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Dotwork is a tattoo trend to be watched in 2017. Recent years have seen a revival in this style, especially as dot work tattoos are combined with other tattoo trends. Unique and artistic, they a style are worth considering for your next tattoo.
Dotwork is a tattooing technique where the artist tattoos several dots for a striking visual effect. These dots create either the entire image or just the shading. Dotwork used for shading is known as stippling. This technique uses black ink, grey ink, or sometimes red ink.
Dotwork used for shading a forearm Mandala tattoo.
Dotwork is a time-consuming technique, but it is well worth the wait. Each dot must be placed precisely, so the artist must be both highly skilled and patient. It is not uncommon for dot work tattoo artists to abandon conventional tattoo machines in favour of the hand poked technique. Hand poked tattoos take longer, but some artists find that it allows for more precise dot work.
Hand poked, or Stick and Poke, tattooing may have gained popularity in recent years, but it is far from new. This technique dates back to some of the oldest tattoos, with Polynesian tribes and the ancient Egyptians having used it.
Until recently hand poked technique had a bit of a negative stigma against it. As machines became mainstream, hand poked tattoos were generally viewed by the mainstream as homemade or prison tattoos. However, in the hands of a professional, stick and poke can be used for highly detailed tattoos.
At Chronic Ink, our artists will typically use coil machines over the stick and poke method. The coil machines are generally safer, faster, more consistent, and still allow for intricate details.
Dotwork tattoos have been most commonly used in mandalas, geometric, religious, or spiritual tattoos. However, they can be used in just about any style. Today it is common for dot work to be used in combination with other tattoo styles. Some types of tattoos using dotwork that have been rising in popularity recently include negative space tattoos, geometric tattoos and blackwork tattoos.
In these hybrid tattoo styles, dotwork is generally used for stippling. Stippling is using dots for shading or in place of where colours or patterns might have been used.
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