Hand Poking

Traditional Tattoo Hand Poking by Albar Tikam

In a tattoo there are some methods known and these methods are classified as the traditional process. These methods are the ‘Hand-Tapping’ and ‘Hand Poking’. These two traditional methods are maybe looked similar, but it is completely different. Here are the definitions of these methods.

  • Hand Tapping. Actually it is a method for tattooing that originally comes from Borneo and Mentawai Island. This tattoo style is so unique, especially for the design. Why? It is because it is created by using the wooden tapping stick with a tattoo needle at the end of that wooden stick. The tattoo artist will be not worked alone, but he is helped by an assistant that is known as the ‘skin stretcher’. This assistant will stretch the skin to create the maximum result of the tattoo. During this tattooing process, the tattoo artist will not use even a single electric tattoo machine. We can say that it is manual tattooing where the sound of the wooden stick creates a rhythm which is sounded like a meditation purpose.
  • Hand Poking. In this method the tattoo artists will use a stick and also needle for creating a design and the artists does it dot by dot. That is why; it can create a more subtle and delicate result than just using a common machine. Besides that, the clients also say that this method is less painful and it creates a different feeling than the tattoo machine. 

Those are the differences between Hand Tapping and Hand Poking Tattoo. Bali is one of the islands in Indonesia where you can find plenty of tattoo shops and artists where they are not only offering the modern tattooing, but also the handmade or the manual one. However, we can say that the manual tattoo artist is like a minority in the tattoo industry because it is dominated by the tattoo artists who use electric machines. 

How the Hand Poking Tattoo is done

It is so interesting where you can get a fact that some manual tattoo artists in Bali even offer the hand poking tattoo service on the beach. It will make you are able to enjoy the peaceful and beautiful nuance of the beach when you are getting the tattoo. Every tattoo artist maybe has a different method. Sometimes the artist will be starting the traditional tattoo hand poking in Bali by doing a solo meditation. After that, you can ask the artist to start by doing a few pokes first to ensure that you are able to handle the pain. The tattoo will be started by dipping the needle into a small pot which is filled by the black ink and then he begins to poke some dots, one by one. These dots will then forming the lines in any shapes that you want to have. Sometimes, the clients, or you, in this case, can do a ritual of meditation too to ensure that the pain is reduced and the result will be maximum.

Less Pain Tattoo, You should Try the Traditional Tattoo Hand Poking in Bali

Most of the clients said that they felt so relaxing while doing this hand poking tattoo because it just has the slightest bit of pain. Some of the tattoo artists will say that it is because of the ritual that is done before starting the hand poking tattoo where the spiritual connection which is experienced by the artists and the client had prevented the pain. In addition, the hand poking tattoo is also really precise since every dot is one swift in and out before the tattoo artist moving along to the other dot. The modern tattoo with electric machines is more painful because the machine drives the needle out and in so fast during the tattoo process. It is definitely like a scrape that causes some pains to you. In other words we can say that the hand poking tattoo is a kind of tattoo process for you who want to get the precise result with less pain. 

Well, the traditional tattoo hand poking in Bali is also a quick healing one

We knew that the modern tattoo needs some days or maybe weeks until it is completely healed. However, it will be different for the traditional tattoo hand poking in Bali. The hand poking tattoo is not causing any types of blood and it less swelling too. In addition, it is less redness and peeling that the modern tattoo. Some tattoo artists said that if you had the hand poking tattoo you can even go swimming within a couple of days. It is for sure that this healing time is much shorter than the regular tattoo where it is usually healed properly after two weeks or maybe more. Most of the clients also reported that they are really happy with the results and got many compliments since they had the hand poking tattoo. 

Just like the hand tapping process, the hand poking tattoo doesn’t use any electric machines during the tattooing. That is why; the hand poking tattoo will need a longer time than the usual tattoo that is created by the machine. For a ‘mandala’ pattern as an example, mostly you will need for about 5 hours long to finish all patterns and get a great result. In addition, this traditional tattoo hand poking in Bali can also use more than one needle where an artist can use two, three, or more needles with the same or different size. 

Well, how about the price? It is for sure that the price is different. It depends on the artists. Sometimes the difficulties of the pattern can affect the price, but sometimes it wouldn’t. One thing for sure is that the price is usually counted per hour. To know about the exact price you can come to some tattoo shops that offer this traditional tattoo hand poking in Bali and ask them about the price first. It is so easy to find many tattoo shops in Bali especially in the southern Bali, Kerobokan, and other areas.


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