Sign writing.

Today we did sign writing and I feel like I’ve found a new obsession. The session was taken by Steve Millington, who showed us a snapshot of his work around Sheffield and showed us his book that’s coming out. To be honest, I think all this time I’ve taken sign writing for granted. It’s one of those things you look at and think “I can totally do that, it looks easy.” Well now I feel silly. Steve’s work was incredible, and after we’d looked at some of it, he did us a little demonstration of what we were going to be doing.


We started of by doing basic words with marker pens. By doing this we were getting to know the kinds of shapes and the way the letters flowed. This was a lot harder than it sounds. We were given a sheet of upper and lowercase sign lettering to use as a guideline for the shaping of lettering. It was really hard as you had to use your whole arm to make the letter flow. After finding out Steve had been doing it for 30 years I didn’t feel so bad for finding it so hard.  I had a few attempts at writing my name and trying out different words to use some more interesting letters.


After our (many) attempts on paper we moved on to trying some on acrylic with one shot paint (apparently this is what all the sign writers use) and used some hand made brushes to get a professional finish on the type and make us feel like we were pro’s. This was hard too because the brush didn’t move like I thought it would, and it was hard to know when it was truly coated in paint, therefore having the complete affect when writing, ie would go thick and thin in the right points. We had to write on the acrylic with a type of white crayon that basically writes on everything, and was used so we had some kind of guide to follow. Although my piece of acrylic wasn’t really wide enough to fit my name I like the way it goes off the page, somehow I feel it adds to the extravagance.


My finished acrylic after adding the paint (and after a couple of goes and having to clean it off and start again, I can’t pretend this was a first attempt) but I’m pretty happy with this. Considering this was a 3 hour session I’m happy where I got to but I think I definitely want to keep trying at this. It’s one of these frustrating things that you want to keep having a go at until you’ve perfected it.


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