Can Tattoo Artists Copy Handwriting?


You found a special handwritten letter or a text in beautiful handwriting that means something significant to you. As with most things in life, the paper is degradable, and ink will fade over the years. A brilliant way to preserve something so intimate would be to have it tattooed onto your skin, but can tattoo artists copy handwriting?

Tattoo artists can copy handwriting. They can expertly recreate and immortalize any text or image of a text onto your skin. However, some text and script might be so slight that some artists will not want to take the chance as the ink might bleed into the adjacent skin.

Tattoo with letters on a forearm
Example of lettering tattoo on a forearm from cloakanddaggerlondon.co.uk

Tattooing words onto the skin needs a very steady hand. Stencils need to be made of the text and then expertly transferred onto the skin. It is crucial to understand some of the do’s and don’ts with any text or lettering tattoos when deciding on a font-themed tattoo piece. Let’s explore the fundamentals of copying handwriting as tattoos;

Spelling Makes All The Difference

For the longest time, script, font, or text tattoos have been trendy. However, having text immortalized onto skin without checking the spelling has left many people with red faces. If you take an idea to your tattoo artist, they will assume you have done your homework and proceed without questioning.

In your day to day messaging with friends or family, they might not correct spelling mistakes or punctuation shortages; however, when handwriting gets tattooed onto the skin, and there are visible mistakes, it can become a source of embarrassment. It is paramount that you double-check and even triple check the spelling before making it permanent. It will not be the artists’ fault if they make a  spelling mistake.

Foreign Language Text Tattoos

Oriental lettering or text tattoos are trendy. They also have the rating for being the most badly translated and ill-represented of all handwriting tattoos.

One of lettering tattoos
Example of hand-writing tattoo from justedelencre.fr

Artists are usually quite skeptical when a Chinese symbol or Latin word makes its way into the studio. Here is one example when Google translate is not your friend, there are many mannerisms that an AI text translating program cannot capture when directly translating a word or phrase, not to mention a symbol.

If you have a friend that is a native speaker in the language you want the tattoo in, kindly ask them to assist you in the correct translation. If you do not have somebody you can turn to, try finding a person specializing in document translations. Professionals will usually charge a fee for the service, but you will be guaranteed an authenticated translation.

Who Said It First?

If the handwriting or text piece is original and you think it was written by somebody famous, you might want to research the origin and history of the phrase and check the text against the original writings. The tattoo artist can scan the text if you own it or if you already have a copy.

Example of lettering tattoo
Example of hand-writing tattoo from bodywork.fr

The smaller the writing font is or, the finer the scrip, the more challenging to ink on. Historical letters and documents will contain more cursive writing. From experience, cursive text tattoos are notorious for bleeding and looking like mash potato instead of a significant or liberating piece of art.

How Do Tattoo Artists Copy Handwriting?

The artist would trace the picture, symbol, or writing onto transfer paper in the more traditional method of preparing for a tattoo. A soapy solution would then be sprayed onto the skin, wetting it. The artist will then position the transfer paper piece onto the skin and apply a little pressure ensuring the temporary ink transfers onto the skin. The paper is gently removed, and the image is transferred.

Today, many artists will use a thermal-fax machine; this machine helps the artist prepare the tattoo stencil in a shorter period. It lessens the time spent while physically preparing the stencil and streamlines the process and amount of clients the artist can see in a day. They will use either the conventional soapy water solution or an underarm stick deodorant to help the stencil transfer the image onto the prepared skin.

Which Lettering Design Is Best? How To Choose

Different tattoo artists will have a specialty; taking some time to research a few artists’ works will be a good idea of where to start. Ask a lot of questions until you are satisfied with the answers.

