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Are you eager to learn more about tattooing?
Then take a look at this list of the best tattoo books that will inspire you.
We found tattoo artist-recommended flash books filled with stunning tattoo designs and vintage tattoo stencils.
There are also autobiographies of top artists and books about the history of tattooing.
Plus, you can educate yourself about cultural tattoos around the world.
Any of these top tattoo books will look right at home in your studio, too.
Let’s dive right into the reviews now.
When you see it, Tattoo Prodigies is clearly a coffee table book. It’s big, it’s thick, and it’s printed in full color.
Inside, you’ll find galleries of the most impressive work by the world’s best artists. It also includes interviews of the tattoo artists themselves.
Curious about vintage tattoos? Then grab this book with more than 500 vintage photographs from the 1800s through the 1980s. You’ll see military, religious, tribal, and parlor tattoo designs.
The author has his own tattoo parlor in New York, and his work has been on display around the world.
Inked Magazine praised this book for its coverage of patriotic and nautical tattoos and superstitions. Playboy said this is a book you’ll find yourself opening again and again.
It features over 250 pages of anecdotes and distinctive Body art done by artist like Sailor Jerry Collins, Pinky Yun, and Ed Hardy.
Are you aware that tattooed women in America outnumber men with tattoos? Did you know that Winston Churchill’s mother had a tattoo on her wrist?
Learn more about the fascinating history of women with tattoos from the time it was forbidden to wear ink to modern cancer survivors and trendsetters. The book contains photos and full-color images from around the world and the past to the present.
This book is interesting for both tattoo artists and people who enjoy history and tattoos. It collects historical texts from anthropologists, criminologists, doctors, and artists.
Stretching from ancient Greece to the invention of the tattooing machine, it covers tribal art and more.
Explore body art from around the world in The World Atlas of Tattoo. It covers traditions and history as well as modern tattoo artists.
Although tattooing is acceptable and fashionable these days, that wasn’t always the case. Cultural historian Michael McCabe won the trust of the small community of artists in New York City before body art was banned in 1961. Find out what he learned as he interviewed them.
Jump forward to modern times and see the world of tattooing through the eyes of Kat Von D. As you know, she was the star of the TV series LA Ink.
The unique appearance of the book itself hints at the exclusive perspective within it. Not only does it provide images of the tools of the trade, but it also features Kat’s work and pieces by other famous artists.
Celebrity artist Bang Bang has worked on Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and many other celebrities. This book is his story of how he started as a self-taught artist in his mom’s kitchen to where he is today.
Get ready to enjoy celebrity photos and an insider perspective of what it’s like to be an artist to the stars.
“Don” Ed Hardy, the Godfather of American Tattoos, tells his life story in this book. It’s a fascinating read to see how he began tattooing neighborhood kids when he was only 10, and moved on to transform the tattooing industry.
You’ll discover what it was like for him to ink Yakuza, open his first shop, and work with Sailor Jerry.
Instead of seeing it from the artist point of view, take a look at the client’s experience. Artist, professor, and filmmaker Kip Fulbeck interviews everyone from Hells Angels to celebrities and regular folks to find out the stories behind their tattoos.
Dig deep into the tattoo underground to see the latest in contemporary tattoo culture.
The Tattoo Sourcebook contains almost 2000 designs created by artists around the world. If you need inspiration, this is the perfect place to look.
The book was compiled by the team at TattooFinder, one of the top sites in the world.
Artist Mitch O’Connell has released multiple books containing hundreds of tattoo designs. He’s an excellent resource for both you and your clients.
His distinctive style is “Lowbrow.” It harkens back to the pop art days of pinup girls and hot rods.
Another of the best tattoo books for beginners is this one from Tattoo Johnny. It organizes the best designs from the website, including everything from religious images to flowers and fairies.
TattooFinder is also behind this book of stencils for novice artists and people who want to create their own tattoo design. It includes 50 popular categories and more than 1000 ideas to get you started.
Related Reading: How To Make a Tattoo Stencil at Home?
