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To do the best tattoo Toronto, Vancouver, and the the world have seen.

Chronic Ink started out with this one goal in mind. A decade later, we have established ourselves as an award winning studio, and real contenders for this dream. And it’s all possible because we work with some of the best tattoo artists in Toronto & Vancouver.

Our first step was to create an environment that attracts top talent and allows them to thrive. This mentality took us from a single Markham location to opening two of the best tattoo shops in Toronto & Vancouver. Even with all our focus on creating a better tattoo shop, our bread and butter has always been the raw talent and experience of our artists.

Toronto & Vancouver’s Best Tattoo Artists

To do the best tattoos in the world, we rely on taking on the best tattoo artists. And what better place to look for top creative talents than Toronto & Vancouver? Downtown Toronto is a hub of creativity, attracting some of best artists around the world.

With multiple tattoo parlours in Toronto & Vancouver we have access to an unbelievable talent pool of artists who are specializing in custom tattoos. We took a look at some of most impressive tattoo artists on our roster. Here is our list of artists, by style, who can give you the best tattoo in Toronto & Vancouver.

Our Favourite Tattoo Aftercare

After Inked

After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer delivers effective skin moisturization and helps to preserve the colours of your tattoos. There’s no petroleum so it won’t stick to or stain your clothes. This moisturizing skin lotion, enriched with Grape Seed Oil, can also be used on any permanent makeup procedure on lips, brows, eye liner, and areola, as well as an after-laser tattoo removal moisturizing lotion. After Inked is Dermatologist tested, non-allergenic and non-irritating.

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PurSan

PurSan Aftercare is a specially formulated Vegan skin cleanser used to clean and moisturize as part of an aftercare regimen for fresh tattoos and piercings. It revitalizes, refreshes and purifies skin without drying it out. Gentle yet effective, PurSan contains no parabens, fragrances, colourants or alcohol. Chloroxylenol (PCMX) is a proven antimicrobial ingredient shown to be effective against bacteria and viruses without burning or irritating the skin. Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (Hypromellose) is an ultra-high grade lubricant ideal for sensitive skin.

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Best Watercolour Tattoo Artists in Toronto & Vancouver

1. Christine Pexin

A star in making both complex and simple designs into undeniable pieces of art, Christine Pexin is one of the top tattoo artists in Toronto & Vancouver. Her watercolour tattoos are especially striking. Here are a few samples of her work:

best watercolour tattoo artistwatercolor tattoo artist brushwork space tattoo painterly owl tattoo

2. Mackenzie Murphy

Mackenzie Murphy, AKA ‘Big Mac’ is next up on the list. Her creative and detailed work makes her a top choice for watercolour work.

harry potter tattoo watercolour cool brushwork tattoo watercolour flower tattoo brushwork flower tattoo

3. Lynsey Hayton

Another of the best watercolour tattoo artists in the city, Lynsey’s designs are striking and playful.

Watercolour Tattoo

Mermaid Watercolour Tattoo

Watercolour Tattoo Fox

 

4. Karen

Karen comes in at number 4 in our favourite watercolour tattoo artists. Her ink is making waves in Toronto & Vancouver.

Asian Symbol Tattoo Watercolour Watercolour Bird Tattoo Winnie The Pooh Watercolour Tattoo Unique Tattoo Painterly

Best Fine Line Tattoo Artists in Toronto & Vancouver

1. Joanna M Roman

Joanna, AKA ‘JOJO’ is a rare talent. A look at some of her recent work exemplifies why she tops the list of the best fine line tattoo artists in Toronto.

Flower Pot Tattoo Fine Line Fine Line Sugar Skull Fine Line Navigational Tattoo Fine Line Rose Tattoo

2. AK

AK is another of our favourite fine line tattoo artists. Admire the crisp lines and diverse designs.

Ballerina Fine Line Tattoo Fine Line Tattoo Holding Roses Snowflake Fine Line Tattoo Fine Line & Custom Lettering Tattoo

3. Gail Shapira

Gail’s creative talents come to life with her fine line designs.

Moth Blackwork Tattoo Fine Line Tattoo Toronto & Vancouver Fine Line Origami Tattoo Fine Line Minimalism Tattoo

4. Ethan

Ethan Albert may be last on this list, but his fine line tattoos are not to be missed.

Fine Line Tattoo Koi Fish Globe Compass Tattoo Fine Line Minimalist Shoe Tattoo Fine Line Fine Line Flower Tattoo

Best Realism Tattoo Artists in Toronto & Vancouver

1. Kchen

Kevin Chen is an unreal talent in realism tattoos. His realistic styling is sought out well beyond the city’s bounds.

Animal Realism Tattoo Clock Realism Tattoo Realistic Drum Tattoo Realism Lion Tattoo

2. Martin Tran

Few can match Martin Tran’s ability to create realistic tattoos. With portraits, animals, and objects alike, his realism tattoos are uncanny.

