All You Need To Know About Dotwork Tattoo Style

8 March 2023

A new and unique style of tattoo that is becoming increasingly popular is dotwork tattoos! While this style of tattooing was often avoided in the past, many tattoo artists are starting to create beautiful works of art centered around using dots to style stunning and unique images on people’s skin! This style revolves around using dots that link up to one another to create an image, with various sizes in the dots used to create versatility and depth within an image! As this style of tattooing has become more popular, we here at Cleopatra Ink have decided to take an in-depth look into this form of artwork and explore the different types of tattoos that can be done using this unique technique!

What is a Dotwork Tattoo?

A dotwork tattoo is created by an artist who is able to create an image using only dots that link up to eventually form an image. These dots are versatile in their color and size, creating a unique depth to an image that is often only achieved when shading is used. From a distance, a dotwork tattoo may look like a solid image as these dots are generally spaced out very close together. To ensure that the image looks whole, with no gaps and spaces that are uneven, an artist may use an assortment of different sizes when it comes to needles. The variation in the dotwork tattoo needle size can help to differentiate between different regions of the tattoo and provide a better and more whole-looking image! An artist will also use the spaces between the dots to create more versatility and depth within the image, making this an incredibly unique form of tattooing to master!

Where Does Dotwork Tattooing Originate From?

The use of dotwork, while relatively new in popularity today, has been done for thousands of years! One of the first notable uses of dotwork was found in Otzi, the famous iceman mummy who was believed to have been one of the first people to have a tattoo! It is believed that Otzi used this form of tattooing for pain relief, and there have been many other instances where this style has been connected to pain relief. In ancient Egypt, many women had traditional dotwork tattoos done around their abdomen and breasts which led scientists to believe that this may have been a form of pain relief used during childbirth! While today we know that tattooing and dotwork have no relation to pain relief, it is interesting to know that this was a common belief all those years ago.

Though there is no connection between pain relief and tattoos, this form of tattooing is considered to be one of the least painful kinds of tattoos to get. Many often relay the processes of receiving a dotwork-style tattoo to be soothing. This has led to an increase in the number of dotwork tattoos that have been done over the last few years, as more and more people looking to get this unique, beautiful and less painful style of tattoo!

How Are Dotwork Tattoos Made?

Most tattoo artists who use the dotwork technique use hand poking styles to complete the work. While there are now machines that are capable of doing this unique style and design of tattoo, many tattoo artists prefer to use hand poking styles to ensure that they can properly see what they are doing and create more precise images. As you can imagine, a dotwork tattoo relies heavily on the preciousness of the artist, just one dot slightly out of line may throw the entire image off balance. Using a hand poking technique allows the artist to see the entire image more and locate where the most precise location would be for each individual dot.

While some artists may prefer the manual hand poking technique, others prefer using coil machines to complete this style of tattoo. While hand poking may allow for a bit more precision, they may need to be touched up a lot sooner than a tattoo created with a machine. This is due to the fact that when done manually and without a tattooing machine, tattoos tend to fade faster. Coil machines offer a safer option and tend to be more consistent, which both makes the process less painful and a bit quicker.

Which Tattoos are Best Suited for the Dotwork Technique?

Dotwork tattoos are unique in shape, style and design, with certain types of tattoos working better with this technique. You can get any kind of tattoo using the dotwork technique, ranging from portraits to even writing, though the following are considered to be the best kinds of tattoos to get with this specific style of tattooing.

Mandala Tattoos

Mandala tattoos are a very popular choice for those who are looking to get dotwork styles! A mandala tattoo is made up of circles and the dotwork technique is able to help in creating a center that is soft with unique shading and shapes created by the use of dots. Mandala tattoos need to contain a certain amount of depth to help them pop out on the skin, with the symmetrical design looking stunning and unique through the use of dots! The dots can vary in size and color to create definition, with often very dark ink used and spaced out to use the color of the skin to make the tattoo pop!

Geometric Tattoos

Geometric tattoos are another style of tattoo that is commonly created using dotwork techniques. Geometric tattoos vary in size and style, with many different shapes and designs used to create this abstract art. Geometric tattoos are often where color comes into play as different shades can be used to highlight the features of the shape. Shading is also extremely important when it comes to geometric dotwork tattoo styles as this can help to bring out the shape and the unique aspects of the piece!

