Getting your first tattoo isn’t a one-step process. First, you have to take that leap and actually decide to get ink. Then you have to figure what the hell you actually want. Finally, you have to find someone to carve that f*cker into your skin.
Each step is significant, but maybe that last step is a bit more so. You can always make a self-deprecating joke about a poorly-thought-out but professionally done tattoo. If it also looks like shit… well, that’s harder to get past.
That’s why it’s usually a good idea to do plenty of research on the artist who is going to poke a few million holes in your epidermis before you go all-in. Thankfully — Instagram being what it is — doing that research a lot easier these days. Tattoo artists have been using IG to show off their prowess and art since the app was invented, using their grids as curated parlor walls.
The 30 tattoo artists below cover a fairly wide spectrum of inkers from all over the world. We tried to stay broad with the art, styles, and follower counts. Some of these artists are still only in the thousands of followers on IG. Others are in the millions.
All of them are worth a follow — whether you’re getting your first tattoo or your tenth.
Dion Kaszas — 3.2k followers
Dion Kaszas works in Acadia, BC, and uses the traditional methods and art of his people, the Nlaka’pamux. Kaszas works in stitching and hand poke to create award-winning and internationally recognized tattoos that stem directly from his Indigenous roots.
Wiremu Barriball — 6.2k followers
Wiremu Barriball has created an artistic space where Maori tattoo culture can shine. His shop in Porirua, New Zealand, is a haven for Ta Moko tattoos (ancient Maori designs) which cover all parts of the body but most famously the face.
Barriball’s feed is a celebration of the Polynesian ink-ways and design.
Atelier Do No Eko — 10.1k followers
The work Oscar and Astiz found at Do No Eko in Paris, France, is enthralling. The duo leans toward Japanese artistry that’s sometimes Lovecraftian and always amazingly well rendered. This is pure tattoo art in the highest form via hand poke methods.
Ans Pham — 11.5k followers
There’s a classic, almost pirate feel to the ink of Ans Pham. This is big and bold ink with enticing, throwback designs. Currently working out of Tattoo Machine Studio in Wellington, New Zealand, Pham’s ink is much sought after and totally worth checking out if you’re down New Zealand way.
Ellie — 13.6k followers
Ellie of Shantitattoo works out of London and dives deep into throwback tattoo art. Ellie’s tattoos are boldly rendered with designs that touch on East and South Asian art, pirate themes, henna, and tribal motifs with deft precision.
Angel Zimik — 20.3k followers
Angel Zimik’s tattoos are subtly bold. There’s a blend of the geometric with florae and fauna, spirituality, and mysticism in the artistry that feels unique and fresh. Zimik also works in New Delhi at Devil’z Tattooz (a good follow on its own) which is often lauded as a tattoo joint with some of the best inkers in the world.
Marine Perez — 28.2k followers
Marine Perez — based in Oslo — has a heightened sense of artistry with a soft touch. Perez’s tattoos are almost exclusively in the world of animals with a very mystical bent and bold colors with soft lines and a unique POV. The work is both enthralling and hallucinatory.
Doreen Garner — 29.8k followers
The brilliance of Doreen Garner’s work is in the depth of artistry at play. Garner is a trained artist who finds deep beauty in the way the ink renders on the skin. There’s a minimalism to the Brooklyn inker that draws you in and makes you wish you had one of her simple yet moving tattoos on your body.
Expanded Eye — 65.3k followers
Expanded Eye is part steampunk art mixed with abstract geometry and synthetic cubism in a hip London art gallery. The artistic duo, Jade Tomlinson and Kevin James, create unique ink with a focus on math, unconventionality, and big ideas. It’s funky and gorgeous and there’s little else like these tattoos in the world.
Kelli Kikcio — 67.5k followers
There’s a quiet beauty to Kelli Kikcio’s hand poke tattoos. Kikcio works out of Welcome Home Studios in Brooklyn, which operates as a tattoo studio and an artist’s space. Her designs never overwhelm and are always engaging. The blend of the natural world with scenes from ordinary places like a grocery store makes for fascinating ink.
There’s a delicacy to the work that speaks volumes.
McKenzie — 74.3k followers
The intricacy and depth of McKenzie’s work in black is flat out stunning. McKenzie works out the Plymouth (UK) studio, Hand in Hand Tattoo, which is also worth a follow if you’re into great-looking tattoos in your feed.
NEO — 78.3k followers
NEO’s studio in Zürich, Switzerland, is the place to go if you want a tattoo that melds the worlds of heavy metal, geometry, and reptilian mysticism. NEO’s ink is intense. Whole bodies are covered with sometimes mind-boggling shapes. These ink-heavy tattoos may not be for everyone but are fun as hell to look at.
Stephanie Brown — 101k followers
If you want a piece of natural art on your body, Stephanie Brown out in Chicago is the tattoo artist for you. Brown’s classically realistic tattoos highlight flora and fauna in a way that feels a bit like we all slipped down the rabbit hole with Alice.
Lisa Orth — 106k followers
Lisa Orth used to design album covers for Sub Pop Records in their grunge heyday. Today, Orth’s designs take a fresh and unique look at nature through heavy black lines. Think of the mountain vistas of the Pacific Northwest told through a mix of graphic novels, old national parks posters, and a hint of metal rock ‘n roll.
