Can a Tattoo Artist Fix a Crooked Line & Other Mistakes?

Getting a new tattoo is an experience that should be fun and exciting. However, sometimes, things do go unplanned. Since tattoos are performed by humans, mistakes do happen from time to time. The ability to correct an error will depend on several factors including the size of the error, the location, the size of the issue as well as several other factors.

The important thing to remember is that if you do encounter a problem with your new tattoo is not to panic. You do have options, and some errors may even go unnoticed. In the article below we’ll cover some of the ways a tattoo can be corrected as well as tips for how you can avoid these types of unexpected surprises.

Correcting a Crooked Line

If you find that the lines on are your tattoo are crooked, there a few ways to correct them. First off, if you see that the lines are crooked during your session, it’s important to bring it up as soon as you realize it. It’s better to mention it early on, rather than waiting until more of the work is complete.

If you don’t find the crooked lines until after your piece, make sure you speak to your artist to see if there’s anything they can do with it. The two easiest options will be to thicken the lines or apply some shading. Your artist will be able to provide the best feedback for the best route forward.

If neither of these options work, it’s also possible that your artist could expand the work a bit to help cover up the crooked lines.

Lastly, it may be that you have to do some laser removal to correct the issue. Obviously this isn’t the ideal solution, but depending on how big the error is, it may be the only solution.

Incorrect Roman Numeral Tattoos

Roman numeral errors are common in the tattoo industry. The primary reason for a roman number error is that the person getting the tattoo doesn’t do the proper research. The tattoo artist is going to do whatever the client asks. They are going to assume you have done all the research already and that you know what you want. It is your responsibility to ensure that the dates and numbers that you want included in your piece are accurate.

Unfortunately, roman numeral mistakes are very difficult for a tattoo artist to correct. There’s really no way for an artist to turn an incorrect numeral into the correct one. If you find yourself with an incorrect roman numeral, it’s likely that you will need to look into doing a few laser removal sessions to remove the incorrect piece.

Do Tattoo lines get thinner after healing?

A common myth among some people that get tattoos is that their tattoo will change as it heals. This is not true. Your tattoo will not change as it heals. The ink that you have been given will be there and look the same even after all the scabbing and healing is complete. The only way the tattoo could change during the healing is if there was an infection or cut over the ink to occur. Otherwise, the ink is going to stay the same. If a line is crooked immediately after the tattoo is completed, it’s going to be crooked in a couple weeks as well.

Tips for beginners

To help reduce the risk of any common errors that might arise, below are a few tips that I suggest you do before getting any work done.

  • Look for crisp lines – Always examine the previous work of your tattoo artist. You should never just randomly choose an artist and go with them because they are the only artist available at that time. Always ask to see their portfolio. Once you are looking thru their portfolio, pay close attention to the tattoos that are similar to the one you have in mind. If you are looking to get a sleeve, and the artist has no other sleeves in their book, choose someone else! Also, look very closely at their lines and shading. Do they draw straight lines? Do you like their color shading? If the answer is no, don’t let the do the work.
  • Be still – Most customers don’t realize how the slightest movement while getting a tattoo can cause issues for the artist. This movement can come from simply talking or playing on your phone. Always pay attention to your movement and ask your artist if you are moving too much.
  • Check translations – It is amazing to think about how many people are walking around with a tattoo written in a different language that reads nothing close to what they think it does. Just because a random page on the internet told you the meaning of a symbol does not mean that it’s accurate. If you are getting a tattoo in a different language, always check MULIPLE sources. Never trust a random website or picture from Pinterest. You are getting something placed on your body that will last a lifetime. Do the proper research to make sure everything is accurate. Start by checking Google Translate to see if the phrase you are looking at translates both ways – from English to the foreign language AND from the foreign language back to English. Sometimes, you’ll find differences when you do this. If so, that should be a red flag. Next, consider reaching out to some language experts to decode the words or symbols for you. Reddit is a great source to have some experts translate for you, as is Fiverr. In none of these instances though, should you trust a single source. If after doing your research you can find no red flags, then you are probably in good shape to move forward. However, if you keep getting variations of the translation, you need to get additional help before getting the ink.
  • Check your numbers – Roman numbers are always a high risk for tattoos. Since roman numerals aren’t used that often, many people don’t understand how they work. If you do get a tattoo with a roman number, make sure you check numerals! Here’s a website ( that allows you to enter a number and have it converted to roman numerals.
  • Write everything out – When getting any words or numbers on a tattoo, I highly suggest you write them down. This helps to make sure both you and the artist are on the same page with how words are spelt. It will also give you a chance to check the spelling. Always 2nd and 3rd and even 4th check any wording. It just takes a second and it’s going on your body…FOREVER!

Tattoo artists do make mistakes. Check out my article “What should you do if your tattoo artist messes up” if you are interested in how to handle it.

Celebrity Errors

When you think of your favorite celebrity, it’s easy to imagine everything in their life is perfect. They’ve got the fame, fortune and everything goes according to plan. This is the image they want you to see.

The same goes with tattoos. It’s easy to assume that celebrities have access to the top tattoo artists in the world, therefore, every tattoo has to be perfect. There’s no way some with a networth in the hundreds of millions of dollars can have an incorrect tattoo, right? Surprisingly, celebrities are not immune to tattoos errors.

  • Ariana Grande – In 2019, the world famous pop singer with a networth of over $150 million encountered, not one, but TWO tattoo errors. To commemorate the release of her new album, the singer decided to get a palm tattoo that was to spell “7 Rings” in Japanese. Unfortunately for her, the tattoo read “barbecue grill” instead. After fans began notifying her of the error, she went back to get it corrected. However, after the touchup, the tattoo now read as “Japanese BBQ finger” in Japanese.
  • Hayden Panettiere – This actress has starred in several movies and TV shows including “Remember the Titans”,”Heros” and “Nashville”. She decided to have a tattoo done down the side of her back that was suppose to read “Live without regret” in Italian. However, the last word in the phrase is misspelled.
  • Rihanna – This widely popular singer and actress has a networth estimated at $600 million. However, all this money couldn’t prevent her from getting an incorrect tattoo. In 2010, she got a neck tattoo in French. She wanted the tattoo to read “rebellious flower,” however, the official translation of the tattoo was “rebel flower.”
  • Britney Spears – She once got a tattoo on her hip in Chinese that was suppose to read “Mysterious”, however, it actually read “Strange” when translated correctly.
  • David Beckham – The man who has everything. Great looks, world famous, beautiful wife, endless cash. All of this could not prevent one of the most embarrassing tattoo mistakes. The soccer superstar decided to get his wife’s name, which is Victoria, tattoo’d on his forearm. Unfortunately, it was misspelled! It was spelt “Vhictoria.” No word on how his wife reacted to this error.