New to the forum, new to lettering...

An interactive section of TheLetterheads.com

Topics include: Sign Making, Design, Fabrication, Letterheads, Sign Books.

Off Topic Posts may be deleted at the discretion of the web hosts. ABSOLUTELY NO SHARING OF COPYRIGHTED FONTS, CLIP ART, or VIDEOS!

Please take social chit-chat elsewhere!

Moderators: Danny Baronian, Mike Jackson

Post Reply
Julio Cesar Germano
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:14 pm
Location: Maringá - PR - Brazil
Contact:

New to the forum, new to lettering...

Post by Julio Cesar Germano » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:53 am

A fresher newbie would be hard to find.
Salutations to everyone, I've roamed the forum silently for a while, but decided to come out and
share something.

I've taken calligraphy as a hobby a couple of years ago and scavenging for information on it, found hand-lettering
and sign-making along the way. Having started writing wedding invitations a while back I thought "I could do that to...".
Boy is it harder than I expected...

After finding out sign painting to be a lot harder than I thought, I turned to chalkboards as a simpler medium to deal with. Am currently doing it for a pub and a shop in the local municipal market. I know the letter forms and spacing are not quite there yet, so any critiques are welcomed.
Hopefully the pictures will show up...

This was the first one I did in mid december, it was not commissioned. I approached the shop owner and offered a test run to see if he liked and maybe later we'd agree on pricing it. It took me 2h15mins to do this and I hated it, at the time. Luckily the fellow loved it to bits and even asked me to get in touch after the new year to change it. The text reads "How about a special beer?"

http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a ... 0703_n.jpg
After the new year it took me another 7 days to work up the courage to go back there and give it another round. I was feeling rather embarrassed about the quality of what I'd done, but my wife knocked some sense into me and the result was the following. Text reads "New Year, 2013, New Beer". Felt a little bit better about this one and took me 2h00 sharp to do it. I still refused to discuss pricing as I was not satisfied with the quality.
http://sphotos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a ... 9575_n.jpg

While doing the board above, the shop owner said another person had asked about the board. I went to talk to said person and (huzzah!) returned the following day for another work.
http://sphotos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a ... 2674_n.jpg
This turned out to be a small nightmare, he wanted a lot more information on a smaller board. In the end it turned out ok, but consumed 2h50 and gave me a sore shoulder for about 3 days. Earned me a bottle of good quality olive oil thou...!!

About a week later I returned to check if the boards were ok, retouched the smaller one as the owner didn't want any changes. The other one, being two-sided, had me doing another one for a weekend event he'd be throwing.
http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a ... 8088_n.jpg
Mixed feelings on this one. I was rather satisfied with it up to the middle. He wanted a catch phrase of sorts and I ended up squeezing it between the event's name and date. I'm getting much faster by now, 2h10 for this one and improvised the arched text on a whim. Also agreed on a pricing with the owner, making this my first formally paid lettering job!

Last time I've been there, I again retouched the smaller board, and done a new one for the pub.
http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a ... 2739_n.jpg
Regrettably this one was kind of rushed, hence the crappy slant and finish on the bottom half. I was surprised when the owner complimented me on the quality of this one. People seem to be oblivious to some of the details that stand out so much for me...

This is just a short story which I hope will lengthen throughout this year. The pub owner is quite enthusiastic about this and has already called me asking for a new board for this week.
Meanwhile I'm getting a bit frustrated with the painting practice, but this is another thread subject.
Hopefully the post wasn't to boring.

In high hopes of learning in this forum.
Yours sincerely,

Julio Cesar.

P.S.: I failed horribly at trying to post the images into the thread... If the links don't work please let me know.
I've started calligraphy as a hobby a couple of years ago and, from there, stumbled upon
the wonderful world of lost arts - pinstriping, chalkboard art, hand-lettering and sign making.

From Brazil.

Julio Cesar

Dan Seese
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Contact:

Re: New to the forum, new to lettering...

Post by Dan Seese » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:47 am

Welcome, Julio!

I love it when people begin to explore hand lettering and especially take the next step of sharing their work.
Nice to have a wife knock sense into you from time to time, huh? (I fully understand your sense of feeling embarassed about your work and I still experience that after all these years.)

I can see your progress and am glad you've graduated to having your first paying job. One of the things I always remember from Mike Stevens' book, "Mastering Layout", is that he said if you have a good tight layout and proper letter construction, you can mess up some on the execution and it will still look good. Keep that in mind in your projects. I can see that you're working on trying to have some creative layouts & different lettering, so let the message drive your layout and keep your lettering correct as you progress.

