Dotwork Hand Outline

Hand tattoos more than almost any other body part allow the artist to create a tattoo that has movement and life that a static piece could never have. For me, this means that simple yet fluid designs can easily beat out photo realistic mastery dumped flat on the back of a hand, and this tattoo of dots tracing the “mold line” of the hand by Christian Bedics (of Germany’s Time Travelling Tattoo) is a great example. Like all of his tattoos, this dotwork piece is hand poked. I should also mention that Christian is probably better for his scarification work — he’s one of the scarmasters appearing at the First International ScarCon, taking place May 4th and 5th in London.


Speaking of movement in hand tattoos, here’s another, much more whimsical tattoo also by Christian Bedics. Sure beats a finger mustache!


Another White Palm

Cross-spectrum body modification artist Wayne Fredrickson of Zodiac Tattoo in Moreno Valley, CA — one of the few practitioners who’ve been featured here for tattoos (don’t miss that crazy link), piercing, and scarification — just posted a good example of how clean white tattoos often look, and how successfully they generally heal. It’s weird, even in these edumacaterd days, the urban myth persists that white ink tattoos are next-to-impossible to do, to keep from fading or changing color, or are even dangerous (someone emailed me just yesterday concerned because they’d been told that white ink is fundamentally toxic). In reality white ink is as non-toxic and inert as any modern tattoo pigment (that is, safe to tattoo with, but a carcinogen if you spend a decade snorting large quantities of the pure powder base), and appears to last better than most, resistant to fading and other discoloration. In addition, when you’re talking about white-only tattoos, I feel like there’s some trick-of-the-eye that makes them more “forgiving” — slight breaks and imperfections in the linework are less likely to be caught by the eye, which makes them ideal for work on the palm for example, a location where it can be difficult to get ink of any color to stay perfectly (something which the eye instantly picks up on in black ink).

In the example below, done on a palm (the location would have created more of a challenge than the choice of ink) you can see the tattoo progressing from fresh, to two weeks later, and finally to two months later. There’s no reason to believe that it will look nearly identical to that third shot two decades from now as well, although the lines may blur slightly due to the mechanics of skin. You may recall in November I actually posted a similar tattoo — click here to see a 13 year old white ink palm tattoo (that one is more yellow because of the pigmentation of the wearer’s skin, not because of its age). As usual, click the pic to zoom in.


Tattooed Ear Rim Stripes

I saw a great ear rim tattoo today by Delphine Noiztoy of Divine Canvas ( that seemed very reminiscent of the sweet triangular ear rim tattoo by Su at Buena Vista Tattoo Club. Besides the basic design, the other difference is that Delphine’s piece is done using dotwork technique rather than a normal flat tattoo fill. I have no idea which of these two pieces I prefer, but if I was the client on this piece, I think I might consider pulling the patter further along the top of the rim.


Speaking of the blackmasters at Divine Canvas I also wanted to quickly include this “NEKRO” text palm tattoo by Matt “One Hit” Black. Remarkably, this is a fully healed tattoo that has never been touched up. Not a simple achievement.


Screaming Hand Palm Tattoo

I don’t want to overpost the work of Ferank Manseed, which I just covered yesterday, palm tattoos no less, but I just had to include this screaming hand tattoo because it’s got to be about the most perfect idea for a palm tattoo ever. For those that don’t recognize it, the “Screaming Hand” logo was designed in 1973 by Jim Phillips for the Santa Cruz Skateboards team, and is widely used as a symbol of skateboarding in general. I’ve seen the logo tattooed quite a few times, but this is even better — actually becoming the logo. Now to tattoo his hand all blue…


John Waters, Eat Your Heart Out

There are very few people that can successfully pull of a pencil ‘stache without attracting the attention of Chris Hanson.  Salvador Dali did it, Raoul Julia was able to do it occasionally, Prince became a sex symbol with his, and of course John Waters has been rocking his for decades.  Now when many of us were kids, especially those of us with dads who had a mustache, a pencil could easily transform into a mustache.  Just stick it under your nose and curl your top lip.  It was the memory of doing that as a kid that led IAM: Ominous Angus to get this finger tattoo.  To him it’s a reminder to never grow too old.

Palm Tattoo Healing

Both Rob and I have regularly covered the work of British tattoo artist Ferank Manseed ([email protected]) here on BME, enjoying his hand-poked machine-free tattooing. Today he touched up one of the geometric palm tattoos that we featured in the past that had less than perfect healing — even with the best technique, palm tattoos can be unpredictable. I’ve seen some people’s last perfectly on the first try, and other people’s skin never seems to be able to accept the ink. This is due to the fact that the palm has especially think and calloused temporary skin — the artist needs to punch through this layer to make it last and place the ink in the stable layer, without going so deep that the ink spreads, or is absorbed and removed by the body. Since going too deep can leave a permanent blown out tattoo, and not going deep enough just falls out, many artists choose to err on the side to too light. Next to the bottom of the foot, the inner surface of the hand — palm and fingers — is the most difficult anatomy to produce a good tattoo on. Anyway, Ferank shared with us photos of this palm tattoo. From left to right (and you can zoom in to this), these photos show the tattoo fresh, then how it healed after this first session, and finally mid-session on the touch-up.

EDIT/UPDATE: I should add two notes to this entry. First of all, the middle picture was taken eight weeks after the first one. Second, and this is perhaps most important, the client was a fellow tattoo artist, and thus has to both wear tight gloves and work with their hands every day, which greatly complicates healing.


Dipped in Ink

I love these finger stripes and finger tip tattoos — very neat little touch of ink, and if his hand has been dipped into the liquid world of mods and magically altered by the experience. With just a few simple lines and a little fill, it really tickles my imagination. This was done by Max of Body Temple in London on his own hand.



Gerhard Wiesbeck’s Dense Blackwork

A friend runs a “heavy blackwork” group on FB where I was introduced to the work of German tattooist Gerhard Wiesbeck ( of Time Traveling Tattoo ( Much of his ultra-dense blackwork borrows on traditional South Pacific “tribal” motifs, and I encourage you to explore his galleries to enjoy that aspect of his work, but I’m particularly taken by his blackwork that draws its inspiration by modern geometry, math, and graphic design. Unlike much of the geometric tattooing out there which is intricate and detailed, Gerhard’s work is often ultra-bold and very, very heavy in nature, giving it a unique appearance. Here are three pieces that particularly struck me.

The first one is my favorite by the way — isn’t that amazing?

Finally, I want to show a piece of his that’s in a completely different genre from most of the rest of Gerhard Wiesbeck’s pieces, and is one of those “obvious” ideas that somehow I’ve never seen before. This tattoo of little hands superimposed on the wearer’s hands is quite brilliant!


Something Special in Gold

Following up the post I made earlier today about the great new tattooing that Lucky Diamond Rich is getting I wanted to remind people that he’s also a tattoo artist at Jinxproof Tattoo Studio in Geelong, Victoria. This little thumb skull — and who doesn’t love skull thumbs? — that he did for Tonii particularly caught my eye because it’s got one of those special little touches that 99.9% of the time you’ll only see if you know what to look for. Meaning, that it’s something that’ll bring one of those sneaky smiles to the wearer’s face when they’re reminded of it as they look down at their hands, creeping out everyone else at the funeral (or whatever). If you haven’t noticed it yet even with all that hinting — the skull has a gold tooth. Little details like this really separate the wheat from the chaff.