20 Beautiful Book Tattoos For Everyone's Inner Bookworm

Joe Osborne | Jan 30, 2020 Beauty & Style
20 Beautiful Book Tattoos For Everyone's Inner Bookworm

A Book Bursting With Color
ovenlee.tattoo/Instagram

Here's a hot take: books are probably the most important human invention of all time. Think about it: Without them, half of our culture wouldn't exist, and likely half of our language wouldn't exist either. Books have an incredible, understated (and underrated) power to spread knowledge and empathy throughout everyone who reads. Of course, that power can be (and has been) wielded for less altruistic gains, but let's focus on the positives here. Books are an endless font of inspiration and new ideas, so it's no wonder they've inspired countless works of art -- even tattoos.

We've found an excellent array of tattoos featuring books as well as references to some of the most influential books of all time. From gorgeous sketch-like pieces to others exploding with color, there is more than likely a tattoo that fits everyone here. For instance, we found some of the most impressive line work we've ever seen in this list, which must be something about the storybook mood that books inspire. Here are 20 of the most beautiful book tattoos for all of the bookworms at heart out there.

  • Sketchbook-Style Books

    1

    This tattoo of a stack of books could easily appear in, well, a sketchbook? We're unsure of who is responsible for this beauty, but we appreciate it all the same. It's simply an expert example of line work and coloring that makes the piece appear as if it's a still from an animation.

  • Wispy Words

    2

    Here's a masterwork in lines by Sil Dobbins based in Brazil, depicting a sort of magic emanating from a book's pages. This is a theme we'll see plenty of throughout this list, but this one in its most bare state. Oh, and it's also a Harry Potter reference -- the mark of a winner.

  • Black & White Magic Book

    3

    This is an awfully simple tattoo, and we can't say that we understand the Korean beneath it. Regardless, the line work here is simply excellent, resulting in another piece that could easily be mistaken for an illustration, this time by Studio By Sol in South Korea.

  • A Book Bursting With Color

    4

    Here's a full-color book tattoo that's absolutely bursting with color. The quality of the texture of the ink seems inspired by woodblock paintings, with little to no line work and vibrant colors. This one also comes from Studio By Sol. 

  • Forbidden Knowledge

    5

    Of course, books can also be spooky, with horror being one of the most popular genres around the world. Whoever received this piece clearly loves their scares, what with its ominous black-and-white styling and spooky dot work by Angelo Parente of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

  • Books Have Cosmic Potential

    6

    Books have the potential to transport us not only to new places or within the minds of new people, but to new, completely original worlds entirely. That's the theme that this tattoo aims to accomplish, and it does so with flying, well, colors. Thanks to Armando Chitiva in Alameda, California, for this inspiring bit of color and line work.

  • A Classic Stack

    7

    Here's an amazing example of what happens when line, dot, and shading work come together to produce a stunning piece of still life art within a tattoo. Inked by Sarah Blinkhorn in Springfield, Missouri, the exacting approach here is much appreciated and drive home that comfy feeling that makes us ready to read.

  • The Gift That Keeps on Giving

    8

    The Giving Tree is one of the most influential books of all time, particularly for children, so it's no surprise that people have clung onto that inspiration all this time. Thanks to Terry Downs in Brooklyn, New York, for this nostalgic piece of excellent line, dot, and shading work.

  • The Power of Books

    9

    Here's another take on the still life approach that levels up the concept considerably. The pages in motion amid the geometric shapes give a moving quality to the art, while the one page folded into a paper airplane gives off a feeling of the pages coming to life, which we appreciate. Thanks to studio Eternity Tattoo in Berlin, Germany, for this line work wonder.

  • Books Are Infinite

    10

    We love this piece for making our feelings about books realized in a piece of brilliant art. The cosmic wave forms coming from the pages of this book instill a feeling of infinity or cosmic endlessness. Kudos to Che Grimm in Leicester, England, for this excellently colored line work tattoo.

  • The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword

    11

    This tattoo is an excellent display of line work as well as shading to drive home a metaphor. The flowers and dagger hilt, inked by Lucky's Tattoo and Piercing of Northampton, Massachusetts, are done with stunning detail. 

  • Books Are Made of Magic

    12

    This piece by Iasmim Kali of Brazil is a masterwork of watercolor, creating a mysterious mist emanating from the flowing pages of a book. The line work is evocative of motion, which is excellent, but can we talk again about the nebula-like gas cloud spewing from the book?

  • Books or Gateways to Other Worlds?

    13

    Isn't this what we ultimately are using books for, to escape to other worlds that aren't our own, to encounter problems that we know our protagonists can solve? It's an unfortunately uncredited tattoo, but we love the message and art all the same, and it's inspiring regardless.

  • Books Are the Pulse of Culture

    14

    Perhaps we're reading into this one too deeply, but the placement of this gorgeous little piece of line work inspired us to connect books with the pulse point on the wrist. Why? Well, for one it's how we feel, and here's a perfect metaphor in a tattoo. This one's artist is sadly also unknown. 

  • Books Plus Tea Equals Magic

    15

    Here's an absolutely stunning splashing of blues, pinks, and purples -- thanks to a cup of tea's steam, not that we're complaining. Rather, we're shocked by the level of detail in the line work and the vibrant color work by an artist known as Misha in Wroclaw, Poland.

  • Fall into a Story

    16

    Here's another beautiful and evocative line work tattoo punctuated by some of the best color work we've seen. The sheer, comic book-like detail in the tattoo is incredible, brimming with life and full of nebulous color, thanks to Sarah Monteiro in Brazil.

  • Books Can Be Musical, Too

    17

    There's clearly a trend going on here with books exploding in purple dust ... and we are 100% here for it. Inked by an artist known merely as Alex in Madrid, Spain, we're getting the strong impression that this is a book of sheet music. 

  • A Real Page Turner

    18

    We love this tattoo for its originality, demonstrating expert line work and a fun message. Of course, that the piece also sort of looks like a sunset isn't lost on us. This piece is both simple and symbolic, inked by Zele Tattoo & Piercing Studio in Croatia.

  • Reading Feeds the Mind

    19

    We love these masterclasses in line work that we like to call simply modern illustration. Just as easily seen on an alternative rock album cover from the early aughts, we love the literal message of this tattoo. But, ultimately it's the bluntness of the art style inked by Hişam Ersin in Turkey.

  • Books Are Like Stepping Into Someone Else's Shoes

    20

    This quote by the inimitable George R. R. Martin is excellent in its own right, but it's punctuated here by some fantastic line work. We love the flowers growing from the pages, intimating that reading breeds life, or something cute like that. Thanks, Max in Bellingham, Washington.

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