Photo Realism Tattoo Realistic Animals Tattoos Realism Guitar Tattoo Portrait Realism Tattoo

3. Branden

Branden AKA Stabby Mcgee’ piercing designs translate just as impressively to the skin as to the sketch pad.

Realism Tattoo Celebrity Gorilla Realism Tattoo Greek God Tattoo Realism Realistic Flower Tattoo

4. George

George is an unusual talent among realism tattoo artists in Toronto. His lifelike tattoos have distinctive personalities.

Realism tattoo

Realism Tattoo by George

Realism tattoo Whales

 

Best Asian Tattoo Artists In Toronto & Vancouver

1. Tommy Guo

From koi fish to dragons, Tommy Guo is one of the greats in Asian style tattoos.

Koi Fish Asian Colour Tattoo Dragon Asian Tattoos Samurai Asian Colour Tattoo Asian Colour Tattoo

2. CJ

A quick look at her koi fish and peonies are enough to see that CJ is a blossoming talent among Asian tattoo artists in Toronto & Vancouver.

Peonies Asian Colour Tattoo Asian Dragon Tattoo Toronto & Vancouver Asian Tattoo Peonies Blackwork Asian Black And White Koi Tattoo

3. Louisa

Louisa’s undeniable talent puts her among the best Asian style tattoo artists in Toronto & Vancouver.

Asian Phoenix Tattoo Cat Asian Tattoo Fox Asian Colour Tattoo Black And White Asian Samurai Tattoo

4. Patrick Paul O’Neil

Patrick’s colourful and vivid Asian tattoos are some of the coolest and most exciting we’ve seen.

Asian Hand Tattoo Dragon Dragon Asian Colour Tattoo Woman Asian Colour Tattoo Shoulder Tattoo Asian Dragon

Best Illustrative Tattoo Artists In Toronto & Vancouver

1. Jeff

AKA Jeff Boyardee. The guy can draw. The only thing more impressive than his sketches are when he puts ink to skin for his illustrative tattoos.

Illustrative Sleeve Tattoo Illustrative Tattoo Samurai Star Wars Illustrative Samurai Cat Tattoo Illustrative Cat Tattoo

2. Tegan Rush

Found at our Yonge and Gerrard shop, Tegan is one of the best illustrative tattoo artists around.

Fox Bird Colour Tattoo Rocket Ship Illustrative Tattoo Tiger Illustrative Tattoo Illustrative Wolf Tattoo

3. Alex Rodway

From HP Lovecraft designs to Dragon Ball tattoos, few can translate illustrative stylings to the skin like Alex Rodway.

Illustrative Dragon Ball Tattoo SciFi Illustrative Tattoo Flying Cat Illustrative Tattoo HP Lovecraft Illustrative Tattoo

4. Katie Wilson

Katie Wilson is a top tattoo artist who found her way to Toronto & Vancouver. Chronic Ink is glad to have her and her illustrative tattoo skills.

Simpsons Illustrative Tattoo Illustrative Tattoo Arm Illustrative Hands Tattoo Illustrative Elbow Tattoo

Popular Tattoo Styles In Toronto & Vancouver

In pursuit of creating a mecca for the best art tattoos in the world, we place a lot of value in specialists. At our outset our specialty was in Asian tattoos. As we grew, we began working with artists who specialize in the coolest and most popular tattoo styles in Toronto & Vancouver.

Watercolour tattoos

Also known as painterly tattoos, watercolour tattoos are among the fastest growing trends in Toronto & Vancouver. These pieces end up looking more like a painting than a tattoo. Bright colourful, flowing ink contrasts against sharp black lines for unique pieces of art.

Check out some of our favourite pieces from our talented watercolour tattoo artists:

Watercolor Eyeball Tattoo Flexing Woman Watercolour Tattoo Compass Watercolour Tattoo Watercolour Flowers

Fine Line Tattoos

Toronto & Vancouver is fast to adopt the latest tattoo styles. One of the newer styles gaining popularity in the city is Fine line tattooing. Fine line tattoo artists take advantage of evolving tattoo technology. Artists create very detailed pieces with needles designed for finer lines.

Our fine line specialists train on this new equipment to create elegant designs. Here are a few of our favourites:

Moon Fine Line Tattoo Fine Line Lion Tattoo Minimalist Fine Line Tattoo Time Wave Fine Line Tattoo

Realism Tattoo

Realism tattoos rely on an especially talented artist. They can take a little longer, but there is nothing quite as striking as a good black and white or colour realism tattoo. If ever there was a style to make people stop and take a second look, this is it.

Here are a few of our favourite pieces by our realism tattoo artists:

Realism Butterfly Tattoo Realism Greek God Tattoo Realism Michael Jordan Tattoo

Asian Tattoos

Asian tattoos are the lifeblood of Chronic Ink. Our artists’ asian tattoos helped to launch this brand and continue to be an important part of who we are. We remain among the few Toronto & Vancouver tattoo shops still offering traditional Asian tattoos.

