Body art and tattoos are more popular than ever. If you are interested in learning about the art of tattoos, check out this list of some of the best tattooing books.

Table of Contents

Tattooing books

More and more people are getting tattoos. So, why the fuss? For one, body art is beautiful; secondly, a tattoo allows you to make an impactful statement. You may be interested in tattooing as an art form, or you may be considering getting a tattoo.

One way or another, it’s worth checking out some of the best tattooing books. The books below deliver all the information and aspects of modern tattoo art. Written by professionals, they provide a background into the history of tattoo art while delving into the challenges you may face during training.

If you read any of the books, you will learn that tattoo artists must undergo intensive training before opening a tattoo parlor. What’s more, if you want to choose this career path, you will need to become knowledgeable in art, graphics, design, and beyond.

The best tattooing books to read today

Below, you will find a selection of books for the most eager tattoo enthusiasts. The book selection features something for everyone, from well-known tattoo bibles or reference books to tattoo-oriented New York Times and Amazon bestsellers.

Even if you want to read up on American tattoo artist Bert Grimm or check out some of the mind-blowing Ed Hardy tattoos, you’ve come to the right place. From tattoo machines, tattoo stencils, tattoo flashes, and lettering, you will also learn a lot about what it takes to make it as an illustrator in the world of tattoos.

INK: The Art of Tattoo by Victionary

Published by art and design house Victionary, this book brings you through the tattoo history and features beautiful images of traditional tattoos, skin art, vintage tattoos, and more. INK is an art book delivering in-depth information and stunning design in spades.

This new book is a must-read for anyone considering getting a tattoo or a career in tattoo artistry.

Tattoo by Henk Schiffmacher

Much-loved tattoo artist Henk Schiffmacher’s tattoo history book is well worth checking out. The book covers 240 years of body art and features the author’s famous private collection. The narration is captivating, and the depth and beauty of the content are fantastic. Moreover, this is a fascinating look at tattoo culture.

The World Atlas of Tattoo by Anna Felicity Friedman

If you are going to purchase this book, opt for the hardcover. The World Atlas of Tattoo is the ultimate reference book for anyone interested in learning how different cultures worldwide have shaped tattoo art.

You will discover tattoo masters from faraway places as the book’s authors explore geographical and cultural influences. The book celebrates diversity and tradition as it unfolds the hybrid nature of tattoo art and design.

Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo by C.R. Jordan

C. R. Jordan’s book is a must-read for anyone toying with the idea of becoming a tattoo artist. It delivers a comprehensive introduction and features many fundamentals, such as how to build a tattoo machine and what needles are best.

After purchasing the book, you get access to a designated tattoo art website where more information is available.

Vintage Tattoos by Carol Clerk

If you are looking for old-school or vintage tattoos, check out Carol Clerk’s book. The book combines colorful design with the eclectic personalities of the most famous body artists.

As it covers much of the last century, the book features insights into skin art’s symbolism, social significance, and history. You will find Q&A or FAQ sessions with some of the most iconic tattoo artists in the back of the book.

Tattoo Designs of Japan by Horiyoshi III and Don Ed Hardy

Horiyoshi II and Don Ed have tracked down the most stunning Japanese tattoos. If you want a traditional Japanese design, you will soon discover Japan has a riveting tattoo history.

The Tattoo Coloring Book by Oliver Munden

Oliver Munden’s coloring book for adults features breathtaking tattoo imagery from all over the world. Enjoy inking like a professional illustrator while taking in the best of tattoo art and design.

Japanese Tattoos: Meanings, Shapes, and Motifs by Yori Moriarty

The intensely captivating beauty of Japanese tattoo art makes this book a must-have for any tattoo enthusiast. While reading about the rich traditions, you learn about the shapes, meanings, and motifs that make Japanese skin art so extraordinary.

Japan has a wealth of designs featuring mythical creatures, Buddhist imagery, supernatural beasts, and fabulous flowers. The author travels through them all to explain Japanese tattoo history and meaning. As you would expect, the book also delivers countless beautiful designs.

Try Speechify Audiobooks for great tattoo stories

If you prefer learning about tattoo art via audiobooks, it’s worth checking out Speechify Audiobooks. The website contains several tattoo-themed books, including flash books to help you master designs. It is also an excellent way to multitask while practicing your graft or engrossing yourself in work.

Sign up for Speechify Audiobooks to receive your first premium tattoo audiobook for free, and browse Speechify’s extensive library of fascinating audiobook titles.


Can tattooing be self-taught?

Many famous tattoo artists started out learning the art by themselves. The thing is, if you dream of becoming a professional, going it alone makes the journey longer and more difficult. Plus, you will need to get certified to set up a tattoo parlor.

What is the best way to learn to tattoo?

The best way to learn is to enroll in a tattooing academy. That way, you have access to the right equipment and the support of experts.

What are the 13 different styles of tattooing?

Here is a list of the 13 currently most popular tattooing styles:

  • Realism

  • Geometric

  • Trash Polka

  • Japanese

  • Chicano

  • Biomechanical

  • Traditional

  • Neo-Traditional

  • Tribal

  • Watercolor

  • Script and Tattoo Lettering

  • Blackwork

  • Stick and Poke

What are the benefits of tattooing?

Tattooing is one of the most unique forms of self-expression.

What is the #1 rule of tattooing?

While the best tattoo professionals have a code of ethics, the number one rule is: Tattoo artists will say no to you if they feel it is appropriate. They will advise you and work with you to make the process work.

Why does tattooing have a bad reputation?

While tattoos are now popular among celebrities and across society, people used to associate tattoos with criminal activity, prison, and violence.

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