On my way to work today I popped into WHSmith to see if there was anything worth reading. Around the usual crap I saw one of these funny little “magbook” things- “magbooks”, or “bookazines”, are basically mini-books that are more like in-depth magazines than anything else. Anyway, this one is called Tattoo Style, and it’s by the makers of Bizarre Magazine.
The cover looks very nice, but as soon as you open it up you see an advert for New Image, a supply company responsible for inspiring a fair few ‘scratchers’ with one of their old websites. Not really a good start, to be honest! I persevered, which you would too if you’d just spent £7 on the thing.
Thankfully the whole thing gets better, with a foreword by Jesse Smith, which is ridiculously cool and very well thought out. After this, the format of the book is pretty simple: they’ve picked out some ‘styles’ of tattooing, and a main tattooer to highlight each one, then added in additional photos for each section.
I have to use the word ‘styles’ a little loosely, I’m afraid- I personally don’t see ‘animals’ and ‘pin ups’ as a style, I’d consider that a subject matter. Unfortunately, the styles are a little lacking, in my opinion. ‘Traditional’ becomes ‘Old School’, and there is nothing there for colour realism or new school, which I saw as a little strange. I think the makers of this must be confused too, since some of their ‘old school’ tattoos really aren’t anything of the sort, and I don’t think a magpie qualifies as ‘horror’.
My pet hate about this thing is the fact they use the word ‘inker’ a lot, instead of tattooer. I’m sorry, can we just clear this up now for a second? ‘Ink’, ‘inked’, ‘inker’… they’re not cool words. Just call them motherfucking tattoos, tattoos are cool enough. You sound like you’re going through a mid-life crisis if you say anything else.
I digest. Have you seen the tattooers who are in this thing?! Joining Jesse Smith are the almighty Uncle Allan, Joe Capobianco, Angelique Houtkamp, Paul Booth and Mike Devries, among other amazing tattooers. The work shown in this is actually outstanding. There’s only one bad tattoo in this whole thing (you’ll know when you see it), and the things these tattooers have to say is pretty cool, too. Where the makers of this have failed in some areas, they’ve really made up for in picking out some amazing tattooers to be in this.
The tattooers featured in this “magbook” make it worth buying, to be honest with you. Their work is outstanding, as usual, and it actually feels kind of nice to hold in your hands, instead of drooling over the artists’ blogs online. I think tattooers will like this as well, for one of those “these are the sorts of styles you can get” talks with customers. I really liked reading about what some of these guys had to say as well, especially when it came to their overall attitudes and the reasons why they work in the ways they do.
Overall, I think Tattoo Style is worth the £7, however, for another extra quid you can buy a marker pen and go over everything which isn’t from one of the tattoo artists, to make it better. And scrub out the word ‘inker’.