Buy new:
FREE delivery: 14 - 22 July
In stock.
Your transaction is secure
We work hard to protect your security and privacy. Our payment security system encrypts your information during transmission. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. Learn more
Ships from BuyGlobal
Sold by BuyGlobal
Ships from
Sold by
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.90 Delivery
Sold by: Amazon US
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Follow the Authors

Something went wrong. Please try your request again later.

Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them Hardcover – 1 November 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 49 ratings

Amazon Price
New from Used from

Enhance your purchase

Save on selected Bestselling Big Idea books.
View our curated selection of books. Click to explore.

Frequently bought together

  • Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them
  • +
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
Total Price:
To see our price, add these items to your cart.
These items are shipped from and sold by different sellers.
Choose items to buy together.

Noise: The new book from the authors of ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ out now.
Order your copy today. Click to explore.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (1 November 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 144 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1620404907
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1620404904
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 18.87 x 1.93 x 22.28 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 49 ratings

Product description


Oh my god, this gorgeous, gorgeous book. It will, like its subject, alter you permanently. We sometimes forget: each tattoo has its story. Many are lovingly recorded here - from the wicked to the profound to the ridiculous. This gorgeous, gorgeous book perfectly chronicles the stories that we wear on our skin. (Colin Meloy, Lead Singer of The Decemberists)

For anybody who ever looked at a stranger's tattoo and wondered why?, Pen & Ink offers a gorgeous, hilarious, and moving Because. In its pages, the most amateurish, outlandish, and bizarre tattoos become portals into their owners' lives and dreams. In the process, they become beautiful. (Peter Trachtenberg, author of Seven Tattoos)

In Pen & Ink, Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton have captured the fascinating stories people secret beneath their skin, how they have marked their skin and why. The revelations in this remarkable collection are, in turns, poignant, charming, heartbreaking, and honest. Like tattoos, these stories leave an impression that will linger. (Roxane Gay)

Inspired . . . Drawn in a whimsical, tender style, MacNaughton's portraits are captivating in their intimacy . . . Without judgment or regret, this emotionally raw collection, featuring an introduction by Cheryl Strayed, explores how we find permanence in an impermanent world. (Publishers Weekly)

Kitschy, hipster . . . MacNaughton's drawings are lovely . . . . The book is charming . . . enchanting. This is a title that readers can leaf through a little at a time, savoring the illustrations, or perhaps devour in one sitting. (Library Journal)

[One of] the best art books of 2014. (Huffington Post)

The real reasons people get tattoos. (Flavorwire, 25 Must-Read Books for the Fall)

Fascinating . . . Gorgeous. (Mother Jones)

Each ink drawing is a secret story. What I love most about this book is that it doesn't cover just huge sleeves and complicated tattoos, it also honors the newly popular (again) art of poke-and-stick tattoos. (Design*Sponge, Best Illustrated Books)

Pen & Ink is absolutely delightful from cover to cover. (Maria Popova, Brainpickings)

Beautifully illustrated . . . More than a keepsake for tattoo enthusiasts; it is an artifact of diverse, deeply human histories, like the cave paintings of Lascaux or an illuminated manuscript, a compilation of intimate knowledge we can only hope to see continued in the future. (Shelf Awareness)

Illustrator and visual storyteller Wendy MacNaughton - she of extraordinary sensitivity to the human experience - and editor Isaac Fitzgerald catalog the wild, wicked, wonderfully human stories behind people's tattoos. . . . The stories - sometimes poetic, sometimes political, always deeply personal - brim with the uncontainable, layered humanity that is MacNaughton's true medium. (Brain Pickings’ Best Art, Design & Photography Books of 2014)

Pen & Ink takes a brilliant concept - hey, what's the story behind your tattoo? - and brings it to life with MacNaughton's vivid illustrations and BuzzFeed Books editor Fitzgerald's knack for getting true, fantastic stories . . . The collected portraits are funny and sometimes heartbreaking, and they show human nature and experience in all its endearing colors. (Flavorwire, "The Year’s Most Beautiful and Interesting Art Books")

Pen & Ink reads like a good book of poetry, like an illustrated sonnet sequence. It makes literature out of the experience of tattoos without being . . . precious, or pretentious, or opaque, or ugly. This book is as strong and weird and reckless and smart as the people in it. (The Drunken Odyssey)

The second my eyes met the beautiful drawings I was in love. ( on the Pen & Ink blog)

Reveal[s] the often hilarious, sometimes poignant stories behind these permanent remnants of our fleeting opinions, passions and phases. (O, the Oprah magazine, on the Pen & Ink blog)

New favorite Tumblr. (Maria Popova, @brainpicker, on the Pen & Ink blog)

Book Description

"Together, [these pictures and stories] do the work of great literature-gathering a force so true they ultimately tell a story that includes us all." -Cheryl Strayed, from the Introduction

From New York Times bestselling illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and bestselling author Isaac Fitzgerald--the stories behind the question, Why did you get that tattoo?

From the Publisher

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
49 global ratings
How are ratings calculated?

Review this product

Share your thoughts with other customers

Top reviews from Australia

There are 0 reviews and 0 ratings from Australia

Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 February 2015
Verified Purchase
Kathryn Boler
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 March 2015
Verified Purchase
Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars This has got to be the biggest waste of six pounds in have ever spent
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 March 2015
Verified Purchase
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what you expect...
Reviewed in the United States on 13 November 2014
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Report abuse
Lisa Ahn
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treasure
Reviewed in the United States on 3 November 2014
Verified Purchase
2 people found this helpful
Report abuse