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Our review of the Top 10 Tattoo Books for Beginners

Updated: Jan 4

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When diving into the world of tattoos, having the best tattoo book is crucial, especially for beginners who are looking to learn and get inspired. In this article, I will provide a list of the top 10 tattoo books that I've used and referred to that are highly recommended for tattoo beginners and existing tattoo artists alike. These books cover a range of topics, including tattoo fundamentals, tattoo career advice, Japanese tattoos, small tattoos, vintage tattoos, and more. Whether you are looking for practical guidance or artistic inspiration, these tattoo books have got what you are after.

Best Tattoo Books Key Takeaways:

  • Best tattoo books for beginners provide valuable knowledge and inspiration.

  • Top-rated tattoo books cover a wide range of topics, including tattoo fundamentals, career advice, specific tattoo genres, and more.

  • Recommended tattoo books offer insights into the rich history and traditions of tattooing.

  • Must-have tattoo books are essential additions to any tattoo artist's library.

  • Popular tattoo books showcase a diverse collection of tattoo designs and concepts.

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Tattoo Book for Beginners: Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo

One of the best tattoo books for beginners is "Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo" by C.R. Jordan. This book provides a step-by-step guide to achieving tattooing prowess, starting with simple skills and gradually building your knowledge and technique. Written in easy-to-understand language, this book is suitable for tattoo artists at any level. I can't remember how many times I have given it to beginner tattooist and I'm very thankful that it always finds its way back to my bookshelf.

Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo

It covers a wide range of topics, including tattoo equipment, hygiene practices, design principles, and more. "Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo" is a must-have book for anyone who wants to become a tattoo artist. It takes a modern method and gives useful advice. The book stresses how important it is to understand the basics and gives in-depth explanations and useful advice for learning every part of the art form.

"Tattooing is an intricate craft that requires a solid foundation. This book delves into the fundamentals of modern tattooing, equipping beginners with the knowledge and skills needed to create professional and stunning tattoos." - C.R. Jordan

With its comprehensive coverage of tattooing fundamentals, this book can serve as a guide to help you develop a strong technical foundation and explore the endless possibilities of modern tattooing.

Key Topics Covered

Benefits for Beginners

Tattoo equipment and tools

Learn about the essential tools needed for tattooing and how to use them effectively.

Hygiene practices and safety

Understand the importance of maintaining a clean and safe tattooing environment.

Tattoo design principles

Explore the fundamentals of designing tattoos, including composition, shading, and color theory.

Techniques and application

Discover various tattooing techniques and learn how to execute them with precision.

Tattoo aftercare

Gain knowledge on how to properly care for tattoos and promote optimal healing.

With its user-friendly format and valuable insights, Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo sets a solid foundation for beginners, laying the groundwork for your journey to become skilled and proficient tattoo artists.

The Tattoo Textbook: Escape the Grind, Do What You Love, and Launch Your Kick-Ass Tattoo Career

Launching a successful tattoo career requires more than just artistic talent; it requires practical knowledge and business savvy. That's where The Tattoo Textbook comes in. This comprehensive guide, written by Shelly Dax, I have to say, deserves its place amongst the best tattoo books for beginners. It provides valuable advice and guidance for aspiring tattoo artists looking to turn their passion into a thriving career. I look back on my own career and this book would have been very useful when starting out and trying to finding my way.

The Tattoo Textbook by Shelly Dax

In The Tattoo Textbook, you'll find a wealth of practical information on every aspect of the tattoo industry. From building a portfolio and finding clients to marketing your tattoo business, this book covers it all. Dax shares her own experiences and insights, as well as tips from other successful tattoo artists, giving you a well-rounded perspective on what it takes to succeed in this competitive industry.

Whether you're a beginner just starting your tattoo journey or an experienced artist looking to take your career to the next level, The Tattoo Textbook has something to offer. With its easy-to-understand language and practical advice, this book is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to escape the daily grind and pursue their passion for tattooing.

Key Topics Covered in The Tattoo Textbook




Introduction to the tattoo industry


Building a strong portfolio


Finding and attracting clients


Marketing and promoting your tattoo business


Tattoo safety and hygiene practices


Developing your artistic style


Managing finances and business operations

"The Tattoo Textbook" is not just a guidebook; it's a roadmap to success in the tattoo industry. Whether you dream of opening your own studio or simply want to thrive as a tattoo artist, this book is a must-read.

