Mostly neo traditional
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jeanleroux/
Jean Le Roux is a South African tattooist living and working in London at the Good Fortune Studio. Like Frank, he is extremely passionate about tattoos. The Good Fortune Studio is a private studio that Jean opened with his wife. Jean focuses on creating timeless tattoos while Lianne offers natural microblading services for your eyebrows.
Jean Le Roux’s tattoo style offers a lot of classic neo traditional features, but his talents are versatile. Black and grey work, single needle, and human/animal portraits are all featured in his portfolio. He uses color sparingly and has a great eye for detail. Girl Heads, skulls and serpents, and other animals are all featured heavily in his artwork. The detail and artistry in all his work is amazing – you’ll want to get a large tattoo just so Jean can work his magic.
Best Tattoo Artists in Manchester
Manchester is another very popular area and a major city in the UK, so it’s no surprise that many people want to find the best tattoo artist in Manchester. We searched through hundreds but finally settled on Louis Molloy and Matthew Cooley.
- Location: Middleton Tattoo Studio, Manchester
- Portfolio: Mix of Japanese and black realism
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/loumolloy/
Louis Molloy has been eagerly tattooing in Manchester’s Middleton Tattoo Studio for over 25 years, during which he has inked hundreds of people including some celebrities. Middleton is considered one of the most modern studios in the UK and is award-winning too. It’s no surprise then that Louis Molloy is considered one of the best British tattoo artists!
Louis’ tattoo art style features a mix of Japanese classic features and blackwork, with impressive realism. You can expect to find incredibly detailed sleeves, either bursting with color or incredibly detailed in black, grey and white, in his portfolio. His artwork features a lot of realism (making the tattoo look so real, it could be mistaken for a photo) so if you’re looking for a very realistic portrait tattoo then Louis could be the British tattoo artist you need.
- Location: Rain City Tattoo Collective, Manchester
- Portfolio: Bold, contemporary cartoon style
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cooleytattooer/
Matt Cooley is a tattoo artist at the Rain City Tattoo Collective in Manchester. Unlike Molloy’s realism and incredibly detailed style, Cooley prefers bold, solid and contemporary designs. Both are equally impressive, and we’d love to get tattoos from either.
Matt’s portfolio of tattoos (or ‘electric lovebites’ as he so beautifully coins them) features block colors and solid black lines. There’s rarely any shading – it’s either a solid color, or nothing at all. It’s a unique and contemporary style that’s hugely popular right now. Black outline portraits, pop-art scenes, birds, and re-created famous quotes and designs are littered through his portfolio.
Impressively, Matt manages to pack in a lot of detail even when using solid colors. His bespoke style is epic and whether you just want a quote tatt or symbolic tatt, he’s sure to create something outstanding on your skin.
Best Tattoo Artists in the South West
The South West covers the tip of Britain, from the coasts of Cornwall all the way up to Swindon. The most popular cities in this region for tattoo artists are Exeter and Bristol – where you can find our two favorite British tattoo artists in the South West.
- Location: No Regrets Studio, Exeter
- Portfolio: Color realism and surrealism
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bzzyk_tattoo/
Bzzyk might not have the hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers that other tattoo artists have, but he does have an abundance of talent. He specializes in color realism and surrealist tattoos that are always intriguing to look at. We love his use of color, especially in his color realism tattoos. If you had a photo that you wanted inked on your skin, Bzzyk would be the perfect British tattoo artist to choose.
If you want something a little more creative, however, just take a look at some of the abstract and surreal tattoos in his portfolio. They’re staggeringly good. He has had 23 years to practice since getting his first tattoo machine!
Bzzyk can be found at the Exeter branch of No Regrets Studio, where there’s a team of talented tattooists who can bring your tattoo dreams to life.
Eloise Ruby Wharton
- Location: Purple Rose Tattoo, Bristol
- Portfolio: Fine line, blackwork and contemporary
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elrubytattoo/
El Ruby tattoos are gorgeous. We love them! Eloise Ruby Wharton is an upcoming, fresh tattoo artist currently working at the Purple Rose Tattoo studio in Bristol. We love her style and she just had to be on our list of the freshest British tattoo artists.
Her style is contemporary – cartoonish at times and realistic at others. There’s a great mix of fine line tatts, modern designs, and some blackwork splattered across her portfolio. Tarot cards, lizards, butterflies and floral motifs are mixed with solid shapes and block colors. We particularly adore her stylized portraits you can see on her Instagram feed.
Eloise works with many award-winning artists at the Purple Rose Tattoo studio, so if you want to browse other tattoo styles and meet other artists, it’s a great place to go. The studio does piercings and tattoo removal as well.