Are you anxious to break in those new tattoo inks? Then crack open this book full of classic flash designs done in red, yellow, green, black, and brown. The author is a professional tattoo artist who reworked famous tattoos by well-known artists.
Speaking of famous tattoo artists, here’s a book collecting the work of Sailor Jerry Collins. It covers his career from the 1940s to the 1970s.
It includes images of black and white hand-cut stencils so that you can work on your own line drawings.
Jonathan Shaw’s life is far from boring, and so is his book. It’s his personal collection of more than 300 pieces of flash featuring retro art. The majority are designs popular from the 1900s to the 1960s.
Find out why Jonathan Shaw’s life seems stranger than fiction when you read his autobiography.
Flip through this inspirational collection of original designs, and you’ll be eager to break out the black ink and get started.
Read interviews with master tattoo artists from around the world. View visionary body art on almost every page.
Have you seen the site TeachMeToTattoo.com? This book was created to accompany the website and help hopeful artists turn into professional tattooers.
It’s excellent for apprentices who need to know how to build a tattoo machine, configure it, work with ink, and keep everything sterile and safe.
Guy Aitchinson has finally released the second edition of this tattoo education book. It includes a DVD that illustrates material discussed inside.
Some of the topics covered are sanitation, the machine, the power supply, needles, pigment, stencils, the process, and aftercare as well as shop etiquette.
The author has 20 years in the tattoo profession.
If you can look past the fact that the author published independently on CreateSpace, and that the book could benefit from a little editing, you can reap rich insight from it.
The author, Erick Alayon, began the art of tattooing professionally in 1988. Besides the basics of how to tattoo, he explains additional topics like frame geometry and photography.
Flip Buchanan has more than three decades of experience as a tattoo artist. Let him teach you how to conceptualize stunning body art from start to finish. He discusses placement, color choice, and flow, as well as the meaning of popular symbols.
There’s also a gallery of pieces done by tattoo artists with diverse styles.
Explore the world of Russian criminal tattoos with this first volume in the series. It has a collection of more than 3000 tattoos documented by a prison employee.
Warning, this is not a book for children. It contains graphic content.
Learn about the meaning behind Polynesian tattoos. Also, find out how to apply them with traditional methods.
The book includes a dictionary to help you find the symbols you need.
Irezumi, or Japanese tattoos, are often requested in tattoo studios around the world. Use this book to ink accurate kanji symbols.
But that’s not all. Discover the history and meanings of Japanese tattooing from hand-poked tebori to modern anime designs.
Explore this influential book about African body art to understand the history of tattoos and piercings. It covers cultures like the Maasai and Hamar with over 250 photographs.
The first tattoos were stick and poke. The tradition continues today. Check out this book about the history and culture of working intricate designs into the skin without tattoo machines. Read our guide to know more Stick and Poke Tattoos here.
If you’re considering removing a tattoo, get this book first, it will help you understand the process.
Explore the intricate world of Celtic body art with this book of intricate designs. This body art has 12 blue and black ink images of mythical figures and geometric patterns.
Keep in mind this is a book of temporary tattoos made to apply to the skin with water. Even so, it’s ideal for tracing and making stencils.
It’s relaxing to doodle and color. Let this coloring book give you new ideas or use it as a place to unwind and perfect your coloring technique.
Use the tips in this book to improve your shading. Although whatever the book conatins it’s focused on are done with pencil and paper, it covers all the basics like crosshatching, stippling, contrast, and focal points.
Brush up on your realistic drawing skills. You’ll perfect a sense of depth, review how to deal with challenging textures and inject personality into expressions.
We couldn’t resist this charming children’s book, this book contains where the father tells his young child about the stories behind each of his tattoos.
If you’d like to send someone a tattoo book in prison, check with their rules first. Unfortunately, many Body art books and magazines are banned.
We hope we helped you find books to encourage you as an artist today. Tattooing is more than a job; it’s a lifestyle with an endless range of possibilities.
What books about tattooing are you reading these days? Let us know in the comments below.
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