40 Tattoos Inspired By Engravings And Etchings

jentheripper in Tattoo Ideas

Have you already see one of those tattoos inspired by old engravings and etchings ?

Close to linework and dotwork, they are making mysterious and elegant statement tattoos. Often esoteric or coldly scientific, engraving and etching tattoos are inspired by old religious and scientific books, illustrations from classic children’s literature but also tarot cards. Mostly made of outlines (and thus, painful!) they are very intricate.
You may just enjoy the dark vintage style or may be a little more curious about their origins. Want to see some bizarre yet beautiful tattoos ? Skip the text below. But if you are craving for some history of art, that one is for you…

Ever wondered how art lovers and young artists could access the work of the masters before internet ? With engravings and etchings. This artistic technique allowed to reproduce and distribute the greatest paintings, at a time when photography didn’t exist and travelling wasn’t so easy. Art, but also sciences, education and of course, religion. A real tool to open minds and give inspiration.

But, what is it ? Engraving is a process similar to those of an ink stamp. The artist is making a sketch and then carve it into an hard material, wood, stone or steel. Then, he inks it and presses it on a sheet of paper to make a print. The method can be done again and again, generating thousands of prints. Prints are also called engravings, just like the process.

Depending on the material engraved and the way of engraving (engravings are made with a graver and etchings with some acid), the designs would vary in style and complexity. Woodcuts are more dark, with simple bold lines, while steel and stone engravings would have lines of different thickness and shades. Let’s quote some of the most famous engravers : Albrecht Dürer, Gustave Doré, Rembrandt, Francisco de Goya, Jacques Callot and Hokusai. Contemporary artists still use the technique, and many tattoo artists are fascinated by it, for example, Maud Dardeau, Brucius and Ottorino d’Ambra.

But enough explanations, let’s enjoy a collection of 40 fascinating tattoos inspired by old engravings and etchings…

Mysterious and delicate tattoo by MXM.
Mysterious and delicate tattoo by MXM.
Vintage illustration of a tiger with a graphic twist; of course, it is the work of French tattoo artist Xoil.
Vintage illustration of a tiger with a graphic twist; of course, it is the work of French tattoo artist Xoil.
Alice fighting the Jabberwocky: an illustration of Alice in Wonderland by Wade Johnston.
Alice fighting the Jabberwocky: an illustration of Alice in Wonderland by Wade Johnston.

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Ouch, must hurt! A martyr by Valentin Hirsch.
Ouch, must hurt! A martyr by Valentin Hirsch.
Epic half sleeve by master Thomas Hooper.
Epic half sleeve by master Thomas Hooper.
Old woodcut skull by Rob Banks.
Old woodcut skull by Rob Banks.
Odd torso piece inspired by Francisco de Goya, by Rafel Delalande.
Odd torso piece inspired by Francisco de Goya, by Rafel Delalande.
Beautiful moth tattoo by Pierre Périchaud.
Beautiful moth tattoo by Pierre Périchaud.
Diving mask skull medusa by Petit Jean.
Diving mask skull medusa by Petit Jean.
Pretty surrealistic tattoo by Ottorino d'Ambra.
Pretty surrealistic tattoo by Ottorino d'Ambra.
Another fun one by Ottorino.
Another fun one by Ottorino.
Awesome piece by Nick Broslavskiy! Works well with colors.
Awesome piece by Nick Broslavskiy! Works well with colors.
EPIC. By Nick Broslavskiy too.
EPIC. By Nick Broslavskiy too.
Another gorgeous tat by Nick Broslavskiy.
Another gorgeous tat by Nick Broslavskiy.
Scientific inspired tattoo by Nazar Butkovski.
Scientific inspired tattoo by Nazar Butkovski.
Another vintage illustration tattoo by MXM.
Another vintage illustration tattoo by MXM.
Puss in Boots as designed by Gustave Doré, inked by Mr No.
Puss in Boots as designed by Gustave Doré, inked by Mr No.
Cat chestpiece by Mike Amanita.
Cat chestpiece by Mike Amanita.
Plague doctor masked dancer, also by Mike Amanita.
Plague doctor masked dancer, also by Mike Amanita.
Religious themed by Mel Evgeny.
Religious themed by Mel Evgeny.
Fantasy hot air balloon by Maud Dardeau.
Fantasy hot air balloon by Maud Dardeau.
Tarot card's composition and reference to the Wizard of Oz, by Marla Moon.
Tarot card's composition and reference to the Wizard of Oz, by Marla Moon.
Devil playing violin by Mark Lonsdale.
Devil playing violin by Mark Lonsdale.
Badass sleeve by Lisa Orth.
Badass sleeve by Lisa Orth.
Natural illustrations by Liam Sparkes.
Natural illustrations by Liam Sparkes.
Other tattoos by Liam Sparkes.
Other tattoos by Liam Sparkes.
This is the back of tattoo artist Liam Sparkes, inked by Thomas Hooper.
This is the back of tattoo artist Liam Sparkes, inked by Thomas Hooper.
Amazing intricate tattoo based on an engraving of Dürer, inked by Kane Melbourne.
Amazing intricate tattoo based on an engraving of Dürer, inked by Kane Melbourne.
Tasty flowers by Jesse of Good Life Tattoos.
Tasty flowers by Jesse of Good Life Tattoos.
Stag with a suit... by Jan Mraz.
Stag with a suit... by Jan Mraz.
Beautiful pine cone tattoo by Ien Levin.
Beautiful pine cone tattoo by Ien Levin.
Abstract work by Franco Maldonado.
Abstract work by Franco Maldonado.
Pretty floral half sleeve.
Pretty floral half sleeve.
Huge esoteric backpiece by Duncan X.
Huge esoteric backpiece by Duncan X.
Collaboration between David Glantz and Riki Kay Middleton.
Collaboration between David Glantz and Riki Kay Middleton.
Fun chestpiece by Cisco of LTW.
Fun chestpiece by Cisco of LTW.
Head in a jar... Odd beautiful piece by Brucius.
Head in a jar... Odd beautiful piece by Brucius.
Animals tattoos by Bleu Noir.
Animals tattoos by Bleu Noir.
Nice flowers by Alie of Good Tattoos Canada.
Nice flowers by Alie of Good Tattoos Canada.
Rad tat by Alex Tabuns.
Rad tat by Alex Tabuns.

jentheripper

@JenTheRipper

Writer for art related medias. Fell in love with tattoo while researching for another passion, crime history. Travelling, admiring, sharing.

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