Lifestyle: altrocklife’s favourite UK tattoo artists

Hello altrocklifers! As you may be aware, I’m a pretty big fan of tattoos and tattoo culture.  I currently have five tattoos, with plans for many more – a sentiment that I’m sure other tattooed people will relate to.  My Instagram feed is chock full of tattoo artists, giving me ink envy every time I check the app.  Today I thought I’d look over some of my favourite UK tattoo artists, and the tattoos I’d love to get from them some day, when I manage to squeeze into their massively busy books.

Danny Charles a.k.a. True Gent Tattoos

One from yesterday @losttimetattoo was really nice to use some colour in this one!

A post shared by Danny 'Leslie' Charles (@truegenttattoos) on

Danny Charles is one of the few artists actually based anywhere near me, in Grantham, Lincolnshire.  He mainly does black and grey work, but I absolutely love his occasional splashes of colour, such as in the example above.  I don’t have any particular tattoos in mind when I think of getting work done by Danny Charles, but adding work by him to my collection is a necessity.

Abi Hack

Ever since I saw Abi Hack’s first floral knife tattoo, I knew I had to get a floral knife by her.  Hopefully I’ll be making the trip to see her in Essex sometime soon.

Paula Castle

The full lady from this weekend. I have spaces late September email me paulacastletattoos@gmail.com to book #ragingswancardiff

A post shared by Paula Castle 🌱 (@paulacastletattoos) on

Paula Castle is an absolute genius!  I absolutely love her tattoos of women, and I was desperate to get her recent Aphrodite tattoo, but unfortunately somebody else beat me to it.  I’d love her to ink a Greek goddess on me some day.

Becca a.k.a. s6girl

Becca makes the most PERFECT bird tattoos.  I have a lot of bird tattoos planned, and if I have my way all of them would be by her.

Chrissy Hills a.k.a. epicterror

Egyptian cat from my flash today for Josie! Thanks for coming to get this one!

A post shared by Chrissy Hills Tattoo (@epicterror) on

Chrissy Hills’ neotraditional style is absolutely magical, and I’m a huge fan of pretty much all of her work.

Xam the Spaniard

Xam the Spaniard is another artist who creates fantastic lady face tattoos.  His style is so crisp and clean, and I need his work on my body some day!

Rebecca Vincent

Shoulders, shoulders, shoulders.

A post shared by Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent_tattoo) on

All of Rebecca Vincent’s work is absolutely gorgeous! I personally prefer getting colour tattoos, but I’d make an exception for this wonderful artist.  Her line work is exquisite, and I’m always a sucker for floral/botanical tattoos.

Ashley Luka

Just finished this for the lovely Felicity 😊 thanks!!

A post shared by Ashley Luka 🌱 (@ashleyluka) on

Ashley Luca’s style is absolutely beautiful, and I love her animal tattoos.  I’d love to get a pet portrait by her, or some other exotic animal, or just any living creature to be honest, I’m not picky.

Matt Webb

Knee cap done today 🤘🏼 thanks for making the trip mate. #tattoo #art #igdaily #kneetattoo #rosetattoo #rose

A post shared by Matt Webb – Bishop Tattoo Co. (@mattwebbtattoo) on

This artist is probably best known for his amazing rose tattoos.  Roses are one of my favourite flowers, and it’s one of my favourite fragrances, so even though scratch-and-sniff tattoos are not yet a reality, I’d still love to add a rose by Matt Webb to my collection.

Jean Le Roux

Jean Le Roux’s style speaks for itself.  His work is absolutely gorgeous!


Who are your favourite UK tattoo artists? Do you have work by any of my favourite artists mentioned above?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

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Lifestyle: How to make a tattoo appointment

Good afternoon altrocklifers! Today I thought I’d cover something a bit different, and discuss the ins and outs of getting tattooed.  A lot of the articles and blog posts I read around this topic are very America-centric, which isn’t much good to us UK tattooed folks as the culture (especially around tipping) is very different.  I’ve already got four tattoos, and I just booked my fifth one, so I thought I’d walk you through the process of finding a studio, picking out the right artist for you, and booking the appointment itself.

Step one – decide what tattoo you want

Deciding what tattoos you would like can sometimes be a long and complex process, and sometimes very simple.  Sometimes the ideas behind tattoos can have significant meanings – such as my robin and teacup tattoos, which are memorial tattoos for my grandparents – and therefore it’s very important to find an artist who will translate your perfect design into a tattoo. Others – such as my poppy tattoo – don’t have as much meaning, so as long as you find an artist who’s work you like and you trust, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get the end result you’re looking for.

