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37 inspiring examples of tattoo art

22. Gakkin

Tattoo art: Gakkin

Gakkin's work mashes up traditional styles with modern influences

Gakkin, who works at Harizanmai tattoo studio in Kyoto, takes a new approach to traditional Japanese themes, strongly influenced by manga, graffiti and graphic design. But although his tattoos are definitely 21st-century, Gakkins still follows many of the traditional rules of Japanese tattoo art, such as: 'Never put momiji [message dolls] and sakura [cherry blossom] in the same drawing', and 'Tigers should always go with bamboo'.

While the background of this design is reminiscent of traditional Japanese prints, the colourful maple and the steaks of bright red on the koi makes it stand out as strikingly modern.

23. David Hale

Tattoo art: David Hale

David Hale's beautiful tattoo work is on a par with his outstanding illustrations

David Hale is an artist living in Athens, Georgia, where he runs design and tattoo studio Love Hawk. This is just one of his incredible pieces of tattoo art. His work typically uses only black and red ink, and he favours designs the combine geometric simplicity and a natural world subject matter.

24. Jason Donahue

Tattoo art designs: Jason Donahue

Jason Donahue's work has a traditional tattoo art vibe

Artist Jason Donahue works at Hidden Coast Tattoo in Sebastopol, California. His work often features Native American themes. His minimal use of colour is both subtle and striking, and his style looks great on both smaller hand pieces and larger coverings.

25. David Corden

Tattoo art: David Corden

Corden's portraits are uncannily realistic

When it comes to realistic portraits, there's no one better than UK artist David Corden. He's inked tattoo versions of everyone from Sean Connery and Harrison Ford to Eminem and er... Keith Lemon. Despite getting a 'U' in A-Level art (he was told that his work looked so much like a photo, he may as well have handed in a photo) and spending 15 years working as a ventilation engineer, he eventually followed his true calling in tattoo art.

26. Genko

Tattoo art: Genko

Genko gives traditional Japanese tattoo designs a modern look

Genko is known for putting modern spin on traditional Japanese tattoo art, although he insists that 'his style is having no style'. His portfolio of work takes in tribal, new school and greyscale tattoo designs. He's based in Japan and has won multiple awards for his work.

27. Adriaan Machete

Tattoo art: Adriaan Machete

How about a zombie apocalypse? On your leg

Not only is this artist a sublime master of his craft, he also has a very cool name. Adriaan Machete is the kind of name you expect from a tattoo artist. Check out this awesome, if gruesome, leg design: vibrant turquoise against pink with clever line work make the characters pop.

28. Peter Aurisch

Tattoo art: Peter Aurisch

Peter Aurisch's tattoo art takes inspiration from cubism

This design from Peter Aurisch is a great example of the artist's painterly, cubism-inspired style. His colourful, abstract works have put him in high demand as a tattoo artist. Aurisch is currently based in Berlin. 

29. Shige

Tattoo art: Shige

Shige creates full-body masterpieces

Shige is a self-taught tattooist based in Yokohama, Japan, and the founder of Yellow Blaze Tattoo. While the basis of his work is Japanese history and traditional culture, Shige has created his own original style, which he describes as a never-ending work in progress. His large-scale works are truly breathtaking.

30. Peter Lagergren

Tattoo art: Peter Lagergren

Bizarre yet brilliantly executed

We love Peter Lagergren's work purely because it's so bizarre. The Swedish tattoo artist is currently working at Malmö Classic Tattooing, and specialises in acid-bright, trippy images of animals and monsters.

31. Ed Perdomo

Tattoo art: Ed Perdomo

The expression, shading and unique colour palette are all typical of Ed Perdomo's work

Ed Perdomo is a tattoo artist from Columbia who now resides in Goteborg, Sweden – although he loves to travel, so he might not be sticking around for long. "I only do custom, love colours and big spaces... my work is optimistic and a bit crazy," he says.

32. Tim Senecal

Tattoo art: Tim Senecal

Tim Senecal favours bright, bold, freehand designs

Tim Senecal has been tattooing since 2001, and is known for his big, bright, bold, freehand designs. He's currently looking to evolve his style: "I am interested in hearing ideas which may have me explore outside what you have seen from me," he says on his site. "I will be accepting all projects that catch my interest, and none that do not."

33. Anthony Romero

Tattoo art: Anthony Romero

Tattoo artist Anthony Romero is a masterful craftsman

Also known as The Man With the Neck Tattoo, Anthony Romero is a dab hand at recreating haunting black and white portraits on his clients' skin – he's inked tattoo versions of everyone from John Lennon to Yoga. He also has a bit of a thing for horror – as you can see in the design shown above.

34. Ondřej Konupčík

Tattoo art: Ondřej Konupčík

Ondřej Konupčík's is a master of the watercolour tattoo style

Who says ink has to be well-defined and crisp? Well not Czech tattoo artist Ondřej Konupčík, that's for sure. He studied fashion before moving into tattoo art, and building up an international reputation as a master of the now super-popular watercolour tattoo style. As well as beautiful expressive tattoos, he also creates artwork. 

35. Myke Chambers

Tattoo art: Myke Chambers

Myke Chambers travels the world inking his customers

If you'll excuse the pants, check out this intricate (and suitably large) traditional American piece of tattoo art by Myke Chambers. Coverage is very high but the colour work is stunning – as is the detail in the various animal and human portraits that run through the design. Chambers completed his first amateur tattoo aged 12 (shudder), and never looked back. 

36. Emily Rose Murray

Tattoo art: Emily Rose Murray

Emily Rose Murray is the leading lady of tattoo design

Australian tattoo artist Emily Rose Murray blends a strong comic art-influenced style with some amazing colour and shading work. The Melbourne-based artist is known for her glamorous women with a gothic edge. 

37. Amanda Wachob

Tattoo art: Amanda Wachob

With a background in painting, Amanda Wachob has created a unique brand of tattoo art

Originally a painter, Amanda Wachob has developed a beautifully unique style of tattoo art. Influenced by the work of Hans Hofmann, she allows the organic forms of the body to influence these abstract shapes. Take a look at this interview to discover how she earned herself an almost cult-like following.

Georgia Coggan

Georgia Coggan is a regular freelance contributor for Creative Bloq, who has also worked on T3 and Top Ten Reviews. With a particular interest in branding and retro design, Georgia writes about everything from logo design to creative technology, enjoys hunting down genuinely good deals and has even used her knowledge as an ex-teacher to create buying guides on products including children's books and bookcases. Tying these design interests together is an obsession with London Underground posters from the last century.