Lettering tattoo with mom's hand writing
Hand-writing tattoo from reddit.com posted by Fluctuater

From font to lettering, spacing, and design, there is a lot to consider. A few things you might consider when choosing the best style for you are;

  1. Placement position. Deciding where on your body you want your handwriting tattoo is the first point. Will it get sun? Will it be detrimental to your corporate job?
  2. Cultural taboo. Are you going to use lettering or a language that might insight a cultural issue? Are you making an artistic statement with the choice of lettering?
  3. Font and style. Choosing the font and style on an original piece of text will be essential to keep its authenticity. However, it may need to be adjusted slightly for the sake of practicality on application.
  4. Plain text or with imagery. Is the reader going to be on its own or accompanied by an image or several images?
  5. Kerning. Another word for spacing individual letters to increase the readability of the text on the skin. Spacing can make a remarkable difference to the longevity of a handwriting tattoo.
  6. Solid text, hollow text, or shadowed. There are also the options of having solid text tattoos, open text with just outlines, or shadowed text where there are no visible outlines done; the shadow style creates the lettering.

Styles Of Popular Handwriting Tattoos

There are innumerable handwriting styles and fonts to choose from when deciding on a handwriting tattoo. Some tattoo artists will have preferences because no artist wants an unhappy client. Some texts are just not worth turning into a tattoo. Below are some of the more popular text and handwriting styles your artist can copy;

Hand-writing tattoo based on Harry Potter universum
Example of handwriting tattoo from reddit.com
  • Rune letters. These texts are from a series of ancient alphabets used to write various Germanic languages. The Lord of the Rings series made the Runic tattoos famous for a period.
  • Japanese letters. The Japanese writing can be either fine or with a paintbrush effect finish for a more authentic dynasty look.
  • Hebrew lettering. While many religious people might not consider getting a tattoo, Hebrew lettering remains very popular.
  • Red lettering. These are typically done in any style but only in red ink. You might need to book for a future touch up.
  • White lettering. These are done in white only ink. White ink stands out more on very light skin; again, you might need touch-ups in the future.
  • Sanskrit and Thai. Two trendy font choices for religious and cultural reasons. The text itself is beautiful.
  • Trash Polka lettering. Trash Polka has become increasingly popular, consisting of text fonts, typewriting, and cursive handwriting overlapping an image and creating a bold statement. The colors are usually red, black and gray.
  • Graffiti style lettering. Tattoos in this style are usually free-handed, bold, and very colorful and come in various combinations.

Areas To Avoid Getting A Handwriting Tattoo

The final say will always be with you, the client, although there are some skin areas any artist would like you to avoid getting a handwriting or text style tattoo on.

Example of tattoo with graffiti
Example of lettering tattoo from tattoo.egrafla.fr

There are excellent reasons for this, and below is a list your artist would want you to take note of;

  • Palms. The palms have very thick skin; it also moves around a lot while getting tattooed, and most artists will avoid this area.
  • Fingers and knuckles. The skin on fingers and knuckles are very wrinkly, and tattoos are inclined to fade quickly.
  • Elbow. The skin on the elbow is very elastic and has folds to allow for movement. Most artists would suggest tattooing around the elbow instead.
  • Side of the foot. While most tattoo artists will tattoo this area, you might need touch-ups regularly as wearing shoes causes a lot of friction and can fade the tattoo.

Some of my favourite designs, tattoo books and aftercare products, selected for you

working on tattoo at my studio
Working at the studio on one of my projects

Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.

Deasign and tattoo ideas

For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my Clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):

Tattoo meaning

If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).

Tattoo aftercare

The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my Clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):

Looking for more info about tattoos? I might have them covered!

I have written almost 100 articles about tattooing – with details about each body part, problems that you might have with your tattoo, designs, styles, aftercare, and much more.

Have a look at the search option and see if you can find what you need here.

other posts from  InkArtByKate
Some of my other articles, check them and see if you could find what you are looking for!

Conclusion

Your experienced tattoo artist will be able to copy handwriting expertly and tattoo that onto your skin as a permanent keepsake. Try never to copy another artist’s work.  If you are uncertain of the right style or size of the font to use, make a consultation appointment with your artist and discuss the idea you might have. They will guide you on positioning, incorporation with other tattoos, and longevity of the handwriting style you love.

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