Best Hand-Poked Tattoo Ideas to get the Artist in You Started Right Away


Here is a statement I always believed in: ‘Great machines end up designing the best tattoos, provided the best artists are holding them.’ As much as I stand behind this affirmation, even in 2022, things have changed a bit— changed for the better.

The post-pandemic era has made it difficult for tattoo fanatics to keep the ‘Ink’ cravings in check. What started with one random thigh tattoo in 2018 seems to have paved the way for an all-body design, with small, medium, big, and colored renditions feeling like commonplaces. And this refreshing enthusiasm also made room for some hand-poke tattoo artists and designs— with zero dependencies on hefty coil or rotary tattoo machines.

Hand-poked or stick-and-poke tattoos are simple ‘needle-and-ink’ tattoos that do not require any kind of electricity. You need a needle, some ink, and, yes, a vision as an artist. 

Hand-Poked Designs: True Innovation or a Quick Fix!

First of all, stick and poke tattoos aren’t new concepts. Artists without access to  massive tattoo starter kits involving machines, diverse ink choices, grips, and practice skins have been designing hand pokes for decades now, especially at social gatherings and carnivals.

Yet, we are talking about stick-and-poke in 2022, owing to their unprecedented growth in the post-pandemic era. Throughout this discussion, we shall touch base with some of the best hand-poked tats that experienced artists can consider for taking their stick-and-poke expertise and skills to a whole new level.

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Photo By @iotattooing/Instagram


Not every tattoo can be designed using needles and ink. Yet, you are in luck if you prefer shells over any other design. Shell tattoos with well-etched outlines are great stick-and-poke picks. If you are the one to get inked, a ‘Shell’ Stick and Poke ensure that the skin surface doesn’t go through all the trauma. 

Petal Placement

If you love a little flower, a petal will make sense to you. As an artist, you can also be sure that petal outlines are easy to design, even without expert equipment at your disposal. Design-wise, petal outlines go easy on the skin, leaving fewer scabs over time, as compared to standard machine tattoos.


‘Life, giving you lemons’ is an excellent tattoo backdrop, signifying the value of an opportunity. You can get the same concept inked using stick-and-poke resources, provided the artist you connect with is an experienced one. 

Yes, some might recommend getting the dark outlines done using dedicated tattoo machines that can penetrate the skin over 3000 times each second. But hand-poked designs are easier on the skin, look more detailed at times, and are also cost-effective. 


Inking a fragile fluttering creature doesn’t sound all that demanding, right! Not exactly, as there can be some complex butterfly designs over the internet capable of putting the most advanced tattoo machines to shame. Yet, for smaller layouts that are more of outlines, hand-poked stills seem more than adequate. 

Yes, as an artist or even the person getting inked, you need to realize that covering long pieces, wide areas and applying colors might be far-fetched with stick-and-poke. But then, if you seek minimalism, the ‘needle-ink’ layouts are good enough. 


Have you ever considered getting the famous ‘Last Supper’ inked on you— minus the shady thrills and loud colors. Stick-and-poke allows you to go minimalist with these tattoos. Imagine a couple of fine lines underneath your elbow ditch, followed by pillar candles, cheesy boards, and other standard elements. 

However, the designs can vary based on your personality and the skill of the stick-and-poke artist. 

Magic Woman

Still seeking innovation in the hand-poke arena! You can opt for the magic woman in black— a design choice led by sharp yet bright light, dots, and other elements. And the best thing about a tattoo like this is that scarring is kept to a minimum. Even the tattoo heals quicker than you can imagine. 

As a tattoo artist, you can blindly rely on these six hand-poked design ideas for making a new tattoo without having to rely on top-notch tattoo starter kits. If you are starting out and planning to migrate to complex machines, high-quality inks, and other accessories, stick-and-poke can be a pretty good start.

But then, it isn’t easy to just randomly start with a hand-poke gig. Here are the steps you need to follow to make your first engagement worth the effort:

Prepare a relevant Starter Kit. 

Even though you need not opt for high-end coil tattoo machines, every stick-and-poke tattoo design needs you to prepare well in advance. A good approach would be to keep the right tattoo ink, tattoo needles, ink cups, alcohol pads, and hazel wipes handy. A disposable razor should also make the cut, provided you need to cut through some lines to make the entire design look better.

Prepare the Environment

Now that you have the kit ready, it’s time to clean the surface— a ubiquitous approach to any form of tattooing. Also, if you have a razor handy, consider cleaning or rather shaving the surface with the same. 

Place the Stencil correctly.

Every stick-and-poke tattoo requires a guided approach—making the stencils important. However, proper stencil placement is important to ensure the gel application is on point and the designs are aligned as per the client’s requirements.

Prepare the Ink

Once everything else is ready, prepare the ink or the concoction in a clean mini jar. Dilute the same depending on the design and color choices.


If you are an artist who wants to embark on a tattooing journey, hand-poked is the best way forward. The learning curve is small, and the designs are easy to execute. Even as a customer looking to get their first tattoo done, minimalism— with a hand-poked tattoo design— is a good way to get inked without scabbing, extensive itching rigors, and endless aftercare routines. 

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.