Here are a few of our favourite Asian tattoos:

Asian Dragon Sleeve Tattoo

Toronto & Vancouver Cover Up Artists

Cover up tattoos play different roles for different people. For some, they’re a way to get rid of old tattoos. For others, they’re a chance to improve or change existing ink. Regardless of the purpose, you need an experienced cover up artist.

A good cover up tattoo requires foresight and an understanding of how to blend existing lines, styles and colours into the new tattoo. They are a second chance to get the tattoo you really wanted, or a less expensive alternative to tattoo removal.

In many cases, cover up tattoo artists will insist on tattoo fading before they put ink to skin.

Tattoo fading for cover ups

Most people who want to get rid of a tattoo ask the same question, “how do I choose between a tattoo removal or a cover up?”

Ultimately it comes down to what you’re hoping to accomplish. A cover up tattoo is generally faster and cheaper. Even with evolving laser technology, tattoo removal requires multiple sessions with 2+ weeks in between treatments. However, only tattoo removal completely gets rid of the tattoo.

If you don’t want a tattoo, go the removal route. If you are looking to get a better tattoo, or just want something new, a cover up is the way to go. Often, your artist will still ask you to go in for 1-2 removal sessions. This helps to fade the tattoo, making it easier to work with and opening up creative possibilities.

The Importance of Picking The Best Tattoo Artist

Choosing the best tattoo artist is important. And it goes beyond just finding someone who can translate a sketch to skin. It’s an art form that takes years to develop the skill and knowledge to provide the best:

  • Quality
  • Safety
  • Experience

Quality

Creating the highest-quality tattoos is a two-way conversation. The best tattoo artists in Toronto & Vancouver start with a tattoo consultation. In this consultation they determine what you want from the tattoo and offer suggestions of things like:

  • Placement
  • Style
  • Feel
  • Colours
  • Sizing

The artist uses this consult to inform their tattoo design. Once complete they show it to your for approval and/or feedback until you get the design you love.

Design is important, but it’s only one aspect of tattoo quality. The artist also needs to use the right tattooing techniques. Good technique means a better, safer, and longer lasting tattoo – and can take years to master.

Penetration depth is a good example of this. The tattoo artists need to know how deep to tattoo. If they go too shallow, the tattoo may fade early. This is common with home tattooing kits or inexperienced artists. Going too deep is painful and is unsafe.

The best tattoo artists find that goldilocks depth that’s just right. A high-quality tattoo is beautiful, lasting, and safe.

Getting A Tattoo

Safety

Any good artist makes tattoo safety a priority. Safe tattooing means having the right equipment, qualifications, training, and sanitation practices. When you’re picking a tattoo artist, take a look at their space.

Is their workspace prepped and clean? Do they have gloves and sharps disposal bins? All equipment should be in individually sealed, sterile packages. An artist who reuses equipment intended for one-time use puts you at risk of infection or disease.

Safety-conscious artists open sealed equipment packages in front of the you, so you know the equipment is sterile.

Experience

An experienced artist provides a better  tattoo experience. Factors like safety and tattoo quality are all elements of experience. The best tattoo artists in Toronto & Vancouver took years to hone their craft, and the expertise shows.

Their artwork is better, as is their process. An experienced tattoo artist doesn’t just leave you feeling good about the final product. They help you feel confident and comfortable before and during the tattoo process. They appreciate that one of the best parts about getting inked is the tattoo process itself.

Best Tattoo Artists Toronto & Vancouver

How To Become A Tattoo Artist In Toronto & Vancouver

At our studio, we’re all proud to have chosen tattoo artist as a career. It’s a lot of work and it’s not for everyone, but we can’t imagine a more rewarding profession. With the opportunity to be creative and make a real living as an artist, it’s no wonder so many people want to become tattoo artists.

In Toronto & Vancouver, there is no governing authority, licensing, or certification to be a tattoo artist. In theory, all you need is to find a studio with an up-to-date BodySafe certificate.

Of course, the reality isn’t that simple. If you want to set up at any halfway decent tattoo shop you’ll need some experience.

Too often, people chase the dream by setting up shop in their parents kitchen, doling out tattoos to friends and family. The started from the bottom, now we here approach is often romanticized by aspiring tattoo artists. But the best tattoo artists in Toronto & Vancouver didn’t start out on their own. They began with apprenticeships.

Getting a tattoo apprenticeship

An apprenticeship gives you the tools and experience you need to hone your craft and build a reputation.  If you’re serious about tattooing, be serious about finding a place to learn. Don’t just settle for any apprenticeship, find a reputable shop with artists whose styles you want to learn from.

We have a 4 point checklist for getting a tattoo apprenticeship:

  1. Call Ahead – Respect their time, don’t drop by unannounced.
  2. Have A Portfolio – Even if it’s just drawings. Bring drawing tools as well.
  3. Have A Resume – Not everyone requires it, but it helps to prove your work ethic and experience.
  4. Bring Your ID – Most Toronto & Vancouver studios won’t take anyone under 18.