Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Book covers get tattooed


Tattoo artists and classic works of modern fiction don't sound like the most natural of pairings, but they have been brought together in true style for a project launched by Penguin books this summer.

The UK publishing house has teamed up with six of the world's leading tattoo artists to redesign the covers for its favourite British novels for the Penguin Ink project. Beloved classic such as The Accidental by Ali Smith and Zadie Smith's White Teeth have been given a dynamic new facelift thanks to the work of illustrators more used to etching on human skin.

The six chosen artists include Lynn Akura, a Brighton-based tattoo artist who runs her own shop, Magnum Opus Tattoo, and Judd Ripley, an artist from Copenhagen who works full-time in his family tattoo parlour.

The project builds on the success of a tattoo-based literature series by Penguin in America last year.

The resulting book covers, which you can see below, present a brilliant fusion of vivid imagery and literature for stories that conjure up both in equal measure.

ABOVE LEFT: Notes On A Scandal by Zoë Heller, designed by London-based tattoo artist Valerie Vargas

ABOVE RIGHT: White Teeth by Zadie Smith, designed by Brighton-based tattoo artist Lynn Akura

ABOVE LEFT: The Accidental by Ali Smith, designed by Judd Ripley, who runs his own tattoo parlour in Copenhagen

ABOVE RIGHT: The Book Of Dave by Will Self, designed by London-based artist Duncan X

ABOVE LEFT: The Rotters' Club by Jonathan Coe, designed by Hans Van Der Sluys, a tattooer from Amsterdam

ABOVE RIGHT: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, designed by Russ Abbott, a tattoo artist from Atlanta

Take a look at each of the amazing tattoo-inspired cover artworks in more detail below...



50 books that were banned


Great animal escapes


Street art rivalries run deep



The cast of Bridget Jones' Diary: where are they now?

We catch up with everyone from Shazza to Tom and Una Alconbury by Katie O'Malley

29 Sep 2015

The Man Booker Prize shortlist is here

How many have you read? by Amy Lewis

15 Sep 2015

September's best books from independent publishers

Discover the next big thing before anyone else does

10 Sep 2015

The best new books of September

From family dramas to dark page turners

01 Sep 2015

How our Penguin classics cover was created

We're having our book-shaped ice lolly and eating it, some might say

19 Aug 2015

Treasure trove of unseen celebrity Polaroids in new Warhol book

Before Instagram, there was Andy Warhol

19 Aug 2015

Stylist’s ten best reads for the bank holiday weekend

The hottest books to end off the summer with

18 Aug 2015

J.K. Rowling offers inspiring advice to young writers

“Turn their laughter into fuel”

17 Aug 2015

Behold the best new books of August

From psychological thrillers to literary comfort food

17 Aug 2015

2015’s word-of-mouth breakout book

Why you need to read Luckiest Girl Alive

13 Aug 2015