One critique I would give is to try to allow a little more "white space" around your sign. In other words, unless it serves a purpose (having the lettering run off the edges can sometimes be an effective technique) try to keep your words away from the edges and especially from the bottom. Sometimes that's difficult because you want to use all the available space but it makes it more effective to have that blank space present your message in a way which can be easily read.

Dave, from "Dad's Paper Signs" just posted this link on his facebook page this morning. I think it would serve you well to watch this video from a master chalkboard artist. You're on a good path. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9xETCdbITo
Dan
"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne."
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340 - 1400)

http://DanSeeseStudios.com
http://www.DanSeeseStudios.com/blog/
http://www.facebook.com/DanSeeseStudios

BruceJackson
Posts: 231
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 7:28 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: New to the forum, new to lettering...

Post by BruceJackson » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:17 am

Hi Julio, I enjoyed your story. It does take me back to my own early experiences with my first few jobs.

The funny thing is I also share Dan's reaction about my own work. In exactly the manner you described, I have also felt uncertain or embarrassed about some of my work on many occasions. Almost to the point of just not even wanting to show the client, in fear that it will be plainly obvious that I am a complete fraud and a pretender....Then, while still in a state of mild shock that they love it, I have to force myself to shut up and not point out all the mistakes and failings that are staring me in the face.

It's just part of the fact that this is a creative trade. We are in business, but we also invest more than just hours into the work. The opposite can also happen too. Sometimes, you can re-visit some earlier work and be pleasantly surprised at how well you did it!...that's a very satisfying feeling.

I'll give you an honest critique of your work and my reaction to seeing your photos. I can see that it isn't by an experienced signwriter. The letters lack consistency in form and size. However, this is not necessarily a negative point. In fact, it gives the sign warmth and it appears inviting to customers. I suspect that's why your client loves it. It actually reflects the type of character or atmosphere he wants his customers to enjoy in his pub. Your lack of experience in this respect has turned in your favor.

As Dan notes, you've used some interesting and effective choices of different lettering style. It shows you've thought about the layout and given it some individuality. Good work. A big part of success in making signs is learning to be clear in your thinking about what "feel" or "character", the sign should have to be at it's most effective. If you have an objective in your mind, it helps to keep the design on track.

The fact that you have tried to modify some areas makes it appear a bit smeared and hesitant. Where you've made changes, it would be better to clean the background more thoroughly (with a damp cloth) so that it still looks crisp and confident.

As the Chinese say when encouraging people, 加油! 加油! (add oil! add oil!)

Julio Cesar Germano
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:14 pm
Location: Maringá - PR - Brazil
Contact:

Re: New to the forum, new to lettering...

Post by Julio Cesar Germano » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:47 am

Hi again!

Thanks for the kind words and useful critiques. I'll try to watch out in future works.
I've made a new board before both answers so it still has some of the flaws you pointed out,
but I'm posting to keep the thread refreshed and new.
http://sphotos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a ... 2693_n.jpg

I let myself a little looser on this one, and at first both me and the owner were quite happy about it.
I chose the sickle letters for the lower half, on a whim, and had never practiced them on paper nor board. Turned out to be the first real mistake. Took me way longer than the others to do, 2:45 if I remember correctly.

The next day when I returned to check if some of the other places needed a new board, I cringed when I saw it.
Chalk seems to smudge just from being left alone and it was barely readable from 10m away... Talked to the owner and he
agreed it had to be changed. I forgot to take a picture, but the new lower half was roman capitals (can't go wrong with these!! :D)
with a little flourishing to boot. Also convinced him to take out the "Self-Service" on the last line as it was clogging the board.

Turns out if I'd read the book with the plate containing sickle letters, I'd have known they were mostly unsuitable for mixing with other letterforms... Tough life... >.<...

Thanks again for the advice!

Júlio César
I've started calligraphy as a hobby a couple of years ago and, from there, stumbled upon
the wonderful world of lost arts - pinstriping, chalkboard art, hand-lettering and sign making.

From Brazil.

Julio Cesar

Marius Mellebye
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:42 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Contact:

Re: New to the forum, new to lettering...

Post by Marius Mellebye » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:08 am

The last one was pretty :-) I was inspired and did my first chalkboard too.. newbie here too :-) Keep it up!

Marius
Marius Mellebye / 276ccm Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/276ccm Blog: http://276ccm.blogspot.no

Lee Littlewood
Posts: 218
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 2:36 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
Contact:

Re: New to the forum, new to lettering...

