The practice of hand poking, also known as stick and poke, has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. While many may associate tattooing with machines, hand poke tattoos offer a one-of-a-kind and traditional approach to tattooing that has resurfaced within contemporary culture.
Like anything, a lack of knowledge breeds misconceptions, but despite the initial misconceptions surrounding hand poke tattoos, they are gaining popularity for many reasons. One of the biggest misconceptions is that hand poke tattoos might fade quicker than those done with machines. This isn't necessarily the case; similar to any tattoo, the technique and artist's experience are essential. Hand poking, in particular, has been a part of various cultures, particularly in North Africa, where it has deep cultural and religious significance, so it may not be the style of tattooing but the way it is done.
So how do they work?
The hand poke method involves creating detailed designs by pricking the skin with a singular needle, forming a pattern of dots. These dots, varying in size, create elaborate designs that reflect the artistic nature of hand poke.
Why hand poke?
Aside from the unique aesthetic appeal that results in a much more subtle tattoo, an advantage of hand poke tattoos is that they are more gentle in nature and, therefore, less painful. Although they take longer to complete, thus limiting the design choice- the slow and controlled process allows for high precision. And, despite wavering stereotypes and misunderstandings, as more people become aware of this style, the understanding of hand poke tattoos continues to evolve.