New Release: Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them by Isaac Fitzgerald & Wendy MacNaughton

Tuesday is new book release day! Two books are releasing today that I’ve very excited about.

The first is a new coffee table tattoo book called Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them. It’s written by Isaac Fitzgerald, who tells his story in the book trailer below, with tattoo illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton. This book is notable not only for its inclusion of ordinary people among the rockstars, but it also has an introduction written by Dear Sugar columnist/Wild author, Cheryl Strayed. With that type of endorsement, how could it go wrong? Here’s more about the book:

Pen & Ink.StrayedWhy did you get that tattoo?

Every tattoo tells a story, whether the ink is meaningful or the result of a misguided decision made at the age of fourteen, representative of the wearer’s true self or the accidental consequence of a bender. These most permanent and intimate of body adornments are hidden by pants legs and shirttails, emblazoned on knuckles, or tucked inside mouths. They are battle scars and beauty marks, totems and mementos.

Pen & Ink grants us access to the tattoos—and the stories behind them—of writers Cheryl Strayed and Roxane Gay; rockers in the bands Korn, Otep, and Five Finger Death Punch; and even a porn star. But it also illuminates the tattoos of the ordinary people living in our midst—from professors to thrift store salespeople, cafe owners to librarians, union organizers to administrators—and their extraordinary lives.

Curated and edited by Isaac Fitzgerald, who sports twelve tattoos himself, each story “is like being let in on . . . secrets by . . . strangers who passed you on the street or sat across from you on the train” (Strayed) and features Wendy MacNaughton’s gorgeously rendered full-color illustrations of the tattoos on black-and-white drawings of the bearer’s body. At its heart, beneath its colorful skin, Pen & Ink is an exploration of the decision to scar one’s self with a symbol and a story.

If all that isn’t enough, watch this beautiful book trailer:

Pen & Ink from Run Riot on Vimeo.

What I love most about this book and their Tumblr blog is that the ampersand they use is very similar to my own ampersand tattoo. What’s more perfect than the intersection of tattoo geek culture and grammar geek culture? Very little, I say!


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