Needles And Sins and Horiyoshi III: Machine vs. Tebori

Over the past two months, I have really enjoyed reading John Mack’s guestimage blogs on Needles and Sins about his experiences talking with Japanese tattoo legend Horiyoshi III. While each and every of the eight posts are fantastic, the most recent one has really caught my attention. In the new guest post, Horiyoshi III talks to John about using tattoo machines and the Tebori (traditional hand- tapped) tattooing techniques, and the differences between them. Here’s an extract:

Horiyoshi explained that it is the result attained after about four years that makes the biggest difference. He said that a machine works best for outlining because its precise, thin line does not spread over the years while tebori does spread into soft, smooth gradients ideal for shading. He had an almost poetic way of stating it in Japanese that went something like, “The disadvantage of one method is an advantage in one application, and the disadvantage of the other method is an advantage in the other application.”

If you’ve got the time to take a look at the full article, I seriously suggest that you do, along with the other guest posts on the site. John offers an insightful and warm look into the world of Horiyoshi III, which is more then worth checking out.

To see the full article (which includes links to the previous ones!), click here.

Photo: Tattoo Artist Magazine
One Response to “Needles And Sins and Horiyoshi III: Machine vs. Tebori”
  1. John Mack says:

    I was just amusing myself by googling myself and came across your kind words. Thank you.

    I’m off to Japan for sleeves in less than a month, and I hope to come back with a story or two.

    That’s Horiyoshi III in the photo, but it’s not me getting tattooed.

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