Dotwork is one of the most complex style in tattoo. It’s made of a selection of dots where the pattern and the shading is created by the density of tattooed dots. A 3D effect can also be achieved with this style. It requires a great amount of concentration and patience as the tattoo artist must place each dot to the right area. For a skillful tattooist this style takes hardly any more time than creating a normal tattoo but the result is a wonderfully amazing artwork on human skin.
With this technique, black and grey inks are usually used and to add some contrast, red can be added too, which also works well with colored areas too. Dotwork is also perfect for small and detailed tattoos as the size of the dots don’t spread over the years. All kinds of pattern can be done with this technique from a simple inscription to a complicated portrait. Since the layers are distinguishable, several styles can be mixed within one work.
Dotwork tattoos can be quite imposing when they are used for geometrical forms too, because they can have a transcendental effect with their transparency (in case we don’t want to cover an area). In several cultures, dotwork has a spiritual and religious connection since the tattooist was often a shaman or a healer. The drops or stings of the tattooist can also have an supernatural energy, especially when one gets a pattern with a special meaning.
Many dotwork artists switched from the tattooing machine to the traditional hand poking.
The most common themes in dotwork tattoo are the mandala, or symbols such as the Hamsa hand, the Eye of God, and there are certain decorative patterns like geometric forms or a lace-like pattern.