Welcome to my review of “Vintage Tattoo Flash: 100 Years of Traditional Tattoos from the Collection of Jonathan Shaw.” In this article, I will provide an in-depth analysis of this remarkable book that delves into the world of traditional tattoos and showcases a stunning collection of flash designs. As an avid tattoo enthusiast, I was captivated by the rich history and visual appeal of traditional tattoo flash, and this book exceeded my expectations. Join me as we explore the purpose, key features, design, and overall value of this unique publication.

traditional tattoo flash


The Purpose and Key Features

The main objective of “Vintage Tattoo Flash” is to provide readers with a comprehensive visual exploration of traditional tattoos throughout the past century. This book serves as a valuable resource for tattoo enthusiasts, artists, and anyone interested in the art form. Some key features of the book include:

A vast collection: The book showcases over 300 pieces of original flash from the private collection of Jonathan Shaw, a renowned outlaw tattooist and author. It offers a rare glimpse into one of the largest and most diverse collections of its kind.

Historical significance: “Vintage Tattoo Flash” covers approximately 75 years of American tattooing, ranging from the 1900s Bowery to 50s Texas, through the Pike in the 60s, and the development of black and grey, single-needle tattooing in LA in the 70s. It presents a historical timeline of the evolution of traditional tattoos.

Unpublished flash sheets: The book features entirely unpublished sheets of original flash from legendary tattoo artists such as Bob Shaw, Zeke Owens, Holt + Rowe, Ted Inman, Ace Harlyn, Ed Smith, Colonel Todd, and the Moskowitz brothers. These pieces are a testament to the artistry and creativity of the pioneers of traditional tattooing.

Vintage Tattoo Flash Review Design and Quality

The design of “Vintage Tattoo Flash” is visually striking and thoughtfully presented. The book is a work of art in itself, featuring high-quality reproductions of the original flash sheets. The images are vibrant, detailed, and captivating, allowing readers to appreciate the intricate designs and iconic imagery. The layout of the book is well-organized, making it easy to navigate through different eras and artists. The attention to detail and the overall production quality of the book are commendable, creating an immersive and visually appealing reading experience.

Key Features and Functionality

“Vintage Tattoo Flash” not only showcases the artwork but also provides insightful commentary and historical context. The book explores the cultural significance and influences behind traditional tattooing, shedding light on the iconic symbols, motifs, and styles that have shaped the art form. Key features and functionalities of the book include:

Iconography and symbolism: The book examines the familiar iconography of American traditional tattoos, such as ships, half-dressed women, birds of prey, panthers, daggers, roses, and hearts emblazoned with mom. It also highlights how the art form evolved over the years, incorporating influences from different styles of tattooing, such as traditional Japanese and realism.

Comparative analysis: “Vintage Tattoo Flash” allows readers to compare and contrast the work of various artists and explore the unique styles and approaches they brought to traditional tattooing. This comparative analysis provides valuable insights into the evolution of the art form and the individual contributions of different tattooists.

Historical context: The book contextualizes the flash designs within their respective eras, providing historical background and significant milestones in American tattooing. This historical context helps readers understand the cultural and artistic influences that shaped traditional tattooing.

Pros and Cons

Like any product, “Vintage Tattoo Flash Review” has its strengths and limitations. Here are some pros and cons to consider:


Unparalleled collection:

The book offers access to a vast and remarkable collection of traditional tattoo flash, providing a unique opportunity to appreciate the work of legendary tattoo artists.

Historical significance:

The book serves as a historical document, preserving the legacy of traditional tattooing and offering insights into the development of the art form.

Visual appeal:

The high-quality reproductions of flash sheets are visually stunning and allow readers to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship behind traditional tattoos.

Educational value:

“Vintage Tattoo Flash” is an informative resource for both tattoo enthusiasts and aspiring tattoo artists, offering valuable insights into the techniques, styles, and symbolism of traditional tattoos.


