Gorgeous Neil Gaiman Tattoos Inspired By The Author

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Leah Rachel von Essen

Senior Contributor

By day, Leah Rachel von Essen is the editor-in-chief of Chicago Booth Magazine at the University of Chicago. By night, she reviews genre-bending fiction for Booklist, and writes regularly as a senior contributor at Book Riot. Her blog While Reading and Walking has over 10,000 dedicated followers over several social media outlets, including Instagram. She writes passionately about books in translation, chronic illness and bias in healthcare, queer books, twisty SFF, and magical realism and folklore. She was one of a select few bookstagrammers named to NewCity’s Chicago Lit50 in 2022. She is an avid traveler, a passionate fan of women’s basketball and soccer, and a lifelong learner. Twitter: @reading_while

My next tattoo is going to be a Neil Gaiman quote. My problem is that I don’t know which one (although both current frontrunners are from The Ocean at the End of the Lane: “Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either.” and “Words save our lives, sometimes.”) I’ll want it to be on my forearm, so it will be a bigger commitment, too, than my back tattoos, which I don’t have to see every day. Luckily, the Internet has my back when it comes to inspiration for literary tattoos. These Neil Gaiman tattoos are inspiring, simple, minimalist, maximalist, and all-over breathtaking.


the pin

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Malört (@malortmalmo)

“Sometimes, you wake, and sometimes, yes, you die. But there is a third alternative. Sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”

the pin


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Austin Ruel (@austin_ruel_tattoo)


the pin

“Nonetheless,” said the star, “he has my heart.”

the pin

“The fastest way to travel is by candlelight.”

the pin

“Have been unavoidably detained by the world. Expect me when you see me.”


the pin

“‘It doesn’t matter that you didn’t believe in us,’ said Mr. Ibis. ‘We believed in you.'”

The Graveyard Book

the pin

“Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken.”


the pin

“Make good art”


Back in 2012, a fan wrote Neil Gaiman asking if he would write a comic for a tattoo on his back. Gaiman said he would, if it benefitted the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. When fan Burton Olivier said yes, Gaiman raised him one further—he asked David Mack to design it. The result was a gorgeous tattoo that is wholly traditional. For the full tattoo, check out Gaiman’s blog post about the experience—but here’s the poem he wrote:

I will write in words of fire. I will write them on your skin. I will write about desire. Write beginnings, write of sin. You’re the book I love the best, your skin only holds my truth, you will be a palimpsest lines of age rewriting youth. You will not burn upon the pyre. Or be buried on the shelf. You’re my letter to desire: And you’ll never read yourself. I will trace each word and comma As the final dusk descends, You’re my tale of dreams and drama, Let us find out how it ends.

Do you have any Neil Gaiman tattoos? Share in the comments!