Stick and poke tattoo stickandpoke handpoked thunder lines

9 Things People Get Wrong About Stick And Poke Tattoos

Stick and poke, or hand-poked tattoos is quite a disputed topic.

Xavier in Tattoo Ideas

As expected, we've gotten a lot of hate and backlash for writing about appreciation for stick and poke tattoos. Every single stick and poke tattoo doesn't just have the best reputation. We're going to start with that fact. Everyone can get a needle and some ink, but not everyone can tattoo. Tattooing, as we all know, is serious business. Regardless whether you're tattooing a traditional style eagle or a phallic biomechanical style tattoo, it all goes down to the tattooing process to see how it ends up.

Stick and poke tattoo featuring an eye stickandpoke handpoked eye
Stick and poke tattoo featuring an eye #stickandpoke #handpoked #eye

Let's start with what really this is all about: generalization. That's what makes even some tattoo enthusiasts no different from the very people who judge them for their tattoos is the way they mark any tattoo hand-poked as poorly-done, dirty or tacky. Place yourself in the shoes of somebody who has seen somebody with an awful tattoo, tattoo machine-made and immediately thought that all tattoos are actually that bad their whole lives. That's the kind of behaviour you adapt once you dismiss something like hand-poked tattooing as bullsh-t.

Stick and poke tattoo in the making, benhdv / Deviant Art stickandpoke handpoked
Stick and poke tattoo in the making, benhdv / Deviant Art #stickandpoke #handpoked

And of course, there is also that connotation 'stick and poke' has as opposed to 'hand-poked'. Generally, 'stick and poke' and 'hand-poke' mean pretty much the same thing. It's tattooing through the use of a stick, and repeated 'poking' motions to deposit the ink under the skin. Simple as that. Only people use 'hand-poke' more with this type of tattoo and 'stick and poke' with the ones done on your best mate's couch.

We'll shed more light to what stick and poke tattooing is about. We won't try to change your views and convince you to get a stick and poke tattoo, but at least, show you what you usually get wrong about this form of tattooing. Again, it has a lot of risk. It's also more difficult than tattooing with a machine due to the possible complications and the fact that it's one wrong poke away from becoming a tattoo hazard.

Not so good looking material for stick and poke tattoo, Courtesy of VICE stickandpoke handpoked
Not so good looking material for stick and poke tattoo, Courtesy of VICE #stickandpoke #handpoked

"It's so gross and unsanitary."

This statement goes along with the connotation of every stick and poke tattoo with jailhouse tattoo (see below). And even when you take away the 'jail tatt' from stick and poke tattoos, there are still a lot of dumbasses picking their best friends' skin with a dirty needle and a Bic pen. Any reputable tattoo artist who specializes in hand-poking can give you the typical, nasty, bloodshed we all go through from getting tattooed.

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Stick and poke tattoo gone wrong. This is not how it's done. stickandpoke handpoked
Stick and poke tattoo gone wrong. This is not how it's done. #stickandpoke #handpoked

"You're probably infected with all kinds of disease right now." 

See more above. Very conditional. Like everything else, there's a very high possibility of screwing up if you have no idea what you're doing. Pretty much like tattooing with machine. You're gonna have to trust who's behind it. But the risk is a bit higher with hand-poking. It takes someone capable to do it because a stick and poke tattoo can go incredibly wrong. So, if you'd rather not risk a disease or infection from getting the tattoo done by your college boyfriend, then go search up who's the nearest stick and poke tattoo artist in your area.

That's not really how it's done either. Stick and poke tattoo gone wrong stickandpoke handpoked
That's not really how it's done either. Stick and poke tattoo gone wrong #stickandpoke #handpoked

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with a stick and poke tattoo, but then again, so is with everything else. All if gone through without proper caution and preparation.

Funny stick and poke tattoo, Tumblr stickandpoke handpoked
Funny stick and poke tattoo, Tumblr #stickandpoke #handpoked

"That sh-t looks like it's done in county jail."

I think tattooed people who say this about stick and poke tattoos are forgetting how others see them as ex-convicts for having tattoos. How ironic. There's no denying that stick and poke is widely associated with prison tattoos, though. But one shouldn't overlook the fact that prisoners have to use improvised materials in jail and sometimes to build their own DIY machines. So technically, not all prison tattoos are hand-poked.

