Tattoo pen Item in Red Sunrise | World Anvil

Tattoo pen


A tattoo pen is a mechanical needle used for inserting ink in the skin of humans and/or animals. With the goal of making permanent drawings or text.

“What kind of tattoo you put for being to Antarctica?” Asked Rose.
Jerry had to think a bit. “I dunno cap. I don’t think there is any for visiting the Antarctic or sailing the Southern Ocean. You can get a tall ship for passing Cape Horn.”
“Let’s make it a new tradition then.”
Rose said as she pulled off her shirt. “Put a breaching Orca here.” Pointing to the right side of her ribcage.
“Oh, that’s cool. Maybe add a snapped oar in its mouth to symbol we held battle there?”
Jerry responded enthusiastically.

Working mechanism

Most if not all tattoo pens are electrically driven. Eiter by a small motor with a crank set up moving the needle up and down, or by a coil and a magnetized needle pulling and pushing the needle up and down with the changing magnetic field of the AC powered coil.

Some tattoo pens use compressed air. These pens are lighter and easier to use, but do require an air compressor, lines and hoses to be set up, and therefore are generally only found in tattoo shops.

Traveling artist nowadays mostly use a battery powered pen.

The ink is held in a reservoir above the needle. Every time the needle retracts, a small drop flows down over the needle to be stabbed into the skin when the needle goes down again. Swapping colours can be done by having several needle and reservoir combinations which can be attached to the driving mechanism or by cleaning out the needle and reservoir. which needs to be done after every time it is used anyway for hygienic reasons.

There several set-ups from a single needle to do fine artwork to a group of needle to draw thick lines. Most pens are advanced enough that the speed the needle moves and the distance it travels can be adjusted.

Sailors Tattoos

Do you want to know about what all the tatoos on a sailor's body mean, and when and how they earn them?
Read this article:

Sailors Tattoos
Tradition / Ritual | Feb 2, 2024

Sailors are famous for their tattoos, but what do they mean?


Author's Notes

In response to: Summer Camp 2021, prompt 6: An extraordinary writing tool (or type of writing tool)

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Jul 7, 2021 10:21

Like the little section for deciding what tattoo to give. :p Nice article

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
Jul 7, 2021 11:16 by Bart Weergang

Thanks :)

Jul 7, 2021 14:09 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

That thick line with the multi needles sounds absolutely horrifying! You've got to really want that tattoo XD ... whch makes me wonder... do *you* have some???

To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
Jul 7, 2021 14:15 by Bart Weergang

I do not, although I did pass many of the requirements mentioned in the other article. It's still a dream to go around Cape Horn (I've possible on a tall ship) and I think I might get that tattoo then.

Jul 7, 2021 14:18 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Good luck manging to do that! :D

To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
Jul 7, 2021 14:22 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love the little bit of prose you have here. Fun discussion on the tattoo needles, and now I'm going to have to go read what all the tattoos symbolise. :D

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 7, 2021 14:46 by Bart Weergang

Yeah the prose is what it's all about :D the rest is just filler lol.

Jul 12, 2021 05:27 by Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)

I love the small prose section. Great article.

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
Jul 12, 2021 06:06 by Bart Weergang

Thank you Rynn.