Spiritual Tattoos

Spiritual tattoos often have many different elements to them, using intricate designs to create a vibrant image. As dotwork allows for more intricate and well-crafted designs to be made using ink and open space, many decide to get their spiritual tattoos done with dotwork. Through the delicate use of dots in various shades and sizes, spiritual pieces can really come to life using this form of tattooing.

Negative Space Tattoos

Negative space tattoos are another great style to consider when looking for the perfect design for your dotwork piece! Negative space tattoos use the area that is not tattooed to create the image. The tattoos are designed in such a way that it is almost used as a backdrop, allowing for the open skin to create the image! Creating this style of tattoo with dotwork allows for open spaces between the dots to even be used as a way to contrast against the darker color of the ink, creating captivating and unique works of art that will have everyone envious!

How Long Does It Take to Get a Dotwork Tattoo?

Dotwork tattoos generally tend to take quite a bit longer than regular tattoos as creating dots will consist of repeated movements rather than just drawing in a line. While dotwork tattoos are considered to take a bit longer than regular ones, this does also depend on the technique that the tattoo artist uses. If the artist has chosen to use a coil machine over the hand poking technique, it will take less time to complete. This is because a machine will be able to do more consistent dots compared to the manual process of hand poking!

Does Getting a Dotwork Tattoo Hurt?

Dotwork tattoos are generally considered to be less painful to receive than regular tattoos. Many people often relay that the pain is segmented due to the open spaces between dots rather than just being located over the entire area. As you have portions of your skin in the region that have been left untouched, the pain is very often localized to the middle of the dots themselves rather than just being over an entire area.

While the pain of getting dotwork tattoos is reported to be a bit less sore than standard designs and styles, the amount of pain does depend on a few factors. One of the most important things to take into consideration when getting any kind of tattoo is the location. Certain areas on the body are sorer to get a tattoo because the skin sits on bones, muscles or glands. Areas where a thick layer of fatty skin sites are often the preferred spots to get tattoos as they are protected by this thicker layer of skin and fat.

Whether or not a tattoo hurts may also depend on the size of the artwork as well as your own individual pain tolerance. The size will determine how long you sit for and the amount of skin that will be tattooed, this will impact the amount of pain an individual experiences. You will also find that certain individuals have different levels of pain tolerance. If you are someone who is not known to experience that much pain, you may find the process to be soothing!

Are There Any Cons of Getting Dotwork Tattooing?

Dotwork tattoos are beautiful works to consider getting and make for stunning designs! After reading the above article, you may be already looking at the different designs that would be a great option for you to get. While these tattoos are stunning, there are a few cons to consider. The following is a look at some of the issues that you may want to consider when getting a dotwork tattoo.

  • They take more time: Dotwork tattoos are far more intricate and end up taking a lot more time compared to standard ones. If you are planning on getting quite a large dotwork tattoo, you may find that you need to spend hours in the chair, particularly if you are also needing color and shading done. It is important to consider your pain tolerance when getting a dotwork tattoo and you should be aware of the extra time that is added! If this is something you are concerned about, ask your tattoo artist about using machines as opposed to manual processes. Using a coil tattoo gun will go faster compared to the manual hand poking technique that is often used for these kinds of tattoos. While they take more time, the healed dotwork tattoo should look great!

  • Cost: As dotwork tattoos take up more time for the tattoo artist to complete the artwork, they do tend to cost more than regular tattoos. The overall cost of a tattoo is usually determined by the size, intricacy, colors and amount of time used up through the process. If you are hoping to lower the cost of the dotwork tattoo you are getting, you may want to consider making the piece a bit smaller and a bit less intricate! You can also consider using only black for the ink, which still gives you a vibrant and beautiful tattoo for less.

What to Consider When Getting a Dotwork Tattoo?

When getting a dotwork tattoo it is incredibly important that you go with a reputable artist and brand! Dotwork tattoos in particular are sensitive to the type of ink that is used in the process as well as the method. If not done correctly or with the highest quality of ink, you may find that your tattoo will fade much faster. Ensuring that you go to a reputable tattoo studio that uses high-quality ink and materials will ensure that your piece is not impacted by the dotwork tattoo aging and becoming faded! Along with this, ensuring that your tattoo artist is familiar with dotwork tattoos and the processes involved is also important! As this unique style of tattooing is quite intricate, having an artist who is experienced can go a long way to ensure you get exactly what you are looking for! If you are hoping to get a dotwork tattoo, do not hesitate to contact Cleopatra Ink and speak to one of our experienced artists!

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