All around the world, tattoo art is becoming more popular, more commonplace, and more accepted. And those of us with hobbies that have helped make us who we are – literature, video games, movies – often get excited by the prospect of branding that love on our skin forever. I myself have two video game tattoos: one of Sora from Kingdom Hearts (thanks to Lala Inky) and another of a lantern from Bloodborne (thanks to my best boy Josh Young). We love turning our passions into wearable art! To that end, there is now a wealth of incredible anime tattoo artists and artists who specialise in delivering breath-taking and fantastic custom tattoos inspired by video games, comic books, Disney animation, and more. These are some of the most badass otaku tattoo artists creating the most badass tattoos in the nerdy world!
Simon K Bell
Simon is one of my all-time favourite anime tattoo artists and, if you’re travelling to the UK, then he should be your first port of call, way before visiting Tower Bridge or Loch Ness. I challenge you to tell his incredible artwork apart from the original anime stills that inspired it. He captures the colour, style, tone, the very soul of the anime that inspired his truly badass tattoos. His most impressive works are perhaps those that capture action poses and moments of intense shounen rage and excitement: a Super Saiyan transformation; the wind-up to a shattering punch; a ferocious roar of anger. You can feel the thrill of the animation in these still tattoos. What’s amazing is when you consider that you can have this emotive and exhilarating artwork captured on your skin forever. Simon K Bell is the otaku tattoo artist. He’s the guy. The best guy. Best boy. He’s best boy.
Giant Lee is not only Taiwan’s own king of anime tattoos, but is also one of the best anime tattoo artists around! He’s a Taipei tattoo artist who covers both styles of anime tattoo: recreations of blast colour anime art and stills from your favourite anime, and perfect copies of iconic manga panels, complete with the original Japanese text. The difference in style here is immense and impressive. Giant Lee is able to bring thick lines, bold colours, and heavy personality to his tattoo art with broad strokes when he needs to, but he can also imitate the fine linework of black and white manga panels in excruciating detail. If you love anime tattoos or manga tattoos, Giant Lee, with his anime-inspired custom tattoo art, is the man you need!
Kimberly, based out of Richmond, Virginia, describes herself on Instagram as an ‘otaku tattooer’ which I love, and should tell you all you need to know. Kimberly creates custom tattoos based on anime, video games, and cartoons (especially Disney tattoos). My personal favourites are her Pokémon tattoos, which are full of life and vibrancy. What makes her an artist of particularly badass tattoos is that a lot of them are delightfully sexy. Big tiddy anime girls, sexy takes on your childhood favourite anime, and badass adaptations of cute anime best girls. If you’d rather not had a sexy custom tattoo, then enjoy a cute Kirby, a badass Megumin, or an inspiring Belle. If it’s an animated thing and you want a custom tattoo of it, Kimberly Wall can deliver!
Adam K Perjatel
Perj is a man who consistently creates some of the most breath-taking and badass tattoos around. His work is utterly and completely indistinguishable from its influences. Seriously, have a scan through his Instagram page and behold his ability to capture manga and anime art, as well as video game concept art, on human skin. It’s phenomenal, masterful work that never fails to shock and impress. Perj is unquestionably one of the best anime tattoo artists (and video game tattoo artists) working today, and if you enjoy anime, games, and tattoos – a venn diagram which is essentially a circle these days – then you owe it to yourself to head to New York and get one of Perj’s custom tattoos.
Ali’s art is unmistakeable. She has a unique and frankly magical eye for capturing the world as it exists, as well as the world of fiction, in her artwork. If you’re looking for a tattoo that incorporates adorable animals, bright flowers, or anime characters, you have to go to Ali for her uncanny ability to blend bold colour with soft tones. There’s an atmosphere to her tattoos – they appear kind, sweet, made with love and affection. And all of this matches Ali’s own personality and attitude towards her work. She’s a kind, enthusiastic, and incredibly friendly artist. After a few hours with her, you get the best tattoo and a new friend. We know from first-hand experience, and we also know that she is one of the finest tattoo artists in the UK today. While Ali doesn’t exclusively deal in nerdy tattoos and otaku tattoos, she is nonetheless an expert at them.