Limited focus: The book primarily focuses on American traditional tattooing and may not cover the full spectrum of global traditional tattoo styles.
Availability and cost: As a collector’s item, “Vintage Tattoo Flash” may have limited availability and can be relatively expensive compared to standard tattoo-related publications.
Genuine User Experiences and Testimonials
To provide a well-rounded review, I researched the experiences and testimonials of individuals who have read “Vintage Tattoo Flash.” Here are some snippets from genuine online reviews:

“A-MAZ-ING! Highly recommend it to any tattoo enthusiasts. The history in this book is incredible, and the digital scan quality is top-notch.” – (Source: Amazon, Verified Purchase)
“Beautiful book. Great flash, but also interesting to see the historical change in style and color of traditional tattoos.” – (Source: Amazon, Verified Purchase)
“Excellent! This was a gift for my daughter, and she loved it.” – (Source: Amazon, Verified Purchase)
“Great product. My dad is a tattoo artist, and he was over the moon when he received this.” – (Source: Amazon, Verified Purchase)
“It’s beautiful. Bought this as a birthday gift for a friend who loves tattoos, and the response was resoundingly positive.” – (Source: Amazon)

Tips and Tricks for Getting the Most Out of “Vintage Tattoo Flash Review”

To fully immerse yourself in the world of traditional tattoos and make the most of “Vintage Tattoo Flash,” consider the following tips and tricks:

Take your time: The book contains a vast collection of flash designs spanning several decades. However take the time to explore each page, appreciating the intricate details and the unique artistic styles represented.

Research the artists: As you come across flash sheets from different artists, take the opportunity to research their contributions to the world of traditional tattooing. Understanding their backgrounds and influences can deepen your appreciation for their work.

Seek inspiration: Use “Vintage Tattoo Flash” as a source of inspiration for your own tattoo ideas. Pay attention to the symbols, motifs, and styles that resonate with you. Hiowever, discuss them with your tattoo artist to create a custom design that reflects your personal style. Check out some behind the ear tattoos.

Vintage Tattoo Flash Review FAQ

Q: Can I purchase the original flash sheets featured in “Vintage Tattoo Flash”?
A: While the original flash sheets showcased in the book are from the private collection of Jonathan Shaw. It is possible to find original flash sheets for sale through reputable tattoo art dealers, auctions, or specialized tattoo conventions.

Q: Does “Vintage Tattoo Flash” cover tattoo styles other than American traditional tattoos?
A: The primary focus of “Vintage Tattoo Flash” is on American traditional tattoos. While it may touch upon influences from other tattoo styles, it primarily delves into the history and evolution of traditional tattooing in America.

Q: Is “Vintage Tattoo Flash” suitable for beginners interested in learning about tattoos?
A: Absolutely! “Vintage Tattoo Flash” serves as an informative resource for both tattoo enthusiasts and beginners. It provides valuable insights into the techniques, styles, and symbolism of traditional tattoos. As well as making it a great starting point for anyone interested in the art form.

“Vintage Tattoo Flash: 100 Years of Traditional Tattoos from the Collection of Jonathan Shaw”

Firstly, It is a must-have book for tattoo enthusiasts and artists. Or indeed anyone interested in the history and artistry of traditional tattoos. With its unparalleled collection of flash sheets, historical significance, and visual appeal. This book offers a unique opportunity to delve into the world of traditional tattooing. While it primarily focuses on American traditional tattoos, its value as a historical document and source of inspiration cannot be understated. Despite its limited availability and potential cost, “Vintage Tattoo Flash” is a worthy investment for anyone passionate about tattoos. So, dive into the world of traditional tattoos and let “Vintage Tattoo Flash”. It will take you on a captivating journey through the rich heritage of this timeless art form. Check out the full list of Tattoo Flash categories.

By Barry H

Barry is a talented and experienced tattoo artist hailing from the picturesque land of Ireland. With an impressive career spanning 16 years, Barry has honed his skills and established himself as a sought-after name in the tattoo industry. His passion for art and unwavering dedication to his craft shine through in every tattoo he creates.