Die Antwoord's Ninja stick and poke tattoo stickandpoke handpoked
Die Antwoord's Ninja stick and poke tattoo #stickandpoke #handpoked

"That's so ugly. You must have been drunk."

If there's something I won't contest, it's people's personal opinion, no matter how shitty. And I am guilty of the same opinions at times, so I'd rather not be any more of a hypocrite. There are all kinds of tattoos, in terms of quality. There are the superb ones, done by the some of the most skilled of them all; the nasty ones, done by the worst scratchers in history, etc. It's pretty subjective. But something I actually understand with people who intentionally get 'shitty' tattoos is the way they like it just as it is. They intentionally got it that way. And by shitty, I mean, simple, doodle-like tattoos that look more like they belong at the back of a high schooler's notebook rather than on skin.

"That's gotta hurt like a real bitch." Insane stick and poke tattoo stickandpoke handpoked geometry
"That's gotta hurt like a real bitch." Insane stick and poke tattoo #stickandpoke #handpoked #geometry

It's a damn tattoo, for Pete's sake, what would you expect? But of course, people who have skin prone to keloid should consider their options first, especially with the process of stick and poke tattoos. Other than that, pain scale differs from person to person typically. Some compare the paint to getting hair plucked, and others even doze off during the session. The patient pace of getting tattooed by hand compared to the machine might scare you thinking it might prolong the pain but that's if your 'artist' is an a-hole with a safety needle. Getting hand-poked by hand is a different sensation and your body will react to it differently.

"For God's sake, go to a pro. You will need a professional artist for a new stick and poke tattoo"stickandpoke handpoked
"For God's sake, go to a pro. You will need a professional artist for a new stick and poke tattoo"#stickandpoke #handpoked

You've probably met too many walking disasters, darling. I'm so sorry. There's not as much people today who are willing to learn the art of hand-poking which makes way to the rise of more incapable amateurs. You mean to tell me Horiyoshi III is no 'pro'. Oh, wow.

The machine for making a stick and poke tattoo, Courtesy of Death at Sea stickandpoke handpoked
The machine for making a stick and poke tattoo, Courtesy of Death at Sea #stickandpoke #handpoked

"Why are you condoning this?"

We aren't exactly encouraging everyone to go get themselves a hand-poked tattoo because they haven't lived yet if they didn't. All we want is to kind of brush the stigma that clings to the word 'stick and poke tattoo'. Personally, I think it's rather sad that the way of hand-poking has been reduced to something such as a prison mark. It does seem more acceptable when stick and poke is done at some old man's sanctuary in a Southeast Asian country, rather than on a bed in the comforts of your own flat with a good friend. The way I see it, it all goes down to capable hands. Tattooing without a license is illegal in many places, so do as you please at your own risk.

"Why is this even a thing?!" Awesome snake stick and poke tattoo stickandpoke handpoked
"Why is this even a thing?!" Awesome snake stick and poke tattoo #stickandpoke #handpoked

Look at this, you wouldn't have had your beloved stick and poke tattoo if it weren't for decades of practice and experimentation. And you know where it all started? Among the techniques were you guessed it, hand-poking. They didn't always use safety needles or pen ink (sarcasm, anyone?) back then, they had to make do with fish bones, charcoal, thorns, splinters, among many others. Do your research. I don't think anyone should be allowed to love something on its glory days while shunning what came before. It's like saying One Direction is better than The Beatles.

Friendship stick and poke tattoo, Real Friends Band / Tumblr stickandpoke handpoked
Friendship stick and poke tattoo, Real Friends Band / Tumblr #stickandpoke #handpoked

If there's something you people got right about the stick and poke-loving folks, it's this: we are so hipster. (Catch my sarcasm?)

As of now, I'm getting ready to perform my first stick and poke tattoo. It's on a friend from the local music scene and I'm learning and practicing as much as I can to be able to do it properly. Dis-moi merde!

(Disclaimer: The words written here may not reflect the views of all of Tattoodo. This is simply the author's opinion, based on facts from sources and experiences. Thank you.)

Xavier

@Xavier

When she's not writing for Tattoodo, Xavier likes experimenting with art and organizing local music shows. We're kidding, she's probably asleep. Follow her on Instagram @claudia_strife

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