New to sign writing, questions after first try..

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Kim Mortensen
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:14 am

New to sign writing, questions after first try..

Post by Kim Mortensen » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:51 am

Hi,

My name is Kim, I live in Denmark, and im new to sign writing, but is very keen on learning the trade.

I love the freedom and power the brush can give for someone to express themselves, and i want to be abe to do that...

So.. I have purchased 1-shot enamel paint, lettering brushes (handover model 2112), cleaning agents, preservative oil, kafka softener for the paint. have been reading books and watching video after video on youtube to see if i find tricks before i start.. So this afternoon i started making the 7 types of basic lines (also described on this webpage), and after some time i have gathered some questions that im eger to solve...

1) The brush im using is a Handover Series 2112 Sable Chisel Writer, from videos and instructions i see that some rotate the brush when making an "C" curve, but am i right that there are no real "up" or "down" on these brushes, meaning i seem to be able to form the flat form at any brush rotation when i load it with paint. should there be sides, or am i using the wrong brush. (The ferrule is round) Because i do find it hard to make the round "C" with a constant thickness!!
2) Thickness.. The brush im using is Nr. 4, and to start out with i used the tip, and gradually found that using larger part of the brus was much better (which was also confirmed by watching more videos), but what part of the brush should i actually use for best result?
3) Starts and ends, these seems uneven, and its difficult to make the chisel effect i can se others do, i found that the amount of paint did help, but it was verry easy to overload it. Especially the ends, its difficult to predict where the downstroke ends when its under the brush, and hints.
4) Should i always hold the brush at the ferrule, and not on the wooden handle.
5) The process of preparing the brush, can that be overdone, like getting too much paint on the brush, After a while of painting, i found that the paint was geting thicker, and the brush likewise.. do i realy have to be that fast, or should the paint be thinned alot..
6) Is there anyone here that has the knowledge that i can spare with, for hints/help?

I purchased two sheets of glass, and had a template of paper underneth, to i painted on the glass, so when it have dried, i can wipe it with a razorblade and start over.

Any help is much appriciated, thanks

Best Regards
Kim Mortensen

Colt Bowden
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Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 8:06 pm
Location: Brea California
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Re: New to sign writing, questions after first try..

Post by Colt Bowden » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:30 pm

Hi Kim,

You may want to pick up some wrights of Lymm brushes, with a round ferrule, the 1315 series are great for learning basic brush strokes and letter forms.

Can you post photos of how you are holding your brush and what your letters are looking like so we can help you trouble shoot your problems? Most problems can be solved with a few hundred hours of practice... but until then, just keep practicing to be safe.

- Colt Bowden
Ars Longa Vita Brevis
Art is Long, Life is Short

- Reverand Joshua Sloan

Colt Bowden
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 8:06 pm
Location: Brea California
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Re: New to sign writing, questions after first try..

Post by Colt Bowden » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:51 pm

Kim, One thing is trying to lay the hairs down but not to push the ferrule into the sign to hard. That can mis-shape a brush and mess with your curve strokes. There is also a method of twisting the handle between your fingers that helps when making a curved stroke.


Practice practice practice.
Ars Longa Vita Brevis
Art is Long, Life is Short

- Reverand Joshua Sloan

Doug Bernhardt
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Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 9:29 am
Location: Ottawa Canada
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Re: New to sign writing, questions after first try..

Post by Doug Bernhardt » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:20 pm

Hi Kim, As far as lettering brush styles the european versions and numbers are relatively new to me. I would only echo what has been said which is Practice Practice Practice. In my early apprenticeship years I felt I was growing in ability everyday...in truth it was probably closer to month by month, but the serious application of practice and the guiding hand of a professional (you should make the effort to find one) who can help you get rid of bad habits before they form will inevitably lead to success.

Lorenzo Petersson
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:11 pm

Re: New to sign writing, questions after first try..

Post by Lorenzo Petersson » Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:33 pm

Hej Kim!
A swede from Malmö here, good to hear our numbers are growing in scandinavia!
I'm still pretty new to this and i'm finding what the big guys wrote earlier about practice to be very true!
Been struggling a bit with this myself and i have some thoughts and observations i've made - hope this helps and isn't too confusing.

About the thickness of paint: small amounts of thinner added every like five or ten minutes, just a drop (max 2 drops) at a time, keep it flowing steadily. If i've had a can open for a long time i'll add a little bit of thinner into it before closing it just to make up for the evaporation.
I usually dip the tip of the brush a millimeter into some thinner and leave off the drop of thinner in the paint on my palette (or as other people call it: whatever thick and glossy paper is around me) and then work it into the paint and the brush the same way you do when you load the brush with paint.
You can experiment with trying to get it distributed evenly in the length of the brush hairs, not just the tip. Also, rinse the brush clean in thinner now and then, wipe it off and reload it, that helps with not getting drying paint near the ferrule, that'll mess up your brushes shape quickly. Rinse them for longer than you think you need in thinner, dry them, oil them. You can not love your brushes too much :) Oil them up anytime you know you're not gonna use them for a few days. Thinners and reducers slowly dry and eat at the hairs if you dont.

Overload can be left off on a non used area of the palette by just touching it lightly once or twice, that'll break the paints surface tension and leaves off some of the overkill and help you get a sharper chisel edge.

The brushes Colt Bowden mentioned are great, i used the Mack Brown Quills before that and had all sorts of issues with them being way too soft for my not so steady hands.

I've been experimenting with ending strokes like this: stop pulling the brush (or slow down a little bit) when you're close to the end you want and tilt the handle to about 90° angle to the surface and lift pretty much straight up, slowly, with enough tension in the hairs to make them keep contact with the painting surface. They will slide a little bit further as if you were still pulling the stroke (this is what you want) and keep their width pretty much consistent. Then give it a minimal jiggle sideways to even out the end. You can trim any imperfections later. It works for most of the time for me with both upstroke and downstroke, but i need to practice it more.

Thats my 5 cents, here's to hoping i'm not leading you astray :)

Lee Littlewood
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Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 2:36 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Re: New to sign writing, questions after first try..

Post by Lee Littlewood » Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:30 am

To add one more problem into the mix - I recommend learning how to use a mahl stick. When you are just starting it feels weird, but everything feels weird. The habits you pick up now will last a long time, so look carefully at your videos and a live painter if possible. I find the mahl stick helps me pull up at the end of a stroke, and since it is controlled by my left hand, I am more free to concentrate on controlling my brush (right hand). And later on, if you do gold leaf, it is very handy for getting your brush into tight spots where there is lots of wet paint around. If you're aiming at wall work or shocards it is probably not useful.
where am i? Now, when i need me...

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