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How To Avoid Vital Mistakes Of Chinese Character Tattoos
By:Yingying Lin

Chinese character tattoos are very popular today because they are really beautiful. And because most of people in the Western Hemisphere cannot read Chinese, Chinese Character Tattoos becomes an “exotic” form of expression. as a Chinese who lived in America for 3 years, I have come across many Americans have made the mistakes with their Chinese character tattoos and are unware of in which way they are incorrect.

The typical mistakes of Chinese Character tattoos as below :

1 Missing Strokes and Poor Script
Western tattoo artists always add their own artistic flair, which is fine with English letters, but their script would deface Chinese Characters and make them meaningless. Missing strokes are common mistakes and thus making the tattoos meaningless, and the poor handwriting defaces the Chinese characters and makes Chinese Character tattoos look ugly. Wearing meaningless Chinese Character tattoos is embarrassing.

2 Chinese Characters Being Tattooed Backwards
A much more common mistake is that the Chinese characters are flipped horizontally or vertically and thus is a mirror image of what it should be. I think this might be the problem when people use temporary tattoos or work from those because after a while they might get confused as to which side is the correct one. To have a Chinese Character tattooed on you backwards is also embarrassing.

3 Mistranslation of Chinese
Chinese are complex and can easily be mean something other than intended. Get the wrong one and your new Chinese character tattoo will be a permanent source of embarrassment to you! A lady has told me her Chinese character tattoos experiences: After deciding to ink a Chinese character tattoo, She went to Chinese restaurant and pull over a Chinese waiter and asked him to write out the word "free" in Chinese characters for her, free has two meaning in English dictionary, the first one is free of charge and the second meaning is freedom which was the lady wanted, the waiter wrote down the first meaning in Chinese for the lady. The lady ended up with the sign "free of charge" on her skin and then later it was wind up with spending US$900 to remove the tattoos.

4 Do not Know the Meaning of Chinese character tattoos
I have come across many western people who do not know the meaning of their Chinese character tattoos .Tattoo is a way of self expression. if anyone curiously ask you the meaning of Chinese character tattoos, answering them either do not know or make up the meaning is quite awkward.

5. Choosing Kanji from Tattoo Parlors.
Some Tattoo parlors present some dozens of Kanji either on the wall or on the binders for their customers to choose, Most of these Kanji are either missing strokes or being mistranslated, you would make mistake from the right beginning if you choose them from Tattoo parlors. Moreover, do you think you can pick up your dream tattoos which would express who you are from a handful of kanji.

Here are the advice when planning to get Chinese Character tattoos:

1. Getting Chinese Character tattoos right at the first time
Your tattoo will be with you for the rest of your life, please make sure you get a right character tattoo at the first time. Yes, you can remove it later on, but it is extremely painful and very, very expensive. A $100 tattoo “mistake” can cost several thousand dollars to remove.

2. Do not Pick up Kanji From Tattoo Parlors
Many people have gotten what they thought were Chinese Character tattoos only to find later that the characters were drawn wrong, or in one case, the mirror image of the character was tattooed. You would make the mistakes mentioned above if choosing them from tattoo parlors.
3. Do You Own Research
Before you run off to the tattoo parlor to get one done you should do your own research. Selecting Chinese Characters deserve careful study and attention.

4. Consulting With a Chinese
Many words in English can be translated in several different Chinese characters. Each of these may have a slightly different meaning in Chinese. Consulting with a native Chinese to get a exactly CORRECT characters for your intended meaning.

5.Choosing Meaningful Words
Tattoos are forever. If you're planning to get a Chinese Character tattoo soon, be sure to choose the right and meaningful characters. It is important to choose something of lasting appeal not something faddish, and it also needs to be a cool design you'll love tomorrow just as much as you love it today.

6.Getting Them Look Right
Western tattoo artists’ script usually defaces Chinese Characters and makes them meaningless. Again, take the time to do some research and find someone good at Chinese calligraphy to write out your design. Chinese calligraphy is a classic ancient art. The brush strokes must have a certain shape. Each part of a character must be in precise relation to the others. Chinese Characters can be written in a wide variety of calligraphy styles.

7. Getting a stencil Outline of the Proposed Design.
Every tattoo design has a matching “stencil”. It is an exact copy of the tattoo design, but without any color or shading -- just the black line work that makes up the design. Your tattooist will transfer stencil directly to your skin prior to beginning the tattoo process, thus the tattooist will ink the tattoo which is exactly the same as the proposed design.


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