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Tattoo Lettering - How to Get It Right


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Many, many tattoos have some form of lettering in them. Whether it be a name, a date or even a scripture, tattoo lettering can make or break the piece. Often people don't realize just how hard it can be to do well. They assume because they've seen it so much, it must be a rudimentary skill for any tattoo artist. The truth is that all tattoo artists have specialties. Some are really great with the human form while others might be amazing when it comes to mythical creatures. At the same time, some might be more skilled when it comes to lettering than others. There are a few key things you have to be aware of to ensure your tattoo lettering comes out exactly the way you want it.

Before you commit to a tattoo, research the artist thoroughly. Ask to see previous samples of their lettering and talk to former clients if possible. Ask them if what they received was what they envisioned. Discuss the process with them and see how helpful the artist was in guiding them through the experience. Also ask the artist about their experience. Don't be shy! While you might not want to seem like you are questioning their credibility, you have to realize that a tattoo is a lifetime commitment. They will probably be happy to share their credentials or past work experience with you.

Once you've found a tattoo artist you feel comfortable with, you have some other research to do. Look into the type of font you want for your tattoo lettering. There are hundreds of choices and many of them can be found in any computer writing program. Make sure you write out what you want to have on your tattoo fully. Individual letters can be quite surprising. Just because you like the “J" in one font doesn't mean you'll like the “S" as well. Another thing to think about when it comes to font is the tone you want to set. Handwriting is often appropriate for memorial tattoos whereas playful script is more appropriate for fun tats. It is a lengthy process. Involve your tattoo artist in the selection. See which fonts they are familiar with and which ones they feel will translate well into a tattoo. Trust their judgement.

Something else that is often overlooked when it comes to tattoo lettering is spelling! Read what you've written over and over again. Get everyone you know to look it over as well. There will be no bigger disappointment than getting your tattoo and later realizing you've made a mistake. This will totally ruin your entire experience. Another factor is colour. Consider which colours will work best with your design. Although black is a great choice, it isn't your only choice. Just be sure that the colour you do choose is easy to read. Remember to compare it not only to your current skin tone, but to the varying shades that inevitably come with winter shade and summer sun. In the end, it'll be the little details that make your tattoo lettering pop!

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