Best Tattoo Artists in Essex
Essex has a bit of a reputation thanks to one very popular TV show. Fortunately, it’s not very accurate and most of Essex is a lovely place full of amazing, diverse and talented people. It’s in this close-to-London-county that you’ll find Jason Butcher and Leigh Oldcorn.
- Location: Immortal Ink Studio, Chelmsford
- Portfolio: Death romantic style
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jasonbutcher/
Jason Butcher, founder of the Immortal Ink tattoo studio in Chelmsford, is an exceptionally talented individual and easily made our list of the best British tattoo artists. Jason has an incredible style which he calls “death romantic” and you can see why in his portfolio. Many of his best and largest artworks feature a symbol of death invigorated with youthful life. It’s a paradox that turns a simple tattoo into a true work of art.
You can also find hyper realism style in his portfolio as well as some abstract compositions. His portraits are particularly impressive, but what really takes our breath away is the unbelievable depth and artistry in the full-back portraits and skull tattoos. The sheer scale and detail are incredible. You really have to see it to believe it.
Many may try to imitate Jason’s tattoo style, but none can match it.
- Location: Cosmic Tattoo, Colchester
- Portfolio: Realism and portraits
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leigholdcorn/
Leigh Oldcorn is a master at realism and portraits. Just look at his portfolio! It’s almost as if he’s printed a photo directly on your skin. Leigh is the founder of Cosmic Tattoo, a tattoo studio based in the historic Essex town of Colchester. The studio was founded in 1998 and is award-winning with global recognition.
Along with his team of talented tattoo artists, this is where Leigh Oldcorn creates his magnificent realistic portrait tattoos. From dogs and wild cats to famous icons and actors – Leigh can ink them on your skin in unbelievable detail.
Leigh mostly works with black ink, creating amazing depth and detail with just one shade and a tattoo needle machine. Many of his tattoos cover wide expanses of skin, just to create enough space for all that hyper realistic photo art!
Best Female Tattoo Artists in the UK
There’s no lack of female talent in the UK. You’ll have no trouble finding talented, skilled female tattoo artists in every city across the country. But we wanted to give an extra special shoutout to these two amazing artists: Grace Neutral and Rhi Hustwayte.
- Location: Femme Fatale Tattoo, London
- Portfolio: Handpoke, mostly contemporary blackwork
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/graceneutral/
Grace Neutral is an extremely popular and extremely talented handpoke tattoo artist currently working in London at the Femme Fatale Tattoo studio. We love her style, and so do her 500k Instagram followers! She’s so good at designing, creating, and expertly inking her clever artwork.
Grace Neutral’s style is most contemporary. There’s a lot of blackwork in her portfolio with splashes of cartoon-like color here and there. Simple portraits, mandala-style patterns, simple skulls and cigarette packages are some of her favorite and best designs.
The handpoke method of tattooing is also known as stick ‘n poke – it’s a revival of the ancient method of tattooing. Instead of using a tattoo machine with a gun-like needle-firing device, handpoke relies on the tattoo artist entirely. Grace punctures the ink into your skin with a needle and her own strength. The results are impressive!
- Location: On the road, UK
- Portfolio: Colorful, cartoon style
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rhihusty/
Rhi Hustwayte is a very talented British female tattoo artist. Her current whereabouts according to her Instagram page are “on the road” somewhere in the UK! You’ll need to contact Rhi to find out where she is and how you can book a tattoo session with her.
And you’ll definitely be wanting to do that after you check out her portfolio. We love the clear solid lines and bright colors that are typical of the American traditional style tattoo, but Rhi takes it in another direction with a wider color palate and endless contemporary designs.
You can expect kawaii vegetables, drinks and all manner of objects with adorable emoji faces, as well as butterflies, animal portraits, and some familiar cartoon characters. Rhi’s bold style and imaginative designs never fail to put a smile on your face. We love these tatts!
Most Award-Winning UK Tattoo Artists
Tattoo artists are genuine artists so it’s no surprise that the best of the best are award winning too. Here are two of our favorite award-winning British tattoo artists. Their work is absolutely stunning and you’d be very lucky to have their ink on your body!
- Location: Top Gun Tattooing, Reading
- Portfolio: Mostly geometric, black and grey, and large body pieces
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/glenncuzen/
Glenn Cuzen is the owner and founder of the tattoo studio ‘Top Gun Tattooing’ in Reading. The number of awards he has won as an artist and tattoo-er are insane! He mostly works with black and grey, geometric, and Japanese or Polynesian tribal tattoos. The detail is insane. We love that many of his award-winning tattoos cover large expanses of the body – his artwork looks amazing over a large canvas.
He’s also very good at cover-up tattoos. Even if you’ve been told your tattoo is impossible to fix or cover up, Glenn may be able to help you.
As for the awards he has won, Glenn won awards in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. His awards are from all over the world, including The Great British Tattoo Show, Chicali Tattoo Expo in Mexico, and the LA Tattoo Convention in California.
