ith sufficient amount of practice, you will now able to make the individual strokes with automatic precision. The next step is to combine the constructive strokes you have practiced to form the letters and numerals in the alphabet.
The first letters you need to master is the plain Block alphabet, executed with single-stroke method.
The term ‘one-stroke’ or ‘single-stroke’ is applied to a letter whose individual parts are executed with one stroke of the brush; thus the block letter ‘E’ is executed with but four strokes of a suitable brush (Fig. 21).
With single-stroke method, we are required to paint letters using the fewest strokes of the brush. Consequently, we need to choose the brush with correct size so we can paint the letters efficiently.
Similar to the previous exercise, you can add a layer of tracing paper on top of the guide sheet so you can use it repeatedly. Place the letter guides height around your eye level to reduce strain while you’re practicing.
Always begin a letter by executing the vertical strokes: the left vertical first and the right vertical stroke next. The arrows are a reminder of the direction in which each stroke composing each letter or numeral is made. The letter outlines are the boundaries of the stroke thickness.
Having completed the single-stroke alphabet practice, you are now ready to use the strokes that you have mastered in making the fancier alphabets: Roman, Thick-and-thin, Ornamented, etc. whose individual parts are executed with more than one stroke of the brush.
These style of letters is executed with the built-up method.
The build-up method is also used when the width of the letter stems exceeds the maximum size of the brush.
A Built-up letter is a letter correctly formed and executed in every detail with equivalent strokes necessary to bring the result. For example, the block letter ‘I’ is executed with four strokes, one for each its edge.
As always, you can add a layer of tracing paper on top of the guide sheet so you can use it repeatedly. Place the letter guides height around your eye level to reduce strain while you’re practicing.
To practice the build-up strokes, concentrate on the outer edge of the stroke every time you move the brush. Execute the correct formation and proportion of the letter first, after which add the spurs or other peculiarities, which as a rule do not affect the proportion (Fig. 24).
T I P S
Constant practice is the only way that you need to do to become a good sign painter. Use the guide sheets from The Sign Painter Learning Kit for your basic training and familiarise yourself with well proportioned letters. Study good lettering and good layout, wherever you see them and try to see why they are good. All alphabets have their uses or places where they are appropriate.
That’s all for now. I hope this tutorial is beneficial for your interest in sign painting. Remember, the success obtained in sign painting depends almost entirely on the amount of practice. Please don’t be discouraged. With practice and persistency, good work will eventually be accomplished.
Good luck and enjoy.
F.H. Atkinson, A Show At Sho’cards. Chicago: Frederick J. Drake & Co, 1912.
Ray J. Matasek, Beginner’s Course In Show Card Writing. Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co, 1924.
Sidney Hackes, David’s Practical Letterer. New York: Thaddeus Davids Company, 1903.
E.C. Matthews, Sign Painting Course. Chicago: Nelson-Hall Co, 1958. Instruction Course in Show Card Writing. Toronto: The Menhenitt Company Ltd.,1926.