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What Is Hand Poke Tattooing

Stick & Poke is a method of tattooing. The tattoo process is the same as using a tattoo machine (gun), but the needle is hand powered rather than electric. Fundamentally, hand poke tattooing is using a sharp point to deposit an ink pigment into one’s skin to leave a permanent mark. Body art has been practised for thousands of years. It is thought hand poke tattoos were used to signify health, birth, death, religion and religious rituals.

Hand poke tattoos are very distinctive in their look, and many styles can be achieved with various techniques (see Hand Poke Technique for more). It is often agreed that hand pokes look more natural and organic.

The method is very simple, and that’s often the appeal. There is no aggressive machine buzz or equipment. Rather, just a needle, ink and sterilisation apparatus. It generally doesn’t hurt as much as a machine tattoo either. This is because its less invasive which allows the skin to heal quicker.

Commonly, stick & poke tattoos are done in a dot work style. This looks especially good when applied to mandalas and geometric shapes as every little dot makes up a fundamental part of the design.