The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

Tattoo Design

According to a recent Harris Research Study, 21% of adults currently have at least one tattoo. With so many people going under the needle, it is easy to see that tattoos are no longer only for sailors and motorcycle enthusiasts. As time has passed, the tattoo has become a form of art and expression for many.

Tattoos are meant to be permanent. Those considering getting a tattoo have some research ahead of them in order to find the best artist and the perfect tattoo design. The Harris Study found that 14% of those who have tattoos regretted getting one. When considering the tattoo, take your time. Visit several tattoo studios to check out the condition of the studio and look at examples of their work. Use your visit to ask the tattoo artists questions about the safety precautions they employ and their artistic abilities.

The following library materials may help you find the perfect tattoo design:

 Beyond Tattoo by Allan Graves. This fantastic collection of amazing, visceral imagery will appeal to anyone into the contemporary art scene, but also to the vast armies of people getting inked. More than 50 world-class artists from the United States, Europe, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia and the U.K. are represented, each with a detailed biography and discussion of their work.


 Celtic Tattoos by Andy Sloss. This stylish reference explores the history of the intricate, evocative designs of ancient Celts, offering many ideas to help readers create their own images, from icons of Celtic art such as dragons and crosses, to torques, spirals, step and key patterns.



 The Mammoth Book of Tattoos edited by Lal Hardy. This collection covers all styles of tattoos from bold tribal pieces, Chinese characters and hieroglyphs to delicate air-brushed designs. Included are striking images of tattoos ranging from all-over "body suits" to individual motifs.


 Modern Tribal Tattoo Design by Lora Irish. This reference features a wide variety of styles -- from the fine line work of henna patterns to black work patterns that incorporate large solid areas to motifs such as totems, talismans, and free-form designs combined with repeating elements, including triangles, spirals, suns and barbed wire, to create body art that makes a bold visual statement of individuality that is rooted in traditional tattoo art.


 Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed by Carl Zimmer. This book showcases hundreds of eye-catching tattoos that pay tribute to various scientific disciplines, from evolutionary biology and neuroscience to mathematics and astrophysics, and reveals the stories of the individuals who chose to inscribe their obsessions in their skin.


 Tattoo World edited by Marisa Kakoulas; text by Michael Kaplan. A collection of designs from around the globe, including Japanese and East Asian iconography, classic Americana and photorealism, among others. Featuring the work of tattoo legends alongside pieces by pioneering artists pushing the limits of the medium, this visually arresting survey is the essential reference work for anyone interested in this exploding art form.


 Vintage Tattoos: The Book of Old-School Skin Art by Carol Clerk. Originally embraced by rebels, sailors, and gangsters, these tattoos are now showing up on the fashion runway and in music videos. This book chronicles vintage motifs in thematic chapters interspersed with profiles of influential tattoo artists and their distinctive designs.


 The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide edited by Eva Talmadge & Justin Taylor. A guide to the emerging subculture of literary tattoos -- a collection of more than 150 full-color photographs of human epidermis indelibly adorned with quotations and illustrations from Dickinson to Pynchon, from Shakespeare to Plath.


The following links may also be helpful when considering a future tattoo:

Regulations and Statutes for Tattoo Establishments in Missouri

Tattoos: Understand the Risks and Precautions

Inked and Regretful: Removing Tattoos


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