Post by Lee Littlewood » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:04 am

I agree , you have some nice friendly letters going - leave them alone for a while and work on the layout. I suggest "thumbnail sketches" - little rough sketches with a pencil that may not even show the letters, just the different parts of the sign. VERY QUICK! - like a minute per thumbnail. Then when you get a shape that looks interesting you can do a scale drawing - use a broad pen or a pencil, and see if the words will fit where you roughed them out. And watch the spellig. It is easier to fix a mistake on paper than on a chalkboard. If it all comes together, you can approach the real chalkboard with confidence because you know where you are going and what the tough spots will be.

(I think the Sickles alphabet can work with almost anything. Dave Butler does some letters that are similar, and he makes them jump around and play nice with the other letters. I am guessing that you are looking at examples of engrossing - they used blackletter and copperplate and upper/lower roman next to Sickels and it all seemed to work out. But it may not be the fastest letter. You seem to be comfortable with the broad pen - try a simplified blackletter or Neuland for emphasis, and whatever feels easy for lesser copy. Design around your strengths.)
where am i? Now, when i need me...

Julio Cesar Germano
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:14 pm
Location: Maringá - PR - Brazil
Contact:

Post by Julio Cesar Germano » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:23 am

Thanks you all for the kind words, its really rewarding and helps me to keep going.
I'm trying to put the advices to good use, but maybe just practice and experience will make it sink in for real.
I find it really hard to keep away from the edges of the board.

Lee - I've been doing thumbnails for a while on my sketchbook, but everything goes mayhem when moving ideas to the board.
Still getting used to doing it big. Having started lettering with calligraphy dip pens, I think the small dimensions have hard set into my brain. Gotta shake'em up a little bit...
I've considered using blackletter and bolder scripts, but felt it would drift away from the casual designs. For example: This board is advertising a saturday afternoon with live music, in particular "Samba", which is widely known to be informal and extroverted... Gothic lettering feels very solemn to me. Will give it a try eventually.

Did another board yesterday, I'm averaging between 1h40-2h15 on each board, so I'll stop posting time as it will probably stay around this much for a while.
http://sphotos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a ... 4800_n.jpg

This one got me the usual $$ and a bottle of the beer (Tereza) which was the other subject of the board. Quite worth it :D
The owner really liked it because the name of the beer came out similar to the way it's written on the beer label.
As you can see I'm still far from staying shy of the edges... I'll get it some day thou...

I'm gathering all the images so far and putting up a portfolio-like thingie. There are quite a lot of bars and pubs with blackboards around town, and nobody who actually letters them. It it works out, it might increase my revenue (and workload :shock: ) quite a bit.
Will keep you posted.

Best wishes to all.

Julio Cesar
I've started calligraphy as a hobby a couple of years ago and, from there, stumbled upon
the wonderful world of lost arts - pinstriping, chalkboard art, hand-lettering and sign making.

From Brazil.

Julio Cesar

Dan Seese
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 11:29 pm
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Contact:

Re: New to the forum, new to lettering...

Post by Dan Seese » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:58 pm

Julio,

Lee Littlewood had some great advice for you there - especially doing shapes or copy-blocks on your thumbnail layout. Doing something like that will really help organize and prioritize the message.

As far as getting close to the borders is concerned - you might try putting masking tape around the edge to force you not to push the borders. Then when you're finished pull it away. If you need to make one word "break" the edge, you can do that for emphasis. I understand the tendency to use every space available, but having that open area surrounding your lettering is an important use of the space, making it easier to read and giving some punch to the words.

One other word of advice - lean heavier on the $ end of payment more than the beer end. Giving you beer in exchange for the chalk sign is a great deal for the owner since he only has his cost involved. And your wife will thank you as well. Underestimating the value of our work is a very common flaw among sign makers. That's a characteristic of the trade you should learn from and resist.
Dan
"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne."
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340 - 1400)

http://DanSeeseStudios.com
http://www.DanSeeseStudios.com/blog/
http://www.facebook.com/DanSeeseStudios

Mike Jackson
Site Admin
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 11:02 pm
Location: Jackson Hole, WY
Contact:

Re: New to the forum, new to lettering...

Post by Mike Jackson » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:19 am

Julio,
Your photos will work on this forum if you reduce the size down to 800 pixels or less. Right now, the ones I checked are 960 pixels and the forum software is rejecting them.

Mike Jackson
Mike Jackson / co-administrator
Golden Era Studios
Vintage Ornamental Clip art
Jackson Hole, WY

Photography site:
Teton Images
Jackson Hole photography blog:
Best of the Tetons

Julio Cesar Germano
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:14 pm
Location: Maringá - PR - Brazil
Contact:

Re: New to the forum, new to lettering...

