Japanese Irezumi Style Tattooing in Dallas


Scott Cooksey has dedicated 25 years of his tattooing career here in the North Dallas/DFW area to the Japanese Irezumi style of tattooing. Focusing on accuracy in design, layout, and theme, Scott strives to keep the imagery as accurate and authentic as possible. Tattooing timeless imagery that will last a lifetime in all sizes from a single image, half-sleeve, full-leg, full-sleeve, or chest to a backpiece or full bodysuit.

Traditional Irezumi Style Tattoos

Applying Irezumi on all types of clients, male and female, and all tones of skin is common practice. Traditional Japanese tattoos are for people from all walks of life and professions from the blue-collar oil field workers of west Texas to police, fire, first responders, teachers and doctors. Using only the highest quality tattoo inks, needles, machines, and supplies, Scott works quickly and efficiently. The client leaves satisfied that one’s received a large amount of exceptional work for your hard-earned money.

Our Approach to Traditional Japanese Tattoos in Dallas

Scott’s approach to the Irezumi style tattooing is simple- Hes starts with an in-person consultation with the client. At the consultation you can expect guidance on the main theme you’ve chose as well as a discussion about placement and color choice. You can also expect to discuss the hourly rate of the work, deposit information, aftercare guidance and appointment setting. If the client doesn’t already have the main subject matter, Scott can make suggestions based on what you want your tattoo to mean to you. This subject matter often includes Mythological creatures like dragons, kirins, baku, phoenix, hannya, Koi (carp), samurai, snakes, tiger, spider, namakubi, yokia, tigers, snakes, shi shi (foo dog), oni, Raijin, Fudo and other protector deities. These are common imagery of the Irezumi tattoo style. In many cases clients want certain imagery just because they like the look of it rather than it having a deep meaning. There’s no rules to that. Once the main idea is decided then Scott proceeds to suggest the surrounding imagery of the main imagery chosen. This includes an array of traditional Japanese flowers that can accompany the main figures and options such as flowers like the peony, cherry blossoms, plumb blossom, chrysanthemum, as well as maple leaves, good luck charms, etc. And of course, it has to all be tied together with the traditional Japanese style background. This includes “wind bars”, clouds, “finger” waves, rocks, flames and any natural or supernatural elements. The background imagery is the common thread that ties the whole design and story together to give it that classic and authentic appearance. There are some guidelines and rules into compositions of large Irezumi work. Some flowers go with some imagery, certain flowers of certain seasons will go with just some imagery. The color of a maple leaf will signify what season it is. Cherry blossoms will also signify what season it could be. Endless possibilities. An Irezumi masterpiece is deeply powerful. Every tattoo done in the Irezumi fashion tells a story about the adorner.

History of Japanese Irezumi Style Tattoos

Traditional Japanese tattooing, aka Irezumi, originated during the Edo period (1603-1868). Woodblock prints from the Edo period played a significant role in the creation and design of the Irezumi tattoo. The woodblock prints of the Edo period in Japan had become increasingly popular back then and opened up more creative doors for tattooers or “horishi” to produce more thought-out and creative tattoo imagery. Woodblock carvers, kite makers, and painters were among the first to tattoo this classic imagery. The great Japanese artists Hokusai and Kuniyoshi’s works have been highly influential in modern Irezumi tattooing. Clients desiring darker and frightful imagery often used Hokusai and Kuniyoshi imagery and influence in depicting the attractive more dark and mythological style in their art. Many different classes and craftsmen from the Edo period and beyond had tattoos of certain imagery representing roles they played in society. For example, firefighters had a very risky job. They would get full body suits as a spiritually protective good luck suit to shield them from the dangers of fighting fires. Common imagery seen with these firefighters’ tattoos often featured scenes with dragons and water symbolizing their battle against fire.

Choosing a Japanese Tattoo Artist

Japanese tattooing has gained significant popularity over the last 20 years and is more popular than ever. There are plenty of artists that do Japanese tattooing, but consider that they all have a certain degree of skill and a certain degree of accuracy in the craft. If one does a basic Google search you will find some Japanese imagery, but if you dig hard enough, you’ll realize that much of these images are not composed correctly and have a non-authentic look. If you’re looking for proper tattooing in the Japanese Irezumi motif one must include the word “Irezumi” in your search. When searching for an Irezumi artist that suits you best, the proof is in their portfolio pictures. Social media popularity means nothing in choosing a properly qualified artist for the job. Look for pictures of healed tattoos that have been settled into the skin. Any tattooer can post a new picture of a fresh tattoo that looks incredible, but that doesn’t mean that it will heal exactly looking the way that it does fresh. What you’re looking for in a traditional Japanese tattoo is accuracy of the design and theme, solid and clean black lines, smooth and well-thought-out shading and coloring balance and background composition. The coloring should not be uneven, splotchy, or scratchy. Color and black shading should heal nice and smooth and have the opaque appearance of melted crayons.