Pronounced “Black Nemo”, this truly remarkable otaku tattoo artist based in Florence Italy has a style unlike any other. The most special kinds of tattoo artists are those who have a style that is instantly recognisable; ones whose art you see a flash of and think, “Oh! That’s Yogi Barrett piece!” Well, Blvknm is one of those artists. His tattoos are often small, bite-size pieces inspired by anime and video games. But they aren’t faithful recreations of the original art design; they’re interpretations in his particular style, which has a soft, textured, toy-like attitude and a colour palette of pinks and blacks and pastel shades. If you want something simply Japanese inspired like a koi tattoo or a ramen bowl, Blvknm can do that, too! He’s an artist who has made a big name for himself with striking originality and custom tattoos.
Matt has been building and building and building a reputation across the nerdy tattoo world for the past several years. Almost all of his designs are inspired by anime, video games, cartoons, and other delightfully nerdy media. From Matt you can expect truly fantastic custom tattoos – whether it’s a Star Wars tattoo, a DC tattoo, or even a Game Boy tattoo. His love for the art of tattooing and the designs he comes up with can be seen in his unique take on the source material he draws from (just look at the fantastic Batman tattoo above). He’s an artist giving tattooing a good and friendly name in this millennial world where the gruff sailor types are out and the sweet nerdy boys are in. Matt has recently opened up his own studio, Season One Tattoo in Preston, UK. He’s one of the most original and exciting UK tattoo artists around, delivering some seriously refined and badass tattoos.
If you’re someone who loves big, bright, bold pieces that pop with colour and life, inspired by anime, cartoons, pop-culture, video games, Disney, and bit of neotrad tattoo art, Matthew Larkin is absolutely for you. Not only is he one of the most original anime tattoo artists, but also a clever artist of all pop culture creatures. He has a style that’s malleable, shifting, and adaptable to what’s needed. It’s truly fascinating and captivating and deserves so much respect from the tattoo world at large. His interpretations of video game and comic book characters, as well as his original neotrad designs are all excellent, but where he really stands out is through his crossover pieces where he mixes two disparate concepts together in a delightfully creative way to produce some truly custom tattoo art. Like, for example, mixing Harry Potter with Pikachu, or Eevee with Mario, or Jynx with a can of Lynx body spray. It’s all wild and fun and creative and I just love it. If you’re looking for a unique Dublin tattoo artist who relishes fun and creativity, while also delivering really badass tattoos, Matthew Larkin is it. Maybe ask for a Batman tattoo where Batman is a baseball bat. Matthew could make it work.
We’ve mentioned Hugo before; he’s our favourite Korea-based tattoo artist for obvious reasons. He’s another artist with a personal and unique style that is flat-out adorable! Hugo designs custom tattoos based on pop culture creatures from anime, video games, and cartoons. His Studio Ghibli inspired art is particularly gorgeous and sweet. Most of his art is black and white, with thick lines, and is a very recognisable cute and almost chibi style of artwork. He specialises in cats of a very specific style and theme that he has cultivated lovingly, and it has made him a very much coveted and world-famous artist as a result! Hugo is fantastic and we need more artists of his unique vision.
Based in Woodbury, New Jersey, Chris Mesi stands beside other best-of-the-best anime tattoo artists like the previously mentioned UK-based Simon K Bell. Chris’ art is mouth-wateringly good, stealing the very heart and soul from the source material of his custom tattoos and infusing them into his artwork. While Chris does specialise as an anime tattoo artist, he also does video game tattoos, and he does them with as much extraordinary talent as he does his anime tattoos. His ability to both faithfully recreate a specific art style while also creating a unique and custom tattoo is truly remarkable, and Chris deserves all the success in the world for his enormous skill as one of the world’s best anime tattoo artists.
Will predominantly writes about the books of Books and Bao, examining the literature of a place and how the authors have used the art of storytelling to reflect the world and the culture around them.