Post by Julio Cesar Germano » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:10 am

Back for an update.

A little low on the sign commissions right now and I haven't had time to go around offering it to other stores.
I had to deviate from working with calligraphy and lettering to buff my income in order to afford brushes and other tools for
sign-making. Really sad for having less time to practice, but in high hopes that it is just temporary.

Dan - Made some great use of the thumbnails on the board below, hopefully the image will come up.
Regarding the "beer for work thingy", I can certainly see what you mean, regrettably, beer doesn't buy me sandwiches nor pays light and water bills. Thankfully, he didn't offer to give me beer Instead of the money, it was just something extra added of good will.

Onto the board details. I found me a new toy... It is called a snap line! Sifting through the forum for information, found a whole thread on this little darling, bought me one and barely stopped myself from sleeping with it. :lol:
Nearly halved the work time and helped me to create some of the desired white space (to an extent). This was rushed work
as I had to go to my part time job shortly after. Still came out pretty fine and made a pretty good impression.
quadro tb.jpg
Afore mentioned board
quadro tb.jpg (168.1 KiB) Viewed 4284 times
I am scared senseless of jumping into sign-making, but I enjoy every second I spend practicing and doing it.
I found something that drives me forward and I intend to make the best of it.

Julio Cesar
I've started calligraphy as a hobby a couple of years ago and, from there, stumbled upon
the wonderful world of lost arts - pinstriping, chalkboard art, hand-lettering and sign making.

From Brazil.

Julio Cesar

Julio Cesar Germano
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:14 pm
Location: Maringá - PR - Brazil
Contact:

Re: New to the forum, new to lettering...

Post by Julio Cesar Germano » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:27 am

Hi there,

New week, new board. The snap line has cut down my working time considerably, and while this is means less time for the same money, it also means I'm spending less time on the few signs I have to do. Kind of miss that extra half hour of getting my lines straight. Maybe it's just that I'd rather be doing this than some of the other stuff I have to do right now.

A completely different style of lettering from previous works. I'm afraid I still haven't gotten around liking this one. Because of the time schedule, the lower half came out pretty bad. I'll probably change it as soon as I get the time.
Board.jpg
Advertising a blues night for the pub.
Board.jpg (201.96 KiB) Viewed 4210 times
One of the boards I mentioned on the first post is still the same after 2 months. The owner figured as long as he takes care of it, it doesn't have to be changed. For him it might as well be a banner I guess.

Julio Cesar.
I've started calligraphy as a hobby a couple of years ago and, from there, stumbled upon
the wonderful world of lost arts - pinstriping, chalkboard art, hand-lettering and sign making.

From Brazil.

Julio Cesar

Julio Cesar Germano
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:14 pm
Location: Maringá - PR - Brazil
Contact:

Re: New to the forum, new to lettering...

Post by Julio Cesar Germano » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:17 am

Long time no see...

Hey there, it's been to long :)
My calligraphy business is shifting up a few gears (Huzzah! :D) the past few weeks, and the chalkboards ended up on the sidelines.
Regrettably the clients didn't call me, which means they don't quite miss having the nice boards... :(
Nevertheless, I've got 2 new boards to check on. They're neighbours to the other ones and wanted to join the fray.

First one is for the municipal market itself! They want to change it monthly and the board is a bit bigger.
Was rather fun, but I'd be happier with less information.
IMG_1596.jpg
IMG_1596.jpg (162.2 KiB) Viewed 4044 times
The second is actually made of glass!! These are getting quite popular, it's got LEDs fitted on the lower edge of the board so the whole thing shines like neon. Thou I'd really like to knock some sense into the designer who figured red light was a good idea. :shock:
It was quite challenging to write on glass, at first I tried going free-hand, but then improvised a mahl stick.
I felt pretty awesome doing it. 8)
IMG_1599.jpg
IMG_1599.jpg (180.88 KiB) Viewed 4045 times
I wrote with water and alcohol based markers. A white large UniPOSCA and 2 smaller nondescript markers that the owners had. (red and yellow) The stupid red LEDs make the whole thing beam with... well... red... So you can't see some of the outlines I tried to do.

I'm having a ball right now. Dropped that pesky part time job, calligraphy and the boards are actually giving me about the same amount of money! So I've set up a schedule for practice in-between jobs, searching for other boards and advertising the wedding invitation thing.
Life is good...

Wishing all the best of luck in all endeavours,
Julio Cesar.
I've started calligraphy as a hobby a couple of years ago and, from there, stumbled upon
the wonderful world of lost arts - pinstriping, chalkboard art, hand-lettering and sign making.

From Brazil.

Julio Cesar

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests