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Tatto Ideas: Lettering

Updated on October 20, 2007

Avid readers, musical lyricists, and lovers of the written word alike I'm sure will agree there is nothing more beautiful or inspiring than a sequence of words flowing across one's body. In my Hub Tattoo Ideas: Words & Phrases I discussed how to decide what tattoo to get and where to get some ideas from. The next step is choosing the lettering, the size and the placement.

Whether you want small words on your wrist or a sonnet spanning the length of your entire back, you've got to be careful when working with fine print. Words can only be shrunk to a certain size when it comes to tattooing. If they are too tiny and too close together, they will blur over time and end up smudging together. Trust your tattoo artist. He'll advise you as to what a good size is.

Graffiti writing isn't just for bridges and brick walls anymore. Many graffiti artists design their own tattoos and will get their real name, their artist's name, or their crew's name inked onto their skin.

Be careful with large lettering and huge, prominent letters. Of course there are always exceptions to the stereotype, but thick, massive letters tend to only look good on a man's chest, abdomen, or across the top of his back spanning from shoulder to shoulder; women can usually only pull off large letters if they're on her upper back.

One of the most popular fonts is Old English, an angular family of blackletter type with a gothic feel. There are dozens of Old English variations, but your tattoo parlor will have a book with a good deal of samples to choose from.

If you're looking to get a whimsical tattoo, or wish to get a memorial tattoo to honor a loved one who passed away, script is a good choice. It is easy on the eyes and evokes a feeling of elegance.

"love conquers all"
"love conquers all"
Keep in mind also that the words do not just have to stand alone freely. You can incorporate a word or phrase into a banner held between the beaks of two sparrows, in the stardust that trails behind a shooting comet, or in a band wrapping around your arm and accentuated by a tribal design surrounding the letters.

"i want freedom...the right to self expression"
"i want freedom...the right to self expression"



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