Nowadays in the west and even common in modern Japan, tattoo machines are used to produce the Irezumi tattoo rather than the historic tradition of the Tabori application. In the past, Japanese tattooing has primarily been done with the a needle-bearing tool and in application called Tabori. This method has a great look to it when it’s been applied properly. Tabori takes years and years of experience under a master to apply a clean looking and solid tattoo with this method. Although he deeply respects the application of the Tabori tattoo Scott strictly uses modern tattoo machines. Modern tattoo machines apply more clean, consistent, and solid line work as well as being able to pack color more smooth and more opaque. Not to mention modern tattoo machines get the job done much quicker than the classic and unfortunately outdated Tabori. There are many excellent Tabori artist still practicing the craft around the world. These people have decades and decades of experience under the guise of their master.

If you’re thinking about getting a traditional Japanese tattoo in Dallas, contact Lone Star Tattoo for a consultation.

Tattoo Reviews & Testimonials

January 20, 2024

Josephine is a true artist! I just left the shop 2 hours ago. It took me 3 months to design and sketch my own tattoo. She made the tattoo look even better than what I sketched out on paper 🙏🥹. It means so much to me and represents my life and spiritual journey. Thank you so much Josephine and Scott!!!
William M.
January 10, 2024

Went to mark Novak. Excellent time and was able to draw up some customized traditional tattoos for me. The entire place is very clean and very friendly!
Matthew J.
December 19, 2023

Great and inviting staff, amazing atmosphere and they put their best work into the tattoo's. Nic was a chill man that was able to help me through the process of getting my first tattoo.
December 18, 2023

Leah was great! She was very responsive during the planning of our tattoos and was great to hang with while we sat in her chair. I was a little indecisive on the exact flower petals after I arrived for my appointment and she was very patient with me as she sketched a new design. Side note: She also happens so have fun little mini-food toys at her station, which we hadn’t seen before. After her explained them to us, we bought some for our daughter, who was so, so excited. Apparently she had been pining over them forever (I had no idea!). So we got brownie parent points b/c of Leah too 😆
November 27, 2023

As a first timer getting tattoo gives mixed feeling regarding needle and how it should look with the size of tattoo and tattoo modifications to look good, Nick did an amazing job with his suggestions and very precious about design and after care for keeping it with hygiene. Even provided phone number for any queries ☺️😊 Thank you Nick for wonderful art work.
Luanu'u M.
November 18, 2023

Leah, Cassie and Jacqueline were wonderful Great vibe, excellent artists. Made us feel comfort from start to finish. Texted tattoo photo ideas and came out so good. It's off Preston and George Bush turnpike. Small parking lot. They accommodated even walkins from what we saw. Highly recommended!
November 16, 2023

I went with my mom for her tattoo appointment with Josefhine. She was great and worked with my mom to create the tattoo she'd been envisioning.
John W.
November 3, 2023

Working with Scott was a wonderful experience. From the start of the process he was enthusiastic, and he always made me feel excited for my next session. At each session I never felt pressured to talk and he would let me sit and focus on the experience. If I did want to talk, he was always open to listening. On top of his technical abilities, he has the incredible talent to take the ideas that are given to him and make them better. I never would have imagined my tattoo becoming as beautiful as it did. For anyone that is looking for someone to do their next tattoo I can’t recommend Scott enough.
Sean M.
October 11, 2023

Amazing artists, amazing shop, amazing customer service. I came here with a larger yet apprehensive goal to get a sleeve done, however after such a comforting and collaborative briefing with owner Scott Cooksey I was put right at ease and knew I was in the right place. Upon my initial email inquiry, I was greeted with open arms about my request for such a large piece. I was given options on artist as well as guided in the right direction for my best course of action between artwork and scheduling. Ultimately I landed with Scott to achieve the Irezumi (traditional Japanese) piece I wanted. Scott was not only open to any and all ideas, but especially helped guide me in the artistic direction that fit my preferences best. Throughout the entire process it's been an incredible experience, from the friendly greetings at the front door to the (painful) yet fun sessions with Scott, I feel like I've developed a personal bond with Lonestar and will continue to come here for any and all future pieces. 100/10 rating, definitely book here for your next tattoo.

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