what are stick and poke tattoos, hand poked, tattoo artist, tattoo aftercare, ink, skin, needle, art

Every day, people around the world visit tattoo parlors to decorate their bodies. Most people are familiar with the noisy, vibrating tattoo machines that deposit black and colored inks just below the skin. But now, there is a growing movement towards creating manual stick-and-poke tattoos.

Also known as hand-drawn, or hand-poked, tattoos, stick-and-poke artists apply ink one drop at a time using a special tattoo needle. This process has been around since Egyptian times and is considered a more natural and gentler tattoo than the machine-generated variety.

what are stick and poke tattoos, hand poked, tattoo artist, tattoo aftercare, ink, skin, needle, art

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look into this method of tattooing.

How Do Stick-and-Poke Tattoos Work?

A stick-and-poke tattoo is a manual process where an artist dips a special, sterilized needle into ink and deposits the ink into the skin one drop at a time. It is a tedious, time-consuming process and often produces art with a hand-drawn look.

These tattoos are often dainty and minimalist and are gaining popularity for their unique, one-of-a-kind look. The tattoos, when created by a professional, will last just as long as a machine-generated tattoo. Some consider the tattoos a more intimate procedure with the artist since it takes more time and precision than a machine-generated tattoo. Some enthusiasts claim it is less painful but because of the additional time required to apply the ink.

What Type of Ink Is Used in Stick-and-Poke Tattoos?

Some people try to use the stick-and-poke method to do their own tattoos. In some cases, amateur tattoo artists try to use pen ink or Indian ink with homemade tattoo needles, which is dangerous. Legitimate tattoo artists use professional tattoo ink in sterile studios and have licenses and insurance, thus it is safer to go to a professional tattoo shop than do it yourself. Professional tattoo ink is safe to inject and also lasts for many years than other inks. 

Caring for Your Skin After Getting a Hand-Drawn Tattoo

Advocates of stick-and-poke tattoos claim these tattoos are less painful than machine-based tattoos. Tattoo aftercare procedures are similar, although stick-and-poke tattoos do not scab over. New tattoos should be covered with a bandage for the first few hours, and then they should be cleaned with an unscented cleaner and covered with a tattoo ointment or Aquaphor.

The tattoo should be cleaned and moisturized twice a day until the wounds heal. Keep the tattoo out of the sun for the first few weeks, and your new hand-poked tattoo will last for many years.

How Is Stick-and-Poke Art Different Than Machine-Drawn Tattoos?

Everyone appreciates different styles of art, and tattoos are no different from other types of creative works. Since stick-and-poke tattoos are manually applied one drop at a time, the art looks more like hand-drawn artwork.

what are stick and poke tattoos, hand poked, tattoo artist, tattoo aftercare, ink, skin, needle, art

Key Takeaways:

  • Stick-and-poke tattoos are manually applied by artists one drop at a time.
  • Artists use sterile needles to apply the professional tattoo ink making it safer than at-home ink.
  • Tattoo aftercare is similar to machine-created tattoos.
  • A professional tattoo artist should apply hand-poked tattoos.

Where to Get a Stick-and-Poke Tattoo?

Many enthusiasts claim they can safely apply stick-and-poke tattoos at home without going to a legitimate studio, however, professional tattoo studios provide hand-poked tattoos in a sterile, professionally equipped studio. These studio artists are business people with necessary licenses and special liability insurance obtained from the Marine Agency, one of the nation’s leading insurers of tattoo and piercing studios. Having liability insurance means the shop owner has coverage if one of their customers catches an infection or has other medical complications. The insurance protects against lawsuits and other liabilities. Call the Marine Agency at 800-763-4775, or visit their website at for more information.

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