Question Here on Signs101 are there any sign makers that still use brushes and paints?

Do you do hand painted lettering?

  • Yes

    Votes: 14 66.7%
  • No

    Votes: 7 33.3%

  • Total voters
    21

Robert Armerding

Merchant Member
Last week I had a wonderful phone conversation with a sign painter that I met at Product Sign Supplies in San Jose CA. He moved to the Oregon coast and is semi-retired. Yet, many of his clients won't let him stop doing his hand lettering. The COVID-19 situation has really slowed him down, but he is hanging in there. Making enough money to pay his bills.
After I got off the phone, I began to wonder if there are very many here on Signs101 who do hand lettering. I have visited with a couple, but wonder if there are more. If nothing else, I would like to be an encouragement.
Feel free to reply. The poll is anonymous.
 

Jean Shimp

Member
I am an old time sign painter and still have my brushes but rarely use them. There is not much of a demand for hand painted signs in my area. We do a fair amount of dimensional work that requires hand painting, so it's good to be able to know how to handle a paint brush.
 

Robert Armerding

Merchant Member
I am an old time sign painter and still have my brushes but rarely use them. There is not much of a demand for hand painted signs in my area. We do a fair amount of dimensional work that requires hand painting, so it's good to be able to know how to handle a paint brush.
Jean Shimp A BIG thank you for your input. I would imagine that you still remember your very first sign, right?
 

sardocs

Member
I mix cut vinyl, printed vinyl, and 1Shot all the time. Mostly I use handpainting to shadow or highlight cut vinyl text now. A hand painted element really can add the "human feel" to an otherwise sterile sign. And I can get those element on the sign faster than digitizing,cutting, weeding and applying vinyl. But I never have to kneel down it the mud to paint GVW numbers on filthy dumptrucks any more. Or spend two days lettering the Pool Rules on mdo plywood signs. I don't miss those days at all.
 

netsol

Member
robert,
i always get a kick out of gino (for example) talking about how there was a time when you had to have artistic talent to be in the sign business

these days the sign business is a refuge for computer people who compensate for (for example) MY OWN COMPLETE LACK OF ARTISTIC TALENT.
i write like a 3 year old and my drawing ability is worse

i always tell our people, when i buy an expensive tool that a good tool compensates for one of my shortcomings (joseph gerber is the patron saint of this industry from
my perspective)
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
Grew up hand-painting and still do a little now & then. For the most part...... people cannot wait for the paint to dry. Coming up through the ranks being a hand painter has certainly helped with eye/hand coordination, layout and visual appeal. Learning the basics of sign painting was crucial in putting something together layout/design-wise. It seems to pour over into the computer world and still keeps the old-timers separate from the youngsters. No big deal...... ya hafta start somewhere and I started with the bare basics and fundamentals.

Robert, if you'd do a simple search, you'd see this topic has been brought up many times over the years. You'll probably find more answers to your liking by going back to some of them..... when 1/2 the people in this place were actual hand painters and pictorial artists, both off-the-brush and stenciled.
 

Billct2

Active Member
Started working for a signpainter in high school, went to Butera Sign School in the early 70s. Lot of sweat and redos to get it right back then. Still comes in handy to be able to use a brush and essential for goldleafing. I remember when the Gerber Signmaker came along I decided to learn how to carve signs "Cause they'll never replace that with a machine" o_O Now the chisels are used to touch up router hiccups or add a hand done look.
 

Robert Armerding

Merchant Member
I mix cut vinyl, printed vinyl, and 1Shot all the time. Mostly I use handpainting to shadow or highlight cut vinyl text now. A hand painted element really can add the "human feel" to an otherwise sterile sign. And I can get those element on the sign faster than digitizing,cutting, weeding and applying vinyl. But I never have to kneel down it the mud to paint GVW numbers on filthy dumptrucks any more. Or spend two days lettering the Pool Rules on mdo plywood signs. I don't miss those days at all.
sardocs So good to hear from you. Thank you.
As you say, "add the human feel..." Great input.
 