Artistry on Skin: 'Tattoo Prodigies'

"Tattoo Prodigies: A Collection of the Best Tattoos by the World's Best Tattoo Artists" is a visual masterpiece curated by Joanne Berry. This book is a remarkable journey into the contemporary world of tattoo art, celebrating the skills and creativity of some of the world's most gifted tattoo artists.

This book which sits proudly amongst the best tattoo books for beginners and one I always recommend to my apprentices. It commences with an enlightening overview of tattoo art's evolution, from its fringe origins to its current place in the mainstream art landscape and provides an essential foundation for understanding the subsequent display of 180 extraordinary tattoo artists and their exceptional creations.

Tattoo Prodigies by Joanne Berry

The true heart of Tattoo Prodigies lies in its stunning visuals. Each artist's work is presented through high-quality images, revealing the intricate details, textures, and colors of their tattoos. The styles range from traditional and neo-traditional to realism, watercolor, and surrealism, offering a comprehensive view of contemporary tattoo art.

Tattoo Prodigies really shines with its wide range of styles. These tattoos are more than just works of art; they're unique stories that have been written into skin to show feelings, memories, and passions. I'm always amazed at how much meaning ink can convey.

The book's artist profiles tell us a lot about the artists' pasts, inspirations, and how they come up with their ideas. This background makes it easier to appreciate the beauty in each tattoo and in the artists who made them.

What makes this book unique is that it focuses on how each artist is unique. Even though they all have tattoos on them, the wide range of styles, subjects, and execution shows how creative the tattoo community is.

The book also talks about the cultural and emotional meanings of tattoos, focusing on how they can be important ways to express yourself, heal, and connect which I consider an important skill for beginners to learn.

"Each tattoo is a masterpiece, a brushstroke of personal stories and human artistry etched onto the canvas of our skin, telling tales that linger long after the ink dries." - 'Tattoo Prodigies: A Collection of the Best Tattoos by the World's Best Tattoo Artists'

Books on Japanese Tattoos: Japanese Tattoos: Meanings, Shapes, and Motifs

If you are like me and are fascinated by the intricate world of Japanese tattoos, "Japanese Tattoos: Meanings, Shapes, and Motifs" by Yori Moriarty is a must-read book. This is the best book I have found that focuses on Japanese tattoos. This insightful book delves into the rich history and symbolism of traditional Japanese tattoos, known as irezumi. It explores the meanings and motifs behind these stunning designs, providing a deeper understanding of the art form.

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

The book features beautiful illustrations of various Japanese tattoo styles, highlighting the unique characteristics of each. From delicate cherry blossoms to fierce dragons, the visuals showcase the diverse range of designs and themes that make Japanese tattoos so captivating.

Key Features:


Exploration of Japanese tattoo meanings and motifs

Provides a deeper understanding of the art form

Beautiful illustrations of various Japanese tattoo styles

Visually captivating and inspiring

Insights into the culture and history of traditional Japanese tattoos

Offers a comprehensive view of the art form

Whether you are a tattoo artist looking to incorporate Japanese elements into your work or simply an enthusiast interested in the rich cultural heritage behind these tattoos, "Japanese Tattoos: Meanings, Shapes, and Motifs" is an essential addition to your collection.

Eternal Ink: 'Forever More: The New Tattoo' Unveils the Art of Self-Expression

Hannah Graves's book "Forever More: The New Tattoo" is an interesting look at modern tattoo art that goes deep into the world of ink. In this beautifully put together book, Graves takes readers on an inspiring trip through the history of tattooing, showing how it has grown from a way to decorate the body to an art form that combines tradition, innovation, and personal expression.

Forever More: The New Tattoo by Hannah Graves

The book is a visual feast and one of the best tattoo books for tattoo beginners with pages that are beautifully laid out and full of striking pictures of tattoos that are creatively out of the box. I believe that Forever More does a great job of showing how tattooing has gone from being weird or taboo to popular, showing it as a strong way to express yourself. There are a lot of different tattoo styles shown to the readers, such as traditional, neotraditional, illustrative, and abstract. Each style is shown in amazing detail.

