Book Review: Deviled Art


Recently, I received the book Deviled Art: Sketches and Paintings by Travis Franklin for review. This isn’t a tattoo book like I have reviewed recently but rather contains artwork and sketches by tattoo artist Travis Franklin.

Click through to read the rest of the review.

You won’t find any photos of tattoos within this book, it is strictly a traditional art book but that doesn’t mean the appeal for body modification enthusiasts is non-existent. The artwork is focused mainly on darker images, skulls, skeletons and zombies and much of Travis’ work is the design product that would then be used to create a tattoo.


One thing that sets this book apart and makes it more than a simple sketchbook is the fact that the book includes notes and thoughts by the artist. The font for the text is meant to look like hand writing and the effect is one I really like as it feels like I have been allowed to glimpse deeper into the artist, his method and the things that motivate him.


While the book might have benefited from an editor to eliminate the few grammatical errors, it certainly is not lacking in interesting artwork. This is definitely not a book of flash art but rather a journey through a tattoo artist’s process both on and off the page.


While the paintings certainly speak to the artist’s talent, for me the sketches are even more enjoyable as they show the hesitation, the thought and the process of realizing a piece of art. It seems quite common for people to believe that a tattoo artist merely copies a design from a piece of flash onto someone’s skin. This book reminds us that a tattoo artist is just that, an artist.


As far as I can tell the only current way to purchase this book is directly from the artist through his website, The book retails at $40 and is hardcover printed on high quality paper meaning this book will hold up to repeated viewing.

Travis Franklin has been tattooing professionally for just under 20 years and credits Tattoo Charlie for letting him in the industry at age 17. He works out of his shop, Oddity Tattoo Studio & Art Gallery in Sarasota, Florida.

Editors: Tammy Zeitler Zeitler, Travis Franklin
Illustrated by: Travis Franklin
Contributors: Brittany Helmer, Travis Franklin
Hardcover: 124 pages
Publisher: Poor Mel, 2011
ISBN 0615493262

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Deviled Art

  1. Travis is *the* coolest fucking dude, I absolutely love getting tattooed in his shop.

    If you are in the area, there’s absolutely no excuse to not pop into Oddity and check out the art on the walls. I’ve had maybe 4-5 appointments in the shop within the last two years (not including multiple consultations) and every single time I step foot into Oddity the walls are filled with beautiful, brand new work.

    Travis and Oddity hold painting nights with the entire staff, where everyone just comes in and paints a certain subject in their own personal style. While these are in-progress, they’re openly on display throughout the shop too.

    I believe Scott Olive once mentioned to me that Travis is just overflowing with paintings.

    The only bug I have to pick with the book is that there are quite a few grammatical / spelling errors in the introduction. I am referencing one of the first editions to come out though, so I’m not sure if they’ve fixed it since then.

    tl;dr: Oddity is awesome, any tattooer inside is awesome, Travis Franklin is a great guy, tattooer, and owns an awesome shop.

  2. It’s great to see something new on mod blog other than very similar suspension shots and the same faces. Bme art gallery has so many mod related pieces that never get seen by the average mod blog reader because they are never featured. And let’s face it,we all love art in one form or another or we wouldn’t be on here in the first place. Mod blog some art from the archives and more books like this I say:)

  3. Tobias – That was definitely my little bone of contention as well. It is a bit distracting especially if you’re an English teacher. ;)

    Flesh78 – I’m certainly open to writing more book reviews. If I happen to spot anything I find particularly interesting or any other publishers choose to send me books to review I’m more than happy to do so. I do believe I’ll be receiving something this fall from Reuss. Another publisher contacted me but I never did receive any book from them. So when I can I will certainly review any body modification related books for the site.

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