Meet Limuel Cendrick Estrop, Sabah’s Handpoke Tattoo Artist!

Limuel Cendrick Estrop

In 2013, Limuel Cendrick Estrop co-opened the Orangutan Tattoo Studio located at Australia Place, Kota Kinabalu with another tattoo artist, Chiphord Harman (Cliff). Since its opening, many went and returned to Orangutan Studio for their expertise and most humbling experiences of Borneo.

“To me, tattoos are cool and mysterious in a way. But as of now I love the spread our Sabah cultures through ink,” Limuel explains with a hearty laugh, adding that hand-poking takes a lot longer as it takes precision and a lot of focus to work the needle. This makes hand-poke tattoo artists very niche and high in demand. In 2017, he was awarded Best of Blackwork at a Tattoo Convention in Sabah.


Limuel Cendrick Estrop

When and how did you start your career as a tattoo artist? What got you into tattooing?

My tattoo interest started about seven years ago. I have been a full time tattoo artist for about six years now. There is something intriguing because now tattoos are considered an artwork compared to the past where it was a taboo and is always related to bad people or criminals.

Where do you get your inspiration?

As of now, I am still doing a lot of research about tattoo cultures and patterns from textile, basket weaving, and beadwork. I want revive our Sabah culture through tattoos.

Tell us more about Hand-Poke tattoo.

Hand-poked tattoo is a “no-machine” method of tattooing by pushing ink into skin by using only needles. I chose hand-poking because the method is probably one of the oldest methods of tattooing.

How many tattoos do you have?

I have about fourteen tattoos!

Which is your favorite tattoo and what does it mean to you?

My favourite or most meaningful tattoo would be my tattooed wedding band by my wife and a fern leaf near my heel, which is a tribute to my grandma.

Whatt was your favorite tattoo you did on a client?

A full-wrap leg with a Sabahan design.

Who or what influences you?

I am influenced by many things, but a lot of them would be by the people of Sarawak as they are heavily influential and passionate about their traditional art. Their traditional motifs can be found everywhere from carving, wall art, and of course tattoos.

Who is your favorite tattoo artist of all time?

There are so many! But if I have to choose one then it probably will be Whang Od from the Philippines. She is more than 100-years-old, and she is still tattooing until today, making her the oldest tattoo artist.

What is your favorite part of being a tattoo artist?

Meeting new people and learning more about other cultures and artworks.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

They should definitely study more about it before starting the career. Do research about hygiene, designs, and tattooing itself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always try to improve your skills and understanding about the art.

What do you enjoy doing during your free time? when you’re not tattooing people?

I love spending some time with my wife and her charity which is an NGO called IAPWA (International Aid for the Protection & Welfare of Animals), aimed at rescuing They aim to  which help with the population and rescue of stray dogs around Sabah.

Fun Fact:

  • Full Name: Limuel Cendrick Estrop
  • Age: 29
  • Hometown: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
  • Award: Best of Blackwork (2017 Tattoo Convention in Sabah)
  • If you could describe your art in one word, what would it be? Revival (tattoo and culture)

SMB suggest:

Think before you ink

  1. Pick the right artist
    2. Do your research
    3. Get something you know you won’t regret
    And… Good luck!

The Sabah tattoo scene is teeming with talent – and this is just the beginning. You don’t have to travel halfway across the world just to get the tattoo of your dreams!