The in depth talks with famous and up and coming tattoo artists are one of the best things about the book and the part I enjoyed the most. Sharing the stories behind the ink and getting a look into the minds of the people who made the works of art is possible through these talks. Not only does Graves make sure that the readers see these amazing tattoos, but he also makes sure that they understand what they mean to both the artist and the person who has them was.

I remember growing up and early in my career that tattoos were taboo and for the bad boys, bikers and criminals or where used as a sign of rebellion. In recent years, people have become more accepting and stopped seeing tattoos as signs of rebellion and started seeing them as works of art that connect people to their history, culture, or special memories. The book does a good job of showing how tattoos are signs of identity, self-discovery, and important life events.

The world view in this book is what makes it so interesting. Graves doesn't just look into one area; she takes tattoos from all over the world and puts them together in a collection. This global view adds to the idea that tattooing is an art form that goes beyond countries and cultures, a language that everyone can understand through ink.

People who like the art of tattoos and people who are tattoo beginners looking to be inspired to create their own work, will both enjoy Forever More. The book gives a complete overview of the world of modern tattooing to people who have never done it before. Tattoo artists with a lot of experience will also find new ideas in the creative designs and stories that go with the stunning images.

In a world where tattoos have gone from being counterculture markers to admired works of art, Forever More is an important and helpful book. With great care, Graves shows how the art, culture, and individuality of tattoos have become a part of modern life. This book is more than just a collection of beautiful tattoos; it shows how this art form I have loved for the majority of my life has changed so much over the years.



Evolving Artistry

The book explores the ever-evolving nature of tattoo artistry and how it continues to redefine traditional boundaries.

Personal Stories and Expression

"Forever More" delves into the deeply personal stories and individual expressions behind each tattoo, emphasizing their significance.

Diverse Tattoo Styles

Different tattoo styles, such as blackwork, minimalism, and vibrant colors, are celebrated, reflecting the broad spectrum of contemporary tattoo art.

Tattoo as a Cultural Phenomenon

The book investigates the impact of tattoos on culture, how they've become a cultural phenomenon, and their role in breaking stereotypes.

Tattoo Book About Small Tattoos: The Big Book of Small Tattoos

If you're a fan of small and minimalist tattoos, then "The Big Book of Small Tattoos" by Roberto Gemori is a must have addition to your tattoo library. This book is filled with over 400 small tattoo designs, ranging from delicate flowers to simple symbols and meaningful quotes. Each design is carefully curated to inspire and provide a wide range of options for your next tiny ink.

The Big Book of Small Tattoos" by Roberto Gemori

The Big Book of Small Tattoos showcases various styles and themes, allowing you to explore different artistic directions for your tattooing. From minimalistic line work to intricate dotwork, this book highlights the versatility and beauty of small tattoos.

Small tattoos have gained immense popularity in recent years, thanks to their ability to convey meaningful messages in a subtle and elegant way. These tattoos are perfect for those who prefer a more discreet look or want to start their tattoo journey with a small, less intimidating design. They are also key to building out patchwork tattoos.

Small tattoos also offer the flexibility to be placed virtually anywhere on the body, making them suitable for those who want to experiment with different placements. Whether you prefer a tiny wrist tattoo, a delicate finger tattoo, or a discreet ankle tattoo, The Big Book of Small Tattoos has 400 designs that will inspire you.

Remember, when it comes to tattoos, size doesn't matter. What matters is the personal significance and connection to your chosen design. So embrace the beauty of small tattoos and let The Big Book of Small Tattoos be your guide to finding the perfect design that speaks to you.

Most Diverse Tattoo Book: The World Atlas of Tattoo

When it comes to exploring the vast and diverse world of tattoo artistry, The World Atlas of Tattoo by Anna Felicity Friedman is a must-have book for tattoo enthusiasts and artists alike. This comprehensive book takes readers on a visual journey around the globe, showcasing over 700 stunning images of tattoos from various cultures and traditions. From ancient tribal designs to modern interpretations, this book offers a captivating glimpse into the rich tapestry of tattoo genres and traditions that exist worldwide.

