How Do I Find A Good Tattooist?
A tattoo is a life-long commitment, which is why it’s imperative you get an artist whose style and values align with what you have in mind. Here are some questions you can ask yourself while scouting for artists:
Do I Have A Design In Mind Or Do I Want To Collaborate With An Artist?
This is important because it determines whether you’ll do a walk-in or book a consultation with an artist. If you already have a design in mind, it’s easier to just show up and ask to get inked then and there. If you aren’t clear yet on what you want, it’s best to consult with an artist. They’ll advise you on everything from size and placement to ink colours that’ll look best with your skin tone.
Do I Have A Style In Mind?
Though most tattoo artists are versatile, some have really honed in on a particular style. If you’re looking for something specific, it’s better to find an artist who’s really known to excel in that look. They’ll be able to help make your idea 100 times better too by making suggestions based on their experience.
Here are the different tattoo styles:
- New school
Am I Looking For Something Cheap?
Prices of tattoos vary depending on the size and colour, and the artist’s discretion. Of course, the smaller and simpler the design, the cheaper the tattoo will be.
Choosing a shop or artist with lesser years under their belts will also help you save some money, but there’s no assurance you’ll get excellent results. There’s a reason why the best tattoo artists in Melbourne don’t run cheap.
Should I Just Go To Any Shop Near Me?
The great thing about Melbourne is that it’s got a surplus of excellent tattoo shops that have been in the game for decades. There’s no need to settle for the cheap inexperienced shop around the corner.
The 10 Best Tattoo Parlours in Melbourne
10. Fine Line Tattoo
Why We Recommend It: Sometimes, all you want is a clean, minimalist tattoo. Fine Line is the place to go for dainty lettering and fine line work. The studio also has artists that specialise in watercolour, hand poke, and mini-realist tattoos.
Who to look for: Cholo, the founder of the studio, is an expert at delicate blackwork tattoos.
Price range: Starting price for pieces by Cholo is $AUD250. Other artists have a starting price of $AUD150.
Where: High Street, Thornbury
Why We Recommend It: Oculus does a lot of really intense blackwork. If you’re looking to get a massive piece with a lot of details, this is the studio for you. Their styles range from realism to neotraditional. They’ve also got a mean lettering game.
Who to look for: Kristoffer Sunkee (@kris_sunkee on Instagram) creates dark, life-like, and terrifyingly good portraits!
Why We Recommend It: If you’re looking for something in the illustrative style, Alchemy can get it done. Nerds rejoice – they also have an artist who specialises in cartoons and anime!
Who to look for: Dan (@simplerlines) has done a ton of tattoos inspired by animated shows and films, like Studio Ghibli characters, Pokemon, Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, X-Men, and Yu-Gi-Oh.
Price range: Minimum charge is $AUD90.
Where: Nicholson Street, Fitzroy North
Why We Recommend It: Third Eye is a warm and cozy studio that offers a range of services, from various styles to cover-ups. They also accept walk-ins!
Who to look for: Third Eye is home base for several of Australia’s best tattooists – Nick Rutherford (traditional), Bugsy (traditional), Oliver Christenson (traditional), Danny Kelly (geometry, dotwork), and Marissa O (black and grey realism).
Price range: Minimum deposit fee for small to medium tattoos is $AUD100.
6. Dynamic Tattoo
Where: Swan Street, Richmond
Why We Recommend It: Dynamic’s artists have decades of experience between them, and most have spent years honing their skills at Japanese style tattooing. If you’re looking for a wicked cool full back piece, this is the place to go.
Who to look for: Trevor McStay (@dynamictrev on Insta), the shop’s founder, has over 30 years of experience specialising in Japanese style tattoos.
Price range: Minimum deposit fee is $AUD100.
Where: Chapel Street, South Yara
Why We Recommend It: Victims of Ink is home to 8 artists from different countries who all have their own personal styles and specialties, from all-black dotwork and line work to realism, watercolour, and traditional style. If you and your mates want to get your tattoos done at the same time, this is a good place to go even if you have differing tastes.
Who to look for: Namsseang Ho’s (@namsseang_tattooer) work is heavily inspired by the surrealist paintings of Salvador Dali. With black and grey realism as his preferred style, he often creates haunting, horror-themed images.
Where: Victoria Street, North Melbourne
Why We Recommend It: Vic Market has been around for 25 years and is known as one of the best tattoo parlours in Melbourne. Though their award-winning artists offer a range of styles, it’s clear that their strongest suit is American traditional style. Not only do they do it so well, they have a way of injecting hints of humour into a lot of their pieces!
Price range: Minimum charge is $AUD100, while the hourly rate is $AUD180.
Why We Recommend It: Vibrant, bold, and eye-catching – these three words best describe the tattoos that come out of Empire. The private studio is on the more upscale side, so every session by appointment only.
Why We Recommend It: For some women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, tattoo studios can be a little off-putting, with their macho energy and disparate male to female ratio. Crucible Co. stands out as a safe space – it is the first queer-owned tattoo studio in Melbourne. PWDs and vegans will feel comfortable here too, as the studio is wheelchair accessible and offers vegan inks.
Who to look for: If we had to pick one word to describe Gemma Flack’s (@heygemmaflack on Insta) work, it’d be “adorable”. Using fine lines and neon colours, Gemma paints a lot of cute animals and flowers in her own weird and distinct style.
Price range: Starting price is $AUD100.
Where: Chapel Street
Why We Recommend It: Chapel mostly specialise in traditional style, and they’ve been doing it for over 20 years. Yet, even though their forte is in traditional style, they’re also good at pretty much any style, from Japanese to watercolour. No wonder it’s considered one of the most trusted traditional tattoo shops in Melbourne!
Who to look for: Andrew McLeod, the shop’s founder, is somewhat of a legend in Melbourne’s tattoo circles. You’d be lucky to get a tattoo by him!
Price range: Minimum charge is $AUD100, while the hourly rate is $AUD200.