Frequently Asked Questions
What is a handpoked tattoo and how does it differ from a machine tattoo?
It is a tattoo made without a machine, using a technique called handpoking, where the needle is manually poked in and out of the skin to create the design. This process is very well suited to dotwork (stippling). Since each dot is poked in by hand, handpoked tattoos usually take longer than machine tattoos. I often use a combination of both dot and line work, however some designs are better suited to this technique than others. Outside of the design aspects, one of the main differences is how it feels. Most people find handpoking to be significantly less painful than a machine tattoo. It is far less traumatic for the skin, and consequently, heals faster and has less of a tendency to scar.
Is a handpoked tattoo the same as a tap tattoo?
Nope. Though both tap tattooing and handpoking are done without a machine, they are different techniques. Tap tattoos usually involve needles being attached to an instrument like a stick, piece of bone, or bamboo, which is then tapped repeatedly into the skin. It tends be much more painful than both handpoked and machine tattoos.
Will it hurt?
Yes, but probably a lot less than you think. Most people find handpoked tattoos significantly less painful than machine tattoos and tap tattoos.
Is it permanent?
Only as permanent as you are! Much like machine-made tattoos, handpoked tattoos permanently mark the skin.
Can I get a handpoked tattoo if I’m prone to scarring?
A handpoked tattoo may be an option for you. For most people, handpoking feels gentler, less painful, less irritating, and less traumatic for the skin. Most people find it’s less prone to scarring and heals faster than a machine tattoo. However, there are no guarantees. If you’ve had scarring from tattoos in the past, it’s best that we discuss your concerns before you book.
Do you tattoo custom designs?
I mostly tattoo my own flash. However, I do take on some custom projects if they appeal me. I primarily do blackwork, with an emphasis on geometric dotwork. If you want to have a custom piece done, it is a good idea for you to look through previous examples of my work to get a sense of whether or not my style is a good fit for what you have in mind.
Can you tattoo a copy of someone else’s work I found on the internet?
Nope. But if you want to get a custom design that is inspired by something you found on the internet, that may be something we can explore.
How long will my tattoo take?
It depends on several factors. Because handpoking is done manually, one poke at a time, you can expect your session to take longer than it would for a machine tattoo. Other factors also influence how long it will take. For example, firmer skin is faster to tattoo, while stretchier skin takes longer. At the time of booking, I will be able to give you an estimate regarding your specific piece.
How do you charge?
Once your design, placement, and size is confirmed, I will give you an estimate price range for your piece. The final price will be determined at the time of your tattoo. I have a minimum charge of $120 and require a $100 non-refundable deposit at the time of booking. Please note, tip is not included in the price.
What is your deposit policy?
A deposit is required at the time of booking your appointment.
Tattoo deposits are non-refundable.
Deposits are usually deducted from the cost of the tattoo. For multi-session tattoos, the deposit is deducted from the payment towards the last session of the tattoo.
In the instance of custom work, you will be sent a mock up of your design before your appointment. You can make minor changes to your design, but if it needs to be redrawn or if you decide you want something different, a separate drawing fee (usually $60 - $100) will be collected depending on the amount of work. If you decide you no longer wish to go ahead with the tattoo, the deposit will be retained as a consultation and/or drawing fee.
What is your cancellation & rescheduling policy?
If you need to reschedule your appointment, a minimum of 48 hours notice must be given, or your deposit is forfeited. Your rescheduled appointment must be within 30 days of your original appointment in order to use the original deposit. If you choose a date after this, a new deposit will be required. Appointments can be rescheduled once using a single deposit. If you need to reschedule again, a new deposit will be required. If you fail to show for your appointment or are 30 or more minutes late, your deposit will be forfeited.
How does tipping work?
Tipping your tattoo artist is customary and appreciated. Most people tip between 15% - 35% of the total cost of the tattoo (including the deposit), with 20% being the norm. For example, if your piece cost a $100 deposit, plus an extra $200 on the day of your tattoo, a 20% tip would come to $60 and would be calculated on the total amount ($300).
What types of payment do you accept?
Cash is preferred. I also accept INTERAC e-Transfers.
What is your booking process?
Where are you located?
I am (mostly) in Toronto, Canada. I tattoo out of Tapestry Tattoo (888 Dupont) as a recurring guest artist.
How should I prepare for my tattoo appointment?
Ensure you get enough sleep, are well hydrated, and have eaten a balanced meal with protein before your appointment. Wear comfortable clothes that will allow easy access to the area to be tattooed. Dark/black clothing is recommended as it may come into contact with the ink or other tattoo products. You may want to bring an extra layer or two of clothing in case you get cold. It is also wise to bring a snack and something to drink.
Can I use drugs or alcohol or take pain medication before my tattoo?
Nope. Please refrain from consuming any alcohol or drugs prior to your tattoo appointment. Even some pain medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen can negatively impact your tattoo by thinning your blood, making you bleed more than normal. This will not only make your appointment take longer, but it can also interfere with the healing process and lead to fading. If you are on any medications, especially blood thinners, please consult with your physician regarding the safety of being tattooed PRIOR to booking an appointment.
Can I drink or take pain medication after my tattoo?
Refrain from consuming alcohol for a few hours after your session. After the bleeding has stopped, you can take Tylenol or Advil.
How should I care for my tattoo?
At the time of booking your session, you will be emailed detailed aftercare instructions and tips. Please read through the document before your appointment so that you can address any questions on the day of your booking. A copy of these instructions can also be found here.