- Location: No Regrets Studio, Cheltenham
- Portfolio: Black and grey, realistic, surrealist
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danny_romano1/
Danny Romano is an incredibly talented tattoo artist currently working at the No Regrets tattoo studio in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. His portfolio is amazing – you could easily spend hours admiring each individual tattoo. Danny specializes in black and grey tattoos, focusing on realistic and surrealist scenes. They remind us of black and white photos. The level of detail and amazing translucent layered effect that Danny achieves is breath-taking… so it’s no surprise that he’s advertised as an award-winning tattoo artist in the UK.
Danny first became interested in tattoo art at the age of thirteen and focused his career on it. He attended a fine art high school and developed his skills working with charcoal and pencil techniques. “As an artist, I am a master of shape, shades, depth and proportions.” You can really see this in Danny’s work, and we are very envious of anyone who has been inked by him!
Best Fine Line Tattoo Artists in the UK
Fine line tattoos are only growing in popularity. When inked by an expert, like Cally-Jo or Gee Hawkes, then you’ll be staggered by the results. We adore these tattoo artists and we could spend all day scrolling through their tatt portfolios.
- Location: Sydney, Australia
- Portfolio: Fine line and fine art tattoos
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/callyjoart/
Cally-Jo works primarily in Sydney, Australia, but her website confirms that she often visits London so you may be able to book her for a tattoo then! You can email to book a session via her website… if you can manage to drag your eyes away from her portfolio.
Cally-Jo specializes in fine art. She’s both an artist and a tattooist who can create stunning detailed designs. Many of her works are purely in black and grey inks. But you’ll also find numerous fun, cute and simple line art tattoos in her portfolio. Hands, eyes, moons and stars feature heavily along with botanical/line art style butterflies and birds.
You might have recognized Cally-Jo from the MTV show, Just Tattoo of Us. She’s also worked with numerous celebrities. If you aren’t following her on Instagram already, we suggest you do that now. It’s a great place to find fine line tattoo inspiration.
- Location: Top Boy Tattoo Studio, Brighton
- Portfolio: Detailed, elegant fine line tattoos
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/geehawkestattoo/
Georgina Hawkes, better known as Gee Hawkes, is a wonderfully talented British tattoo artist currently working at the Top Boy Tattoo studio in Brighton. Her artwork is primarily fine line art and we love the delicate style she uses. Some fine line tattoos are quite geometric, sharp and solid with their lines. But Gee uses much thinner, flowy lines to create stunning artwork.
In her Instagram portfolio you’ll find an abundance of floral motifs, snakes, dragons and all manner of animals from cats to koalas. Gee’s tattoos range from being small symbols by the wrist to full flowing sleeves and hip/thigh tattoos – there’s a lot of scope here. We’d love to get a delicate ankle tattoo or shoulder tattoo from Gee!
Best Blackwork Tattoo Artists in the UK
Blackwork tattoos are one of the best types! They feature just one color of ink to create detailed or cartoon style tattoos. The limit is your imagination. As for the best blackwork artists in the UK, we just had to mention Alex Binnie and Iain Sellar.
- Location: 1770 Tattoo Studio, Brighton
- Portfolio: Blackwork and full body tattoos
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/1770tattoo/
Alex Binnie has been a hugely popular tattoo artist in the UK since the 1990s. He started out in London’s Into You Tattoo studio and now works in Brighton at the very popular 1770 Tattoo Studio. His blackwork tattoos are stunning!
Binnie’s tattoo art varies widely from tribal-style leg tattoos to full-back geometric and abstract black tattoo designs. We really love the artistic flair of this popular British tattoo artist. In his website and Instagram portfolio, you can find numerous snakes, skulls, faces and solid black lines. His artwork is punchy and demands your attention.
Binnie is also a talented artist on paper. You can even buy his artwork prints online. Unlike most of his tattoos, his artwork prints feature big and bold colors. If you can’t book a tattoo session with Alex Binnie, you can still own hang his artwork up in your home!
- Location: Long Fox Tattoo Studio, Bristol
- Portfolio: Minimalist, cartoon-like blackwork
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iainsellar/
Iain Sellar may be the last best British tattoo artist on our list, but he’s certainly not the least talented. Sellar works at the private Long Fox Tattoo studio in Bristol where he creates awesome blackwork cartoon-like tattoos. At the time of writing, his books are closed… but make sure you keep checking the studio website to find out when he is available to book for a tattoo session again.
In his portfolio of blackwork tattoos you’ll see familiar cartoon faces and characters amongst snakes, hands, faces and all manner of symbols. Some remind us of the traditional American tattoo style, while others are very contemporary. They all have a very distinct vibe, however, that you can only get from authentic Iain Sellar artwork!