The World Atlas of Tattoo by Anna Felicity Friedman

With each turn of the page, The World Atlas of Tattoo reveals a new facet of global tattoo artistry. From intricate Polynesian tattoos to bold American traditional designs, readers can feast their eyes on the incredible diversity and creativity that exists in the tattoo industry. This book not only showcases the art itself but also provides background information on different tattoo traditions, highlighting the cultural significance and symbolism behind each design.

One of the unique features of The World Atlas of Tattoo is its ability to inspire and educate readers about lesser known tattoo genres and styles. I found this fascinating and learnt a good deal about other cultures and their tattoos. Whether you're fascinated by ancient Celtic knotwork, intricate Indian mehndi, or avant-garde tattoo techniques, this book has something for everyone. It serves as a valuable resource for tattoo artists seeking inspiration, collectors looking to expand their knowledge, or simply anyone with an appreciation for the art of tattooing.

Tattoo Genres and Traditions Featured in The World Atlas of Tattoo

Tattoo Genre/Tradition



Polynesia, New Zealand




Ireland, Scotland




Africa, Indigenous cultures worldwide


United States


Various regions worldwide


India, Nepal

With its stunning visuals, informative content, and global perspective, The World Atlas of Tattoo is an essential addition to any tattoo lover's library. Whether you're seeking inspiration, want to learn about different tattoo traditions, or simply appreciate the beauty of tattoo art from around the world, this book offers a captivating and educational experience.

Tattoo Book with Simple illustrations: Tiny Tattoos: 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks

When it comes to small and meaningful tattoos, Tiny Tattoos: 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent is a true gem. Like the Big Book of Tiny Tattoos, this book features a vast collection of over 1,000 simple tattoo illustrations, each designed to inspire and capture the imagination. Whether you're looking for a delicate flower, a minimalist symbol, or an uplifting quote, this book has it all.

Tiny Tattoos by Rebecca Vincent

The illustrations in Tiny Tattoos are beautifully crafted and provide a great source of inspiration for anyone seeking a small tattoo design. Each artwork is accompanied by a description, offering insight into the meaning and symbolism behind the design. From playful and whimsical designs to elegant and sophisticated ones, Tiny Tattoos covers a wide range of styles, ensuring there's something for everyone.

"Tiny Tattoos: 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks" offers a wealth of options for those looking to adorn their skin with a small, yet meaningful, tattoo.

Small Tattoo Inspiration: Designs that Speak Volumes

With its extensive collection of small tattoo designs, Tiny Tattoos by Rebecca Vincent empowers individuals to create a personal statement that speaks volumes. The book's illustrations showcase a wide variety of themes and motifs, allowing for endless possibilities in self-expression. Whether you're seeking a small tattoo for its aesthetic appeal or a symbol that holds deep personal meaning, this book is a valuable resource.

From minimalistic linework to intricate dotwork, Tiny Tattoos celebrates the beauty and allure of small tattoos. It encourages individuals to explore their creativity and embrace the power of simplicity. The book's illustrations are thoughtfully curated, ensuring that each design resonates with its audience and evokes a sense of connection.

Overall I believe Tiny Tattoos: 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks serves as a great source of creative ideas for those seeking small and meaningful tattoos. It encourages individuals to embrace the beauty of simplicity and find inspiration in the smallest details. With its vast collection of illustrations and insightful descriptions, this book is a valuable resource for anyone looking to embark on their small tattoo journey.

Tattoo Book on Old-school Art: Vintage Tattoos: The Book of Old-School Skin Art

When it comes to old-school tattoo art, Vintage Tattoos: The Book of Old-School Skin Art by Carol Clerk is a true gem. This book took me on a nostalgic journey back to the origins of traditional American tattoos, showcasing iconic designs that have stood the test of time. In transported me back to my youth and early days in tattooing with bold sailor tattoos to classic pin-up girls. Vintage Tattoos pages are filled with tattoos that I did over and over as I perfected my technique, this book offers a comprehensive collection of great vintage tattoo artistry.

Vintage Tattoos: The Book of Old-School Skin Art By Carol Clerk

With its beautifully curated pages, this book not only celebrates the art of old school tattoos but also provides valuable historical context. Each tattoo design is accompanied by fascinating stories and explanations, shedding light on the symbolism and cultural significance of traditional American tattoos. Whether you are a tattoo artist seeking inspiration or an enthusiast wanting to delve into the rich history of tattooing, "Vintage Tattoos" is a must-have addition to your collection.

