Tattoos are permanent, and so are tattoo mistakes. While it would be easy to blame everything on the artist, most of the time spelling and other errors are the fault of the client. It’s up to you as the client to research designs, translations and spellings, NOT them. For the artist, screwing up a tattoo is the worst that can happen. Just imagine how much it may reflect on their work! But sometimes, mistakes happen. So what can you do?
Some tattoos can be fixed. Depending on the error it’s often possible to correct some spellings or adjust the design to fit. If it’s something simple like changing the color then it’s often possible just to put the new color over the old once it’s healed. You might not even realize that a mistake was made. For example, if the artist accidentally put the wrong line in, or there was a wobble in it, then it’s likely they hid the small error under some shading and you would be none the wiser.
Most artists know how to hide small mistakes. Fixing mistakes that you find later on can usually be done in a touchup session. If the error is the fault of the artist take it up with them and come to an arrangement if they won’t consider it as a touchup.
Cover it Up
Sometimes there’s no fixing mistakes. That name just isn’t spelled right, the color can’t be fixed. In a worst case scenario you can usually cover the tattoo with something else. For those who specialize in cover ups coming up with innovative designs to make your old tattoo disappear means a little compromise but you’ll end up with a tattoo that you can live with rather than a mistake. You may only need to cover part of the tattoo. For example, I worked with someone who tattooed a woman who accidentally put her boyfriend’s name on a tattoo that was meant for her husband. Whoops!!! He covered up the first name on the tattoo with some extra flowers and added the right name above. It wasn’t perfect but he did the best he could with the client’s mistake.
We’ve all seen the photos of the Dutch girl who got stars all over her face. As an artist, she probably asked for that but had buyers remorse. That’s not the artist’s fault, but it didn’t stop her trying to sue the studio to pay for the removal. If you made the mistake own up to it and don’t blame the artist. If it’s truly bad then removal may be the best, if most expensive, choice. Some tattoos simply can’t be fixed and removal is the only choice.
Live with It
One of the funniest stories of poor translation I heard was of a girl who ended up with Chicken Fried Rise on her – rise, not rice. She had intentionally gone and gotten a joke tattoo because it was in Chinese. The problem was she hadn’t checked her translation. The tattoo was still funny because it was even more of a joke since the Chinese was again mis-spelled and she decided simply to keep it. While this might not be an option for some people you can learn to love your mistakes, especially if they aren’t horribly bad.