I am a beginner at SignWriting...

iDS-Rusty

New Member
I have been in the Graphic Design Business over 20 years. I have recently decided that i am going to teach myself some traditional sign writing techniques... I have ordered some 1-shot mineral spirits reducer and basic brushes for the moment to get the feel of the paint and how to maintain the brushes, before i go and ruin some really nice brushes. I am looking for any tips, reference materials, techniques, youtube people worth watching.... lol... anyway I appreciate everyone's time and input this forum has saved my butt several times... thanks to everyone.
 

SignosaurusRex

Active Member
I would suggest that you join "Sign Painting Support Group" on face book. There you will find the best of the best for educational resources, straight-up quality info and access to many of the worlds best traditional Sign Writers as well as upcoming events.
 

iDS-Rusty

New Member
AWSOME thanks i Just submitted my request... thanks
and after doing some research i actually got some nice Mack brushes
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
Get yourself an old calligraphy book. The ups & downs, turns & twirls are almost identical. Just a brush, instead of a nib.

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JoeRees

New Member
After doing some research i actually got some nice Mack brushes
Smartest move you could make...I couldn't imagine having to learn on junk brushes as they would function so radically different to quality brushes. Gino's tip about studying the speedball book is right on too - those basic moves combined with proper paint thinning, brush loading and tip control will let you master the skill. Give yourself 6 months to a year to internalize all those skills into one instinctive reflex and you'll be slingin' with the best of them. And if it's not too soon to burden you with a challenge - work on creating one or more expressive speed-stroke styles that are uniquely your own...almost like a signature. I don't know if you've been in it long enough to remember back in the day before computers when everything was brush lettered, you could look at someone's speed lettering or script and identify the artisan. Whether for good or bad, your single-stroke speed style was what identified you as a hack or a contender.
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
You want to learn control of the brush in your fingers and twirling it around to make nice rounds.... be it forward, backward, up or down. Since you don't have a teacher or instructor showing you..... a good cheap way to start is to buy some tempera paint, a 1/2" flat sable brush and get newspaper with print on it. Use the columns to pull strokes straight down. You always pull a stroke. You never push the brush away from you, unless you're in art class painting a picture.. Stay within so many lines of copy and just go across the paper making everything as uniform as possible. Make your straights vertically and horizontally. Make 100s of them. Get them so you can do it in your sleep, Next make half rounds to each side (((((((((-then-))))))))))- then turn them for tops and bottoms. Don't know how to make a half round T&B on a keyboard. You'll go through a few quarts of paint, then a few more, but it's way cheaper than buying all that 1shot and the cleanup and messes you'll make. But if you want to get the feel for the oil-based paint, pallette the paint in your brush til it feels like it will not drip outta your brush and just build it up on one side. If you make it too thin, you'll just have a mess and no coverage. Use a piece of glass for the oils. Once it dries, you can use a razor, scrap it off and start over again. If you'd like, you can put a grid on the backside to make things straight and feel easier. As far as the Mack brushes, they're good, but hopefully you got quills for lettering and not oil flats. I like Mack for the stripers and the liners and some for filling, but for lettering, I like Dick Blick's blue handled grey squirrels.

Have fun.
 

iDS-Rusty

New Member
Smartest move you could make...I couldn't imagine having to learn on junk brushes as they would function so radically different to quality brushes. Gino's tip about studying the speedball book is right on too - those basic moves combined with proper paint thinning, brush loading and tip control will let you master the skill. Give yourself 6 months to a year to internalize all those skills into one instinctive reflex and you'll be slingin' with the best of them. And if it's not too soon to burden you with a challenge - work on creating one or more expressive speed-stroke styles that are uniquely your own...almost like a signature. I don't know if you've been in it long enough to remember back in the day before computers when everything was brush lettered, you could look at someone's speed lettering or script and identify the artisan. Whether for good or bad, your single-stroke speed style was what identified you as a hack or a contender.
THANKS.... i will take the challenge.... it might take the year to get it. i have a few friends who are awesome pinstripers and painters but they dont letter so any tips or trick on the thinning of the paint i will greatly accept... thanks again...
 

iDS-Rusty

New Member
You want to learn control of the brush in your fingers and twirling it around to make nice rounds.... be it forward, backward, up or down. Since you don't have a teacher or instructor showing you..... a good cheap way to start is to buy some tempera paint, a 1/2" flat sable brush and get newspaper with print on it. Use the columns to pull strokes straight down. You always pull a stroke. You never push the brush away from you, unless you're in art class painting a picture.. Stay within so many lines of copy and just go across the paper making everything as uniform as possible. Make your straights vertically and horizontally. Make 100s of them. Get them so you can do it in your sleep, Next make half rounds to each side (((((((((-then-))))))))))- then turn them for tops and bottoms. Don't know how to make a half round T&B on a keyboard. You'll go through a few quarts of paint, then a few more, but it's way cheaper than buying all that 1shot and the cleanup and messes you'll make. But if you want to get the feel for the oil-based paint, pallette the paint in your brush til it feels like it will not drip outta your brush and just build it up on one side. If you make it too thin, you'll just have a mess and no coverage. Use a piece of glass for the oils. Once it dries, you can use a razor, scrap it off and start over again. If you'd like, you can put a grid on the backside to make things straight and feel easier. As far as the Mack brushes, they're good, but hopefully you got quills for lettering and not oil flats. I like Mack for the stripers and the liners and some for filling, but for lettering, I like Dick Blick's blue handled grey squirrels.

Have fun.
awesome advice.... thanks..... the brushes are (6) Andrew Mack Brush Hannukaine Quill Brushes Series 79 size xxs-xl
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
One more thing. DO NOT GO FOR SPEED. Strive for accuracy. Be as accurate as you can. Speed comes with practice and mastering the brush. If you thin your paint for speed, you'll have drips, runs and lousy coverage. Go for being as accurate as possible. Only you will suffer if you lack accuracy. Once you have the verticals, horizontals and curves, put a mall stick in your hand and start all over again. o_O
 

bold_will_hold

New Member
I am in the same boat as you. Just picked up the same set of mack brushes.
Good luck. I think it is a great talent to have in your bag of skills. Everyone can appreciate a hand lettered sign or window.
Old timers used to not give out advice, trade secrets. I think now they see less and less people doing it, they don't want the tradition to die
and most are willing to help you along the way with tips and advice.
 
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