In my case, I have a number of different tattoos I’d like to get, some with a lot of meaning, and some with little past “I think this design/concept is cool and I want it on my body”.  Either way, before committing to getting any of my tattoos, I gave the ideas themselves a lot of thought over months or sometimes years to help to prevent potential tattoo regret.  Tattoo regret is something that I reckon most tattooed people feel about at least one of their tattoos, so by ensuring you find the right artist, you can minimise the risk of coming out with a tattoo you’re less than totally happy with.

Step 2 – finding your ideal artist(s) and tattoo parlours

This step can vary depending on your circumstances: for example, this weekend I’m going to Manchester, so I looked up Manchester tattoo parlours to find a good artist for me.  First, I checked out the websites of a number of parlours, both to look at artist portfolios and to see if the website was a) well made, b) had high quality photos of the artists’ work, and c) was of a decent quality with good spelling and grammar throughout.  That last point might make me sound like a bit of an elitist, but for me a well written website helps to reassure me that the parlour and its artists pay attention to detail and will provide a high quality service.

Then, I start to look for the artist, or artists, that I would like to tattoo me.  This is where  Facebook or Instagram come in to play, as sometimes website portfolios can be out of date so artists’ most recent work can usually be found on social media.  I’ll take a look through the tattoo parlour’s page, identify the artist or artists that I like, and then look for that artist’s personal page to see even more of their work.  Thanks to Instagram I’ve identified a number of tattoo artists with incredible portfolios dotted all over the UK and abroad that I would love to be tattooed by some day.

Step three – booking the appointment

This step can be a bit of a long one, so I’ll try to break it down for you.  Booking an appointment with an artist will vary depending on how they organise their books: sometimes, the artist will manage the bookings themselves, and sometimes, the parlour they work in will organise them for you.  I’ve dealt with both: when getting tattooed in Bournemouth, I dealt with the artist directly, but I booked my appointment in Manchester through the tattoo parlour.

Booking with the artist directly

This step can sometimes start with a consultation with the artist.  Before I got my first tattoo by Ana Tatu, I messaged her via her Facebook page to book a consultation, and spoke to her so I could get to know her a bit better and decide if she was the right artist for me.  Some artists will book tattoos via social media, but others will only communicate through email, so make sure you check out their bio to find out how they do things!  Otherwise, your message might not be seen and you could miss out.

If the consultation goes well and the artist wants to tattoo your design, they will usually then ask for a deposit.  Most parlours I’ve seen only take cash, so I’d advise taking out some money beforehand – deposits can vary from £20 to £100 or more depending on the size of the piece and the time it will likely take.  If you’re booking the tattoo over social media or email, the artist may ask you to pay your deposit via bank transfer or PayPal.  This deposit will then secure your booking, but if you have to cancel the appointment, the deposit is likely to be non-refundable.

The artist will usually then ask for you to send some reference pictures to them – these can either be pictures of other peoples’ tattoos that you’d like them to take inspiration from, or simply photos of the animal/item/landscape/person you want tattooed.  They can then work on designing your tattoo!  Remember, don’t expect your artist to copy another tattoo outright – this is art theft, and the mark of an untrustworthy artist if they are willing to copy another person’s work. There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other peoples’ tattoos, but copying is always a massive no-no.

Booking through the tattoo parlour

The process of booking through a tattoo parlour is slightly different to the above – in my case, when booking the tattoo I’ll be getting this weekend, I haven’t actually spoken to the tattoo artist at all!  First off I messaged the parlour’s Facebook page to ask if my preferred artist had any availability on the dates I’ll be in Manchester, and if they were interested in tattooing my design.  They then asked for the rough size of the piece – this makes it easier for the parlour to book me in, as it gives them an idea of how long the tattoo will take.  They also asked for some reference pictures, so I sent over some tattoo designs that I liked, as well as some photos of my tattoo subject.

The parlour then confirmed roughly how much the tattoo would cost, how much the deposit would be, and gave me details of how to pay said deposit.  Then, this morning I phoned the parlour, paid my deposit by card over the phone to confirm and book the appointment, and gave the parlour my contact details so they could get in touch if anything changed.

You’ll remember that earlier I mentioned tipping culture as being different in the UK to the US.  Over in the US it’s expected to tip your artists, but as the UK doesn’t have much of a tipping culture, it’s definitely not expected to tip your tattoo artist here.  I’ve personally never tipped my artists, but I’ll usually ask if they’d like me to bring them a drink or snack if I’m picking one up for myself.  If you think your artist has done an amazing job, and you’re not sure if they accept tips, just ask! I’m sure they’ll be flattered that you asked even if they don’t like accepting tips.


So there you have it!  Did you find this information helpful?  Have you had a different experience of booking tattoo appointments in the UK?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.