The Un-Friday Followup?

I know Rob made a tradition of posting scar follow-ups on Fridays, but I’ve never been good at planning things, and better at doing things when inspiration strikes, so I’m going to post a couple more followups today instead of waiting until week’s end.

This first one is “selective ink rubbing” that Brandon Pearce of Foolish Pride Tattoo Company ( in St. Petersburg, Florida did eight months ago. In these pictures you can see it fresh, then at three months, and finally as it is now, at eight months into the healing. As you can see, it’s a normal cutting, but he’s rubbed ink into parts of it (the glasses, eyelashes, and barrette/bow) to accentuate the design, a technique that he’s used in a number of scars he’s done. Click to take a closer look at any of the stages.

brandon-pearce-ink-rubbing-1t brandon-pearce-ink-rubbing-2t brandon-pearce-ink-rubbing-3t

I also wanted to show a blackwork-vs-scar sleeve that he’s been slowly building up with linework scars of vegetation like leaves and flowers. You really can’t go wrong with scars over blackwork!

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Healing Facial Scars

I think most people know of the Maori tradition of facial tattooing or Moko, but I suspect most people see this tradition as being about tattooing (as in using needles to poke a design using ink into the skin). At its roots though it’s more likely an extension of their tradition of wood carving — similar patterns are chiseled into their homes, furniture, and boats. Mokos appear to have began by applying this wood art to the human body, literally chiseling or carving designs into the face, using similar tools for similar results. Some time after this practice began, ink was the added to the scars, making them more visible, and in time the tradition slowly moved away from scarification-based methods to tattooing-based ones. Some early photos show the three dimensional nature of Mokos created using the ink-rubbing scarification technique, although by the time Western anthropologists began documenting the practice it was already falling out of fashion.

Anyway, I was reminded of that history when I saw this skin peel done by John Durante (of Seattle-based jewelry company Evolve), which you can see here both fresh and well into healing. I really like the way he has used a sort of “reverse negative space” by cutting out a simple shape, but leaving a circle of skin in the middle untouched. As to why these facial scars inset rather than raising (as most scars do), it’s possible that it’s some evolution that makes facial injuries less likely to disfigure, it could be due to there being less subcutaneous fat, or it could be due to the vascular nature, but I don’t really have a good explanation as to why the majority of facial scars are “innies” rather than “outies”. If there are any medically aware readers that want to save me some googling, I’m like a Ferengi… all ears.


You don’t have to move far off the face for the scarred skin to start being more likely to raise than stay inset. Here’s another good example of a scar showing fresh versus healing, a throat piece done by Brendan Russell of Tribal Urge in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. The sharp-eyed will notice that this isn’t just a skin removal scar by the way — it’s also an ink rubbing done with white ink, which has the interesting side-effect of making the age of the scar difficult to eyeball.


UV Ink Rubbing

Dundalk, Ireland’s Baz Black ( did this UV ink rubbing over a skin removal scarification of an exclamation mark. The top row shows the scar as it was fresh, back in December, and the bottom row shows it as it is now, seven weeks into healing. In an attempt to get the ink to stay more solidly, he had the customer come back every day for the first three days of healing, so he could change the dressing for him and reapply the UV glow ink each time. There’s a little bit of patchiness, but overall the effect is very solid.


Suspension-Themed Ink Rubbing

About a year ago Misty Forsberg of Southtown Tattoo and Body Piercing ( in Fort Smith, Arkansas, did a suspension-themed cutting (note the accuracy of the knot) on Kyrsten, which was then rubbed with magenta ink, which you can see here fresh. The right side picture was taken at eleven months, showing the scar successfully mottled with color, the magenta tint giving making it look permanently inflamed.

Humpback Whale White Ink Cutting

I have been watching this humpback whale scar by Brenno Alberti of BodyFactory in Trieste, Italy with great pleasure. First of all, because he’s pumped up the normal cutting over blackwork effect by a level by rubbing the cutting with white ink — I suspect this will be differentiated from normal cutting by the detail in the finer parts of the linework — but more importantly because I just love the design and it’s pristinely cut. By the way, sometimes it just amazes me how quickly scars heal — it looks so great on day three — but I suspect that with this piece the white ink is creating a bit of an illusion.

By the way, I don’t have an ink rubbing of a humpback whale, but believe-it-or-not, but I have rubbed a humpback whale. Click the pic for a closer look.