Even though I’m also something of a Font Nerd, I’ve never seriously considered getting words tattooed on myself. I guess that’s why I never really thought about how important typography is for tattoo artists.
David Allen, a tattoo artist out of Portage, Indiana’s Bluebird Tattoo (the “Leave” link is clever), has several posts on his truly excellent blog devoted to how he uses fonts in his work, namely his dingbat font compilation for use as tattoo flash, his detailed demo of how he chooses and lays out tattoo typography (when he’s not freehanding), and a really sweet collection of tattoo fonts (some free to download—I wish I had stumbled across this before I scratched out the runty drawing for the Ink Nerd banner). He even explains his font choices for his website!
I have found Adobe’s font library extremely useful for choosing fonts for design purposes, and it’s also just fun to enter text and switch between fonts. It turns out lamer versions exist, marketed specifically as “tattoo” font libraries (I still spent a half an hour clicking through dozens of goofy fonts. Who’s lame now, lame-o?).
UPDATE: Soon after I wrote this, Inked Magazine (re)launched, featuring an article by Ina Saltz called “Body Type”. The article focuses more on the meanings rather than the fonts, but there is some good-looking word art there. You can view all of the issues online in their Digital Edition (look in the Archive for this and other back issues; “Body Text” starts on page 68 of issue #1). The Flash viewer for the digital edition is pretty cool; you can see every issue in its entirety, and turn the pages by clicking and dragging.