Each one of her tattoos is an original that she comes up with just for you.
Alice Carrier — 116k followers
Alice Carrier of Lovebird Tattoo out in Portland, OR, found a niche in illustrated flora and elevated the style. Carrier’s ability to create plant and sometimes insect focused tattoos is a wonder with a level of detail that’s bewitching. These are the sort of tattoos that’ll have you looking at flights to PDX so you can get one too.
Reese Hilburn — 129k followers
Master inker and TV ink personality Reese Hilburn is another must-follow for even the most casual tattoo lover. Based in San Diego and (usually) touring the world, Hilburn creates moments of art in ink through gorgeously render tats. She’s also a tattoo model who lives the influencer life. Translation: You’ll be treated to a nice dose of wanderlust and #FOMO if you follow her Instagram feed.
Zaya — 145k followers
Gabby Colledge is killing the game in London right now. Her minimalist approach to nature-driven tattoos is understated and beguiling. Colledge has a knack for bringing an almost whimsical essence to straightforward images of animals, fish, and plants.
Amanda Wachob — 141k followers
New York City artist and inker Amanda Wachob is creating beauty on the skins of people and lemons(!). Wachob has a deft eye for creating massive canvases of beautiful back-covering art or small objects with serious depth. A tattoo from Wachob is a masterpiece of color on your body.
Lara Maju — 151k followers
Lara Maju is doing minimalist, nature-based hand pokes at Hamburg, Germany’s Coco Schwarz tattoo studio. Maju’s ink is small features that keep things simple yet deeply detailed. These are the perfect tattoos for someone looking to dip their toes into ink without getting something overwhelming or obvious.
Miryam Lumpini — 277k followers
Miryam Lumpini is one of the most interesting tattoo artists working today. Her “Witchdoctor” aesthetic blends various styles with eye-popping color and intense detail. Lumpini’s tattoos are a lucid dream come to life via a rainbow of colors on the skin.
Anthony Michaels — 287k followers
The level of detail and depth to Anthony Michaels’ tattoo art is phenomenal. There’s a realness to the faces he inks onto bodies that are both haunting and enticing. The two-time winner of InkMasters opened up shop in L.A. and is killing the game with pop culture-inspired ink, making this a can’t-miss Instagram feed.
Melody Mitchell — 385k followers
Brooklyn’s Melody Mitchell is creating tattoo art with a serious flare. Mitchell’s tattoos range from classically designed to bold art pieces with clear artistry. Mitchell has the skills to pull off some of the most seriously well-inked tattoos out there today.
Chaim Machlev — 499k followers
Berlin’s Chaim Machlev creates ink that’s once-in-a-lifetime art. Machlev’s use of lines and black is unmatched in the game. He’s blown up in recent years with rock stars lining up to get some ink from the master; so you never know who’ll pop up in his feed under the needle.
Rit Kit — 596k followers
Rit Kit creates tattoos by using live leaves as stencils for designs. This unique approach brings a natural realism to her ink that feels alive. The flowers, limbs, and plants Rit Kit use jump off the skin like they’re still growing in the forest. It’s a brilliant and unique way to ink a body.
JonBoy — 675k followers
Jonboy is an inker of the elite. He tattoos celebrities and average ink-lovers at Bang Bang NYC (more on them below) if you can snag an appointment. Jonboy’s aesthetic is much sought after. He takes minimalism to new heights with tiny tats that one almost needs a spyglass to read. The detail is astounding and worth seeking out for something truly unique.
Mr. K — 704k followers
Mr. K is smashing at Bang Bang NYC. Mr. K’s ink is a meditation in subtleness. Each tattoo is a story that takes you on a journey in one single, often small, tattoo. The ink is as impressive as it is beautiful.
Sasha Unisex — 763k followers
Sasha Unisex offers temporary tattoos for those of us who aren’t quite sure if we want to take that plunge yet. The designs are brightly colored animals and flowers with a mellow cubist bent. Then, if it feels right, you can get that tattoo permanently inked on your body. It’s kind of the best of all worlds.
Katrina Jackson — 1.2m followers
Kat Tat’s Enigma Tattoo in Beverly Hills is a classic tattoo shop. Kat Tat’s ink ranges from photo-realistic faces to old-school sailor ink done with real artistry. There’s a beauty, intensity, and artistic flair here that makes Kat Tat an easy follow.
Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy — 2.4m followers
Bang Bang NYC and Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy are dominating the ink game on the high end these days. McCurdy has tattooed Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Lenny Kravitz, and so many more with his delicate, thoughtful art. Unless you have serious cash to put out, the likelihood of scoring an appointment with McCurdy is far and few between. Instead, you can live vicariously through his Instagram feed for Bang Bang NYC and dream of one day getting some ink from the master.
Tattoodo — 3.6m followers
Tattoodo is a must-follow for anyone either looking to get into tattoos for the first time or looking for their next one. The feed is a repository of tattoo artists from all over the world that links to the Tattoodo app — pinpointing ink studios and tattoo artists all over the world that you can book directly.
All of that aside, the IG feed is the perfect place to start a tattoo search or a good place to just observe and dream about that tattoo you’re going to get … one day.