01/02/2017 09:38 GMT

Ed Sheeran's Tattoo Artist Confesses He Doesn't Understand Criticism Of His Work

'I don't think his style is necessarily for everybody.'

The tattoo artist responsible for Ed Sheeran’s famous inkings says he doesn’t understand why the singer gets so much criticism for his tattoos.

Kevin Paul, 38, who first met Sheeran when he was on tour with Rizzle Kicks in 2013, is the man behind many celebrity tattoos including Rihanna’s, Harry Styles’ and James Arthur’s. 

Paul helped Sheeran design his now infamous lion tattoo on his chest, which Sheeran admitted to GQ magazine, had been widely criticised by the press and his fans.

But the Midlands-based father-of-two said he doesn’t understand the backlash. 

“I don’t know why it got bad press - maybe just because it was so much bigger than any of the other tattoos he had done at that point,” Paul told The Huffington Post UK.

The stripped version of 'Beer, boots and boobs ' is out next month

A photo posted by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos) on

“The thing was, when that photo went out that was three hours into a 15-hour session,” Paul added. “It wasn’t complete.

It was inevitable that people were going to express different opinions on it – that’s just life.” 

Halfway and ouch

A photo posted by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos) on

Sheeran has explained he chose to get the big cat design after finding out that he had sold out three nights at London’s Wembley arena in 2015, one of the many sentimental reasons behind his body art. 

In fact, all of his tattoos are inspired by special moments in his life, Paul said: “He doesn’t just copy fashion trends with his tattoos – every little thing has a meaning.

“He likes to use his own ideas and knows what he wants and how he’d like to have it done, so I don’t really have much input.”

Although Paul says he has never stopped Sheeran from getting any of his tattoo ideas, there have been other people who have influenced his choices. 

Friend and former-One Direction singer Harry Styles convinced Sheeran to get a penguin on his arm: “Ed and Harry were talking the night before I went round about growing up and what they had both been into. They both said that they loved Pingu – random I know - but when you think of your childhood it often puts a smile on your face, so why not?”

Paul admits he knows that Sheeran’s style is not everyone’s cup of tea: “He’s got a mad style when it comes to picking tattoos, but when you get to know Ed you soon understand they really suit him.”

“I don’t think his style is necessarily for everybody and it’s not actually like the normal work I’m more known for, but it suits him and looks really good now it’s all coming together.