Less Painful & More Detailed, Get A Stick & Poke Tattoo From This Artist

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What Makes It Awesome

South Extension-based tattoo artist, Shreya Josh is turning the spotlight on stick and poke tattoos with her studio, Tender Pokes.

We had the same question – what is a stick and poke tattoo? The only major difference, Shreya explains, is that the needle is hand-held, not inserted into a machine. Shreya was first introduced to this lesser-known tattooing technique while was completing her degree in Product Design in Chicago. Etched with needles and India Ink (usually at parties), she was fascinated by the craft, there were definitely some concerns about hygiene.

It was her second brush with stick and poke tattoos, during an internship in New York, that got her really curious – lots of professionals were flaunting their ‘handmade’ tattoos.

So, lots of YouTube tutorials later, Shreya gave herself a tiny stick and poke tattoo. She only uses pre-sterilised, disposable needles that come sealed in packages and, after tattooing her friends, word of her art spread and she found herself booked up on weekends and introducing newbies and more seasoned tattoo aficionados to the craft.

While this technique takes a bit longer, Shreya says it’s a lot less painful. In fact, by eliminating the ominous vibrations and humming of the tattoo gun, getting a stick and poke tattoo is not nearly as intimidating as the kind we’re used to. These tattoos even heal a little bit faster and it’s possible to incorporate finer lines and more detailing. Plus, there’s no real difference in price points.

Shreya’s tattoo aesthetic is super minimalistic – think dainty twigs and branches, beautiful flowers, birds and bees or anklets. However, if you have something specific in mind, this young tattoo artist is happy to bring it to life, through her fine craftsmanship and lots of tattoo ink!

Pro Tip

In case you're someone who is intrigued by the art of stick & poke tattoos, do follow Tender Poke on Instagram and Facebook. Shreya hosts tattoo workshops across the country, and you could definitely pick up a skill or two.


An aspiring journalist and a full-time writer, I eat an unhealthy amount of kimchi, have a shoe-hoarding problem and overuse the comma.