Think physics when getting a tattoo

Yes peeps, I got myself that tattoo that I’ve been thinking about for years. It was quite an experience albeit the actual tattooing portion took just slightly more than an hour.

You see, there is a lot of preparatory work. Fact checking the quote, spell check (trust me, you will want more than one person to check this!), printing several samples for comparison, siting the stencil, cleaning, shaving, the list goes on. Wait, and there is physics and mathematics thrown in for good measure.

Having a row of text tattooed on either the back or a big surface is a slightly easier exercise. Having it done on the forearm, that requires some knowledge of physics. Why so? Look at the wrist; its proportionately narrower than the middle of the forearm and the elbow joint, although the elbow joint is just a tad wider.

Here comes …. perception of size by the human eye. Remember that illusion of a house with the same person standing on opposite ends yet looking huge on one side, and real tiny at the other end? This can happen when you place text on the forearm. Let’s take a look.

“Only God Can Judge Me”. ‘Only’ will be located near the elbow joint while ‘Me’, at the wrist. Now using a uniform typeface size and placing the row of text on the forearm, one notices that the word ‘Me’ appears disproportionately larger than the rest of the tattoo. In  fact, ‘Only’ appears a little too small. The whole row appears …… disproportionate!

Therefore, to avoid a perception error, one may need to employ a deliberate design error in the sizes of the typeface across the length of text to achieve a balanced look. So we shrank the entire word ‘Me’ and enlarged the letter ‘O’. Voila! Balance and perceptual uniformity was achieved.

Now aren’t I glad someone paid attention in class?

My thanks for the tattoo work done by Wendy of Primitive Art Piercing & Tattoo, Singapore located at Far East Plaza. They are fully booked for even piercing work (yup they are good, I got all my piercings done there too) so if you want something done, give them a call first! Never pushy, always friendly.

“Good tattoos aren’t cheap, & cheap tattoos aren’t good!”


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