Sign Painting For Beginners – Part 2

Eindraw Sign Painting Brush Stroke

ow you’re ready to start painting. Ideally you should practice on a slightly slanted vertical board but if you don’t have one ready, then a wall should be fine.

Paste the guide sheet from The Sign Painting Learning Kit on the board/wall and set the height around your eye level. You can add a layer of tracing paper on top of the guide sheet so you can use it repeatedly.

Start From The Basics

It is important to master all the constructive strokes first before you attempt any lettering with your brush. Always use guide lines to indicate the top and the bottom of a line of strokes. Without guide lines it would be impossible to keep the strokes of uniform height.

Use a ruler and pencil to create guide lines for your practice, or you can use the guide sheets from The Sign Painting Learning Kit.


To make a stroke, place the corner tip of your brush at the beginning of stroke, increase pressure gradually to fan the hairs of the brush out until the desired width of stroke is reached. After the width is set, then you can pull your brush to make a stroke.

To end a stroke, slow down your brush a few millimeters from the finish point, decrease pressure gradually until the corner tip of your brush is the only part touching the surface and then lift it off completely.

There are six primary strokes of which all alphabets are composed:

Eindraw Sign Painting Basic Strokes

The six primary strokes are: 1. Vertical, 2. Diagonal leaning right, 3. Diagonal leaning left, 4. Horizontal, 5. Half oval left side, 6. Half oval right side. Each of these strokes is executed with one stroke of the brush.


It’s worth repeating: Master all the basic strokes first before you attempt any lettering with your brush. Making the letters then becomes a mere matter of joining these strokes.
The success obtained in lettering depends almost entirely on the amount of practice. Please don’t be discouraged. With practice and persistency, good work will eventually be accomplished.

1. Straight Lines

There are four straight strokes you must practice first: horizontal stroke, vertical stroke, diagonal leaning right and diagonal leaning left.

Use the guide sheets from The Sign Painting Learning Kit:

  • Page 01 – Vertical Strokes
  • Page 02 – Horizontal Strokes
  • Page 02 – Diagonal Strokes

Practice as much as you need until you can make straight uniform lines.

Remember to always keep your brush stroked out to a chisel edge. In order to make your lines of uniform width you mush charge and flatten your brush after each stroke. Add square terminals to each stroke as you proceed.

When you can make straight uniform lines, then you can try combining them together to form the eighteen capital letters and numerals made entirely with straight strokes (Fig. 16).

Eindraw Sign Painting Straight Brush Strokes

2. Curved Lines

There are two curved strokes you have to learn after mastering straight strokes: Half oval left side (counterclockwise) and Half oval right side (clockwise). You can also practice overturn curve, underturn curve and S-curve.

Use the guide sheets from The Sign Painting Learning Kit:

  • Page 03 – Half Oval Left Side
  • Page 04 – Half Oval Right Side

Remember to twirl the brush with your fingers in the direction of the curve to make a uniform width stroke (Fig. 17 and Fig. 18).

Eindraw Sign Painting Curved Stroke

Even pressure on the brush will make your lines uniform in width.

When you can make curved uniform lines, then you can try combining them into four capital letter and four numerals composed entirely of curves (Fig. 19).

Long strokes should appear as if drawn with a single movement. This is done by commencing a stroke a short distance back of or inside of the preceding stroke, having first recharged the brush and flattened it into proper shape.

Eindraw Sign Painting Curved Brush Strokes

3. Combination

Continue to practice the combination strokes: full oval, top circular, bottom circular and S-curve.

Use the guide sheets from The Sign Painting Learning Kit:

  • Page 05 – Combination Strokes Oval & S-Curves
  • Page 06 – Curves & Built-Up Strokes

Combine straight strokes and curved strokes you have practiced to form the nine capital letters and numerals (Fig. 20).

Eindraw Sign Painting Combination Brush Strokes


Always take good care of your brushes, because good work cannot be done with poor brushes. Without proper care, good brushes quickly become poor brushes.
Never allow a brush to dry with paint in it! Clean your brush immediately after use.

  1. For brush with oil based paint/enamel paint.
    Soak the brush in solvent (thinner or turpentine), swish it around until all bristles are clean. Squeeze the brush dry and dip it in oil, then lay it flat until next usage.
  2. For brush with water based paint.
    Clean the brush with soap and water: use palm of your hand to soap the brush, work it back and forth the same way as you palette the brush earlier, rinse, and repeat the procedure until the foams are free of any paint residue. Dry your brush, shape it between the fingers to a chisel edge, lay it away carefully.

A brush should never be placed in a vertical position resting on its bristles. This has a tendency to warp the hair and spoil the shape of the brush.