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Experience with using ancient tattooing techniques and tools?

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I've read about the subject, seen some tools, and I've watched informative videos that did not actually demonstrate. I'm wondering in particular about the action of poking with a hand-held, small needle, either set in a handle or not, and tapping it or not. Has anyone seen this done or experienced it? I'd like to know what the actual rhythm, pace, and movements are like. Thanks!

#1 - October 14, 2009, 01:33 PM
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 01:39 PM by Lenzi »

is kooky.
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You can wrap a needle tightly with thread until the tip barely shows (to hold and dispense the ink) then tap at the skin rhythmically making sure you're getting a depth of at least 1/16th of an inch.

This video shows the tapping of an ancient needle and hammer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjexrkXhRQM

This is like the example I gave above...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kraViqN2oH8

You can also watch The Vanishing Tattoo documentary on Youtube.
#2 - October 14, 2009, 03:57 PM
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 04:00 PM by aimeestates »
"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." ~Buddha   

Blog - http://yarghing.com

Ah, thanks, Aimeestates--I'd already watched the first video, but I wasn't sure how the artist would move along as he tapped--he didn't show that. But the second video showed the poking and movement forward at a rhythm I could imagine the tapper using. I'm still trying to decide which method to use. Thanks!!

Here's another question: Does anyone have a guess based on any experience of how long it might take to complete the outline of a bird figure (maybe about three inches both wide and long)? And then how long to fill in the outline?

#3 - October 14, 2009, 05:14 PM

is kooky.
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If there's no color or shading and the pattern is simple, a half hour or less with a machine. By hand with one of your tools? No more than two hours, I'm guessing.
#4 - October 14, 2009, 05:18 PM
"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." ~Buddha   

Blog - http://yarghing.com

2 hrs for the outline, or for filling it in? (Filling it in meaning making a more solid design, not details like feathers and eyes, etc.)
#5 - October 14, 2009, 05:45 PM

is kooky.
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If you're doing the tattoo using the tools you asked about, it could take a couple of hours without color or shading. I'm not sure what you mean by filling in, do you mean making the lines heavy? Or filling it in with solid color? If you mean heavy lining it could take longer, filling it in with solid color will take a lot longer. It's sounding like your design could take closer to three hours.

If you use one needle, which many of those tools have for outlining (unless they are clumped into groups of three or more for shading, but that wouldn't typically be used) you can only poke the skin, maybe, 180 times a minute? With a machine, you can do that per second, so you can draw the lines much quicker, but you have to take extra care to keep them straight. The processes are very different.

Do you remember doing pointillism in art class? Find a very fine point pen and time it out if you can dot it quickly, according to the drawing you have in your head (sketch it with a pencil first), then subtract 25 to 35 percent off of your time because those guys have done it for years and are going to be quicker. You don't have to do the whole thing, maybe a quarter just to get a time frame. And you'll figure out angle (perpendicular to the page, no angling).

Just to experiment.

I'm going to go ask a pal about this, I'll be back eventually.



#6 - October 14, 2009, 06:26 PM
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 06:51 PM by aimeestates »
"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." ~Buddha   

Blog - http://yarghing.com

Thanks--that's really helpful!
#7 - October 14, 2009, 06:41 PM

is kooky.
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I posted this question (In my own words) on Inked Nation, too. Rudest people on the planet, but I'll check back there in the morning...there should be something.
#8 - October 14, 2009, 07:11 PM
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 08:18 PM by aimeestates »
"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." ~Buddha   

Blog - http://yarghing.com

Thank you for all your help--I really appreciate your generosity in posting questions on the other board. I actually finished up the scene and felt it worked well to end the chapter right before the tattooing began, which means the length of time question doesn't come into play. But I'm grateful for the answers you gave to satisfy my curiosity and it gave me a better feel for what my characters were doing. So thank you!
#9 - October 15, 2009, 12:35 PM

is kooky.
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You're welcome!
#10 - October 15, 2009, 12:53 PM
"The mind is everything. What you think, you become." ~Buddha   

Blog - http://yarghing.com

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