Tattoo illustration

Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton

Trendy haircuts grow out, unworthy boyfriends get kicked to the curb, but tattoos are forever. On their year-old blog, Pen & Ink), illustrator Wendy MacNaughton, 37, and writer Isaac Fitzgerald, 30, reveal the often hilarious, sometimes poignant stories behind these permanent remnants of our fleeting opinions, passions and phases.

The pair, who met four years ago while working for an online magazine, got the idea while discussing their own youthful body art. Now they find subjects at bars and dinner parties or via e-mail submissions; MacNaughton draws their tattoos in ink, then paints them with watercolor, while Fitzgerald collects and edits the backstories. To date the blog has attracted more than 48,000 followers and even a book deal (look for Pen & Ink on store shelves next year). "It's easy to roll our eyes at our younger selves," says MacNaughton, "but tattoos are a testament to how strongly and deeply we felt things. Both of mine are embarrassing—but I'll never get them removed."
—Lauren Murrow

"When we were little, my sister and I would race after bees in the lavender bushes and try to pet them without getting stung. We were in awe of their tiny stingers that could bring a grown man down."
—Christine Hostetler, copywriter
Tatcha's Polished Rice Enzyme Powder

Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton

"On the way to the shop...I decided on a T. rex. This may or may not have something to do with my painfully small hands. And T. rex reminds me not to take myself too seriously. After all, I have a dinosaur on my ribs."
—Alise Alicardi, between jobs
Luminous Dewy Skin Mist

Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton

"I got these tattoos as a tribute to my grandmother. I grew up playing video games with her.... To this day, whenever I see her, she always starts the conversation by saying, 'Please don't get any more tattoos, Anna.'"
—Anna Schoenberger, thrift store manager
Tattoo illustration from Pen & Ink

Illustration: Courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton

"I got this tattoo because I suspected one day I would think it was stupid. I wanted to mark time, or mark the me that thought it was a good idea."
—Chris Colin, writer

Next: 4 real-life miracles you won't believe


Next Story