Hello Sailor, Old School Tattoos Are Back
March 21, 2017
Fine line Tattoos are growing in popularity thanks to ever advancing tattooing technology. With this new technology, tattoo artists are now able to produce extraordinary amounts of detail in tattoos to the point that they resemble pieces drawn onto skin with a fine tipped pencil. This is in contrast to more traditional tattooing that involves thicker, bolder lines.
Fine line tattooing allows an artist to create tattoos that are minimalist and yet ornate. These tattoos can have incredible levels of detail built in, without being ‘loud’ about it. If you’re looking for an elegant and discreet tattoo that still has high levels of detail, then a fine line tattoo may be the right choice for you.
Getting a Fine line Tattoo
It’s common for people getting their first tattoo to be concerned with the pain of the experience, as well as how their tattoo will be received by others. Fine line tattoos offer a solution to both.
In the case of colour tattoos, the skin needs to be penetrated deeper and longer, in order to fully absorb the colour. On the other hand, black and grey lines are easier on the skin. They cause less stress on your body and therefore take less time to heal.
More precise needling also gives people more options in design. They can choose small tattoos with either a basic frame or more intricate line-work. They also have more flexibility in deciding where to be tattooed, since fine line pieces have an overall subtle look. More than a technique, fine line tattooing is an experience that appeals to newcomers and veterans alike.
What do artists recommend for fine line tattoos? In theory, artists don’t draw the line on what can or cannot be done by this technique, as long as you want that look. Anything from script and symbols to portraits would fit its precise style.
On top of that, it can give greater depth and more creative angles to traditional and trendy designs. For example, a portrait of a person or animal can be given a more detailed, unique expression. The careful layering of lines can also build the texture of a figure. Straddling the line between simple and complex, fine line tattoos leave a lot of room for creativity and skill to blossom.
From the Artists
The main challenge of doing fine line work lies in a very steady and accurate hand. There is very little room for error when every stroke counts, and using small needles is tricky because it’s much easier to make mistakes than it would be with a thicker grouping of needles. As needles are refined to become more consistent, artists can similarly evolve.
Joanna Roman from Chronic Ink says she would adapt her take on the technique by continuing to go as thin or small as possible, while maintaining very clean and accurate line-work.
Joanna Roman recalls her most memorable fine line piece for a young girl who dedicated her first tattoo to her parents. She never thought she would get a tattoo so she wanted something small and delicate. To honour her parents, who had been deaf her entire life, she chose the outline of the American Sign Language symbol for “I love you.”
Even though she wasn’t hearing impaired herself, sign language was her channel for understanding and relating to her parents. She demonstrated this on the day of her session, when she brought her mom to the studio (because she was under 18 years old), and helped translate with the front desk. When it was time, her mom quietly watched as the tattoo and tender message materialized on her skin.
At the sight of the final product, her mom was moved to tears, and signed that she loved it. Despite the small size and relatively quick process, this tattoo carried a lot of meaning for everyone who had a hand in its formation. Even an initially skeptical mother came to admire the fine lines that made up the piece, and the classy impression it left.
Joanna’s story tells how a modest style can still speak volumes.
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