Continuously trying to get better at my craft. It’s direct result of the passion I have for hand poke tattooing. And it keeps me eager to learn and test out new techniques and new products. So when I talked to Rob Hoskins not so long ago and he suggested Killer Silver Ink to me I was instantly intrigued. Especially by the fact Rob mentioned the qualities of the ink with regards to hand poke tattooing. I ordered a small bottle of Killer Silver Ink 100%, printed an A4 stencil of an tilted sayagata pattern and shaved my left lower arm as I had a few gaps to fill.
Now over the past few years I have tried various inks and ended up with what a lot of my colleagues seem to be using as well: Kuro Sumi’s outlining black. For me the reason to keep coming back to this ink is twofold. First of all it’s black and it stays black. Although I must admit I have seen a few healed pieces with an ever so slight blueish tint to them. And secondly, it’s fluid.
One of the main problems I have with quite a few inks out there is that the consistency is not ideal for hand poking. Most inks are too thick to my liking and I have to put in more effort to bring the ink in the skin. Kuro Sumi has a nice fluidity which works really well when manually tattooing. And now I was about to try out a fairly large piece, on myself, one handed, with an unknown ink.
In 2014 Killer Silver Ink’s ‘Se7en Deadly Shades’ hit the global market. Based on a grey wash system and formula developed by Caeser – The Hun, the inks they offer range from white to 100% black, with five grey washes in between (6%, 12%, 25% 40% and 60%). It’s all FDA and EU approved and created according to the highest standards. What’s really fascinating is that the company limits itself to producing only these seven shades. Nothing more, nothing less. And as explicitly mentioned on their website, that’s not going to change. If you are interested in their background story I would suggest having a look at their website. Where you can order your inks directly if you live in the USA. Otherwise check their local distributors.
And now for the fun part. The first thing I noticed while shaking the bottle was how easy the metal ball moved. It felt like the ink was nice and fluid and not thick or sticky at all. This was confirmed after pouring it in the ink cups. Nice and runny. After the promising start I started mapping the outlines of the sayagata pattern on my arm. Having to tattoo with one hand was a bit tricky, especially on the inside where the skin is nice and elastic. But pulling out a few tricks to stretch the skin I was well on my way.
I must admit I was a bit skeptical at first, but during the session I got more and more enthusiastic. The ink has excellent fluidity for hand poking. It took hardly no effort to get the ink into the skin, actually vary similar to a non-tattoo specific ink that many hold in high regards. The ink is easily cleaned from the skin, which is a blessing as I hardly use vaseline during tattooing. The only downside seems to be that freshly poked dots are a bit hard to trace when using smaller groupings and heavy stencils. I decided to divide the session over two days to also be able to work on previously done pieces. I continued to work on the pattern two days after the initial session. The dotwork already healed up pretty nice and I was very pleased with the way the color settled in the skin. In comparison to the Kuro Sumi pieces on the same arm it seem to lean a bit more to the brownish side of the spectrum, but I definitely was black. Going over the same parts again to even out the dot work and make it a bit cleaner was a breeze. It was very easy to fill up the empty spots and it all blended really well together even though one part was fresh, another part already partly healed.
Couple of days after both sessions the tattoo is pretty much healed and looks really nice. The black is black and there’s no issue whatsoever. Really pleased with the result.
In the end I’ll keep the bottle close by for doing a few more bits and pieces on myself as I’m really pleased with the ink. I think I’ll also order some of the washes to experiment a bit with shading and get the white one as well to try a white over black hand poke piece soon as well. Who knows, I might even take on the Killer Silver Ink 100% as my default ink. Depends on how the following few tattoos go. But it’s looking good.