Robert Armerding

Merchant Member
robert,
i always get a kick out of gino (for example) talking about how there was a time when you had to have artistic talent to be in the sign business

these days the sign business is a refuge for computer people who compensate for (for example) MY OWN COMPLETE LACK OF ARTISTIC TALENT.
i write like a 3 year old and my drawing ability is worse

i always tell our people, when i buy an expensive tool that a good tool compensates for one of my shortcomings (joseph gerber is the patron saint of this industry from
my perspective)
netsol I was working as the outside sales rep for a small sign shop in Livermore CA when their first Gerber machine arrived. I watched with amazement. Just for the fun of it, I learned how to operate it. netsol do you have any early memories of using that machine?
 

TammieH

Member
Same here, I have a few quills and do a bit of hand lettering maybe once or twice a year..we do some leafing on sandblasted signs as well.
Getting older and my hands have lost a bit of muscle memory since I do not letter enough.

I use to also hand carve which was very fun, especially when relief carving animals ...V Grooved letters got a bit old

Its nice to see Letterheads other groups keeping up the craft though :)
 

Robert Armerding

Merchant Member
Grew up hand-painting and still do a little now & then. For the most part...... people cannot wait for the paint to dry. Coming up through the ranks being a hand painter has certainly helped with eye/hand coordination, layout and visual appeal. Learning the basics of sign painting was crucial in putting something together layout/design-wise. It seems to pour over into the computer world and still keeps the old-timers separate from the youngsters. No big deal...... ya hafta start somewhere and I started with the bare basics and fundamentals.

Robert, if you'd do a simple search, you'd see this topic has been brought up many times over the years. You'll probably find more answers to your liking by going back to some of them..... when 1/2 the people in this place were actual hand painters and pictorial artists, both off-the-brush and stenciled.
Gino When I first started working at Product Sign Supplies, it was just you put it, "when 1/2 the people in this place were actual hand painters and pictorial artists..." I loved listening to their stories. Gino, do you have any fond memories of some of your first signs?
 

netsol

Member
remember, i was a computer consultant, with a "partner" who did bankruptcy auctions

my smc4 (a 4, not a modern 4b) came from a shop closing in kansas city

i guess it was 1992, and print & cut, if it existed yet, was very expensive. best investment i ever made, it was like printing money

i got friendly with a few local printers, fastsigns franchisees and signs by tomorrow people, started providing support for them & have kept a hand in the industry ever since
 

Robert Armerding

Merchant Member
Started working for a signpainter in high school, went to Butera Sign School in the early 70s. Lot of sweat and redos to get it right back then. Still comes in handy to be able to use a brush and essential for goldleafing. I remember when the Gerber Signmaker came along I decided to learn how to carve signs "Cause they'll never replace that with a machine" o_O Now the chisels are used to touch up router hiccups or add a hand done look.
Billct2 Do you have any memories of the first few signs you made with the Gerber machine?
 

Robert Armerding

Merchant Member
Same here, I have a few quills and do a bit of hand lettering maybe once or twice a year..we do some leafing on sandblasted signs as well.
Getting older and my hands have lost a bit of muscle memory since I do not letter enough.

I use to also hand carve which was very fun, especially when relief carving animals ...V Grooved letters got a bit old

Its nice to see Letterheads other groups keeping up the craft though :)
TammieH You mention "Letterheads...groups." Back when I worked at Product Sign Supplies, three years in a row, every October, they would host a Letterheads event. All kinds of hand made instruction from the leading experts. Alas, the company was sold and the new owner did it once and said no more.
 

Robert Armerding

Merchant Member
Still do it all the time. Robert, you have been an encouragement to me.
Johnny Best So good to hear that you "Still do it all the time." I sense that you are in a rare class.
And, I certainly to appreciate your handmade illustrations posted here on Signs101.
Let me ask you this, think back to some of your early days and see if you can pull out an interesting story. I'd like to interview you, right here in this thread.
 
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