Learning hanja (Sino-Korean characters) is often a combination of developing muscle memory and engaging in whole-language learning. You don't necessarily "read" a hanja character the way you do a word written in letters (i.e., symbols with a roughly 1:1 sound-symbol correspondence); instead, you take in the whole character, understand its meaning-in-context, and utter the syllable it represents.*
In a comment, I admitted to my buddy Charles that I didn't know the two Chinese characters that, together, mean "congratulations": chuk-ha. Since I have little to do in the office today (just finished a major book project, so we're in winding-down mode), I thought I'd look up "congratulations" and practice it a bit. The results were pretty godawful:
I did, however, do a slightly better job when I switched to a thicker marker:
We're getting closer to muscle-memory mastery of the characters. Aesthetically speaking, I like the chuk but hate the ha, which I find ass-ugly.
*People like Professor Mark Miyake—who has made a career of studying East Asian languages—will argue that it is indeed possible to "sound out" a Chinese character if you have some notion of the pronunciation of the character's radical (root). This is somewhat true in my experience, but I'm not convinced the method is all that reliable when it comes to guessing the pronunciation of a never-before-encountered character.