Although hand poke tattoos and ones that are given with a tattoo gun essentially produce the same result, the techniques are very different. Tattoo guns are powered by electricity and should be moved in a swift, steady motion against the skin. Hand poke tattoos, on the other hand, are only powered by a tattoo artists hand.
Hand poke tattoos are administered with a single needle that has been sterilized, fixed to a grip, and dipped in tattoo ink. Hand poke tattoos are just as permanent as tattoos that are given with a tattoo gun, and both methods can product a similar result. The thing about hand poke tattoos is that they take much longer, and the artist needs to really understand how deep to go, exactly where to place each needle, and how to do so in a way that creates even lines and solid colors.
We’re featuring 10 tattoo artists from around the world that have mastered the art of hand poke tattoos. It’s important to choose an artist carefully! You’re going to eb spending multiple hours with them if you decide to get a hand poke tattoo.
Blame Max Tattoo is based out of Poznan, Poland. His Instagram is filled with images of delicate hand poke tattoos that he has completed on his clients. Most of the artwork he does is small, but his portfolio includes a few larger pieces – even a few head pieces!
Boo Tattoo is a tattoo shop owner in the UK. Not only does she artfully apply hand poke tattoos to her clients, but her female-ran tattoo shop, Embody Tattoo, is eco-friendly, sustainable, vegan, and inclusive for all. Boo’s style is both delicate and bold, but she seems to use nature as the inspiration behind many of her designs.
Sarah Lu is another hand and poke tattoo artist in the UK. Her style is bold and dark – she crates many pieces that are filled with depth and drama. The fact that her tattoos are so saturated is truly impressive, considering each dot of ink was applied manually, with a single needle.
Taticompton is based out of California, although she has been reported to travel for work. Her style is sort of whimsical, with many images of fairies, goddesses, stars and moons. Taticompton impressively creates even, solid lines in even her most delicate hand poke tattoos.
Alina is the girl behind stickaroundtattoo. She works at Little Gold Studio in Australia and tattoos delicate hand poke tattoos that highlight the natural human form. Many of her pieces feature faces, geometric patterns, plants, and insects. Her work kind of has a stipple look to it, which adds to its delicate nature.
Nick Berger is a traveling hand poke tattoo artist who is based out of Pennsylvania. Their style is hard to pin down, but it is certainly unique. Many of their pieces look like they were created with a single pen stroke, as the images are formed by many overlapping swirls and loops.
Kate Memphis is the co-owner of Always Tattoo Studio in Toronto, Canada. She obviously takes inspiration from nature when creating hand poke tattoos for her clients, and she does it well. When she isn’t poking tattoos by hand, she is molding and painting pottery – mugs, plates, incense holders, and more. Since her shop has been temporarily closed due to COVID, Kate has had more time to focus on her love of pottery and painting.
Pokeeeeeeeoh is a hand poke tattoo artist in Sweden, where they also co-owns the shop they works out of. Pokeeeeeeeoh’s style is very simple, but that doesn’t mean their job is easy. One look at their Instagram page and you can tell how hard they work to create bold, even, solid lines for each and every one of their hand poked tattoos – an impressive feat for any tattoo artist! Even the ones that use a machine.
Ruby is a hand poke tattoo artist based out of Massachusetts. Not only does she create beautiful tattoos, but she has completed some with an impressive amount of saturated blackwork – a feat for any tattoo artist, whether they use the hand poke method or a tattoo gun.
Pacing_Tiger is based out of New York City. They currently work at Fun City Tattoo, Manhattan’s oldest tattoo shop! Pacing_Tiger’s style shows a lot of stipple work, meaning they use many dots – often unconnected – to create beautiful images. Many of which are created using negative space, with their client’s skin as the focal point of the tattoo, rather than the ink itself.
No matter where you are in the world, there is a hand poke tattoo artist near you! Hopefully this list brings you closer to an artist in your area. Check them out and let us know what you think!