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Looking to get a dotwork tattoo?

Looking to get a dotwork tattoo?

Hello! And welcome to our very first blog post and hopefully the first of many! This particular topic we’ll be covering everything you need to know about dotwork tattoos and tattooing! So lets jump straight in!


What is dotwork?

Dotwork with in it’s own right is its own unique style. Typically used to compliment geometric and symmetrical style pieces, dotwork is a build up of hundreds, if not thousands of tight to spaced packed dots, within a tattoo piece to give it depth using only a small lining needle without the use of shading techniques creating truly spectacular looking pieces when done correctly. Granted it’s extremely time consuming and when you’re paying the artist by the hour it’s going to cost that little bit extra, however the results are so, so worth it! You can often find spiritual and religious symbols done in this style, especially Buddhism. Here are a few examples below.

Ink and oils dotwork tattoo shop

Please note: (The above pieces are custom pieces by Ink and oils tattoo artist @beckybootstattoo and subject to copyright!)


Where does dotwork tattooing originate from?

Dotwork tattooing has been done throughout various different cultures in Asia and Europe now for thousands of years and has only re emerged into mainstream tattoo culture over the past half a decade. Traditionally created back then for religious or cultural purposes, now means something completely different. You can find dotwork tattooing implemented into various different styles such as floral, colour, realism tattoo styles to name just a few to add a different element and dynamic to the piece to make it really pop. A very popular thing I keep seeing lately is ‘’dotwork portraits’’ and ‘’dotwork micro portraits’’ they’re both very self explanatory, however I’ll post a few references below so you can see them in action! Dotwork portraits are either a human or animal portrait made up completely of dots! Sounds crazy right? Take a look! It’s a stunning and refreshing change from traditional photographic style portraits amd in my opinion and gives it that grainy, old school, washed feel to it that just looks ‘’WOW’’.

Bob marley dotwork portrait tattooAudrey hepburn dotwork portrait tattooKendrick Lamar dotwork portrait tattooDotwork micro portrait tattoo van goghDotwork portrait tattooThe Game dotwork portrait tattooJimmy Hendrix dotwork portait tattoo

(Please note: The above photos are NOT our work but used for references to shop different dotwork portrait tattoos and how they look.)

How is it done? Are there different ways to execute a dotwork tattoo?

Dotwork tattooing is usually done with either a coil or rotary tattoo machine. Using various different lining needles depending on the piece the artist is working on and the effect they are trying to achieve. However some artists still prefer to do dotwork tattooing by the old school ‘’Hand poking’’ method. It’s harder to find an artist that does it this way in the UK but is more commonly done in Asian countries such as Thailand. Personally I prefer the use of a machine as it gives more precise and accurate work with more controlled needle depth. But hey! Each to their own I guess. I still think it’s extremely cool that there are artists out there still implementing old school traditional methods like this, I just prefer the results from the use of a machine. Dotwork tattooing 95% of the time is done with the use of just black ink, however, due to modern adaptations to dotwork tattooing some artists use grey and colour inks in their work.

Hand poke dotwork tattoo

Hand poking tattoo method in action!

dotwork tattoo ink and oils tamworth

Machine dotwork tattoo method in action!

How much does it cost?

This is a question I get asked a lot! And is very difficult to answer as the price of the tattoo will depend on the following factors.

  1. Geographical location you’re getting the tattoo (Different areas, different tattoo pricing)
  2. The size and detail of the tattoo
  3. The placement of the tattoo
  4. How well you sit

One piece of advice I can give you is don’t focus on the cost, focus on the quality. You’ll be wearing this tattoo until the day you die so make it something you’ll be proud to have with you everywhere you go, everytime you see it. The cost element really will be very miniscule when you think of it as something you’ll have forever in comparison to a car which costs 50 times more and usually only lasts 5-6 years at most. Choosing the artists work you love over who is offering the cheapest deals should be the way you approach this. Remember tattooing is very different to buying a product. You don’t want to be searching for bargains but searching for an artist that specializes in this area that you love what they do!



What inspires dotwork tattoo artists?


Here we interviewed our co-owner and artistic director Becky Evans, also known as @beckybootstattoo

Specialist tattoo artist in dotwork, geometric and mandala tattooing.


J: ‘’ So Becky! When did you unearth this love you have for dotwork?’’


BECKY: ‘’ Probably when I saw lizzie’s work on Instagram. I followed her for a few years before reaching out and getting in touch to get some work done by her. At the point I was getting tattooed by her I had already been tattooing for 2-3 years but I’d only just started out doing this kind of style.’’


J: ‘’ What is your favourite dotwork piece you’ve created and why?’’


BECKY: ‘’ Hmmm.. favourite dotwork piece… I’d probably have to say Josh’s chest piece. It was the largest scale dotwork piece I’ve done, it was also a cover up project and was given complete freedom so I was in my element.’’


J: ‘’ Who are the artist or artist’s you love in the UK for this style of work’’


BECKY: ‘’ Lizzie Cartwright, Iliana Rose, Olivia Fayne’’


J: ‘’ How do you create these designs and is it a long process?’’


BECKY: ‘’ Lots of tracing paper and symmetry and yes! It can be’’


J: ‘’ What advice would you give to any person looking to get a dotwork tattoo?’’


BECKY: ‘’ Come to me 😉 ‘’


J: ‘’ What advice would you give to any artist looking to explore this style?’’


BECKY: ‘’ Patience is key ‘’



Where and what shop can I get a dotwork tattoo done?

There are a number of artists and studios across the UK that offer dotwork tattooing. This style however is something our studio specialise in! Contact our dotwork specialist today for a free consultation.


If you’ve read this far, then thank you! We hope everything we’ve mentioned above has been of some value to you. If you’ve got any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch with us


Josh Griffiths: INK + OILS tattoo, Tamworth, UK.