"The bold lines and vibrant colors of old-school tattoos have a timeless appeal. 'Vintage Tattoos: The Book of Old-School Skin Art'

This book not only serves as a visual feast but also as a source of inspiration for those looking to incorporate elements of old-school tattoo art into their own designs. The detailed illustrations and careful attention to detail make it easy to appreciate the skill and craftsmanship of the tattoo artists of the past. Whether you are drawn to the boldness of anchor tattoos or the intricacy of floral motifs, Vintage Tattoos offers a treasure trove of inspiration for your next tattoo.

From bold, black outlines to vibrant, timeless colors, Vintage Tattoos captures the essence of old school tattoo art like no other book. It is a celebration of a bygone era and a testament to the enduring popularity of traditional American tattoos. Whether you are a tattoo artist, a dinosaur like me that enjoys reflecting on a time gone by, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of body art, this book is a valuable addition to your library.

The Final Thought

In closing, if you're a tattoo beginner looking to learn and get inspired, these top rated tattoo books are a must have for your collection. Each book offers valuable insights and covers a wide range of topics, from tattoo fundamentals to specific genres like Japanese tattoos, small tattoos, and vintage tattoos.

Whether you're interested in honing your technique, launching a tattoo career, or exploring different tattoo traditions from around the world, these books provide the knowledge and inspiration you need. They are the best tattoo books in the market and I along with many industry experts highly recommended them.

Continuous learning and exploration are key to improving your skills as a tattoo artist. So do yourself a favor and grab one or more of these must have tattoo books and immerse yourself in their pages letting your creativity soar. Happy reading and happy tattooing!

Additional Reading

Check out our list of the top 10 selling tattoo books

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. What are the best tattoo books for beginners?

  • Our top 10 list of best tattoo books for beginners includes "Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo" by C.R. Jordan, "The Tattoo Textbook" by Shelly Dax, "Japanese Tattoos: Meanings, Shapes, and Motifs" by Yori Moriarty, "The Big Book of Small Tattoos" by Roberto Gemori, "The World Atlas of Tattoo," "Tiny Tattoos: 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks" by Rebecca Vincent, "Vintage Tattoos: The Book of Old-School Skin Art" by Carol Clerk, and more.

Q. What is the book "Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo" about?

  • "Basic Fundamentals of Modern Tattoo" by C.R. Jordan is a step-by-step guide for achieving tattooing prowess. It covers tattoo equipment, hygiene practices, design principles, and more, making it suitable for tattoo artists at any level.

Q. How can I find out about starting a tattoo career?

  • "The Tattoo Textbook" by Shelly Dax provides practical advice on launching a successful tattoo career. It covers topics such as building a portfolio, finding clients, marketing your tattoo business, and more.

Q. where can i get information and history of Japanese traditional tattoos?

  • You can find out all about Japanese tattoos in , "Japanese Tattoos: Meanings, Shapes, and Motifs" by Yori Moriarty which delves into the rich history and symbolism of Japanese tattoos. It provides insights into what Japanese tattoos are, the meanings and motifs behind these iconic designs.

Q. Where can I get small tattoos ideas?

  • "The Big Book of Small Tattoos" by Roberto Gemori features over 400 small tattoo designs, perfect for those interested in minimalist tattoos. Each tattoo comes with a description, providing insight into the meaning behind the design.

Q. What are the different styles of tattoos around the world?

  • You can find all the different tattoo styles from around the world in the book "The World Atlas of Tattoo" which showcases over 700 high-quality images of tattoos from various cultures and traditions. It offers insights into different tattoo genres, techniques, and traditions, providing a global perspective on tattooing.

Q. Where can I find small tattoo designs?

  • "Tiny Tattoos: 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks" by Rebecca Vincent features over 1,000 small tattoo illustrations. Each design is accompanied by a description, offering inspiration for those looking for meaningful and visually appealing tattoos.

Q. How can I learn how to draw old school tattoos?

  • "Vintage Tattoos: The Book of Old-School Skin Art" by Carol Clerk showcases the rich history and artistry of traditional American tattoos. It features a collection of iconic designs from the past, offering a nostalgic journey into the world of vintage tattoos that can provide plenty of ideas.



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