Graphic Art of Tattoo Lettering A Visual Guide to Contemporary Styles and Designs

BJ Betts, Nicholas Schonberger

A groundbreaking reference covering the key styles and schools in contemporary tattoo lettering. This book includes step-by-step guides to lettering design from a wide array of leading tattoo artists.

Covering the history and context of tattoo design, as well as offering a comprehensive instruction in hand lettering, this guide is packed with enough detail to fascinate anyone interested in tattoo design.

Learn to recreate all of the most widely used techniques—from embellishing West Coast letter forms to mastering calligraphic style—with guidance from one of today’s most influential tattoo artists. Each chapter also includes an account of individual styles’ histories, complexities, and relevant substyles, along with interviews spotlighting leading practitioners and galleries of innovative tattoo design.

The Graphic Art of Tattoo Lettering is as much a technical handbook for professional tattoo artists as it is an introduction to the manner in which tattoo styles inform other graphic arts. Fans of typography, calligraphy, and graphic design are sure to learn techniques that they can apply to their own projects. And for those who aspire to design tattoos or already work with them, this book is an indispensable guide. Guaranteed to instruct and inspire, it is an essential resource for anyone interested in tattoo art.


An exquisitely illustrated look at the evolution of tattoo calligraphy and typography.

— Los Angeles Times


BJ Betts


BJ Betts is based in Wilmington, Delaware, and is one of the most influential tattoo artists working today.

Nicholas Schonberger


Nicholas Schonberger is a writer, blogger, and critic of fashion, culture, and music. He lives in New York.