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Streetscape Painting, Signage & Improvement - Douglas Tidy Towns

PDF How to paint signs and sho' cards Better Lettersbetterletters co wp 1920 How to Paint Signs and Sho Cards pdf PDF How To Paint Signs And Sho Cards Bukeleaksbukeleaks eltitularsv how to paint signs and sho cards pdf PDF

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painters' books on the of them covers all pracone no but market to-day,

That is just what this book is intended for

Sign painting is an art,

but anyone who can read and write may learn to paint passably good signs within a reasonable length of time by following the directions given herein

good sign painter is often referred to as a genius genius is nine-tenths hard work

Anyone who finds joy in creating and can stick to his work can be a genius

The so-called "born artists" are no more born with the ability to paint than men are born with the ability to read and write,

There are many sign

Some people

but anyone can learn who wills to do it

It was almost ten years ago when I made

I tried to get a boy's job in a regular shop but was unable to get on,

so I started out to be a self-made painter

I could not draw any one alphabet correctly and was one of the fools who drew letters out of his

Ye Gods what a headache

I should have had

After a few months I grew discouraged and gave it

Then after a couple of years of other work the bug 'Came back and I tried it again and stuck for almost three months


I am merely telling this in order that other beginners may avoid my mistakes

The eanse of both those failures was wrong materials,

and a touch of plain indolence

Even if I had worked harder I could not have overcome the handcap of wrong material and lack of information

Then for two years I dropped sign painting and followed other work,

but most of my spare time was spent studying drawing

When I made my third attempt I was able to draw the Egyptian and Roman alphabets fairly well,

and could draw pictures better than the average sign painter

Also I was fortunate in getting some personal instruction in the kinds of brushes and paints to use for different kinds of work

My first attempts were very crude and my brush strokes were very crooked and ragged,

but I was on the right track at last,

and in less than one year (please excuse the egotism) I was able to paint better signs than some other men I have met who have been making a living and passing as sign painters for ten or twenty years

Now I cannot give you the "sticktoitiveness" which you will need

That's up to you,

but I shall be very careful to give you the right idea in regard to material,

Take this warning and don't try to paint signs with brushes and paints from the ten cent stores

limber camel's hair lettering pencil may seem clumsy when you attempt to paint on glass,

but it is the proper tool and you will soon get used to using it

I have met many self-made sign painters who were splendid artists and they invariably agreed

HOW TO with is


Carefully study the lists of things you will need,

mentioned in the following chapters,

and you may save yourself many dollars and many

There are hundreds of things on the market in the way of art materials which are absolutely worthless to the practical sign painter

good workman needs few tools and when a man has learned to keep his brushes perfectly clean,

and to keep his material in good order,

he has already made a good start toward learning the trade

The methods described in this book are not intended to cover shop practice in the large shops,

but are intended for the man who works in a smaller way

There are several larger and more elaborate books on the market which are intended for the more professional workman,

and as you progress with your work I advise you to buy and study all of them

The author has been a " rolling stone" for some years past and he wishes to thank the sign painters whom he has met in his travels,

and also the authors of many contemporary books,

for things they have contributed to this book

should learn to draw a few standard alphabets perfectly before he tries to sell his work

You may use a blackboard and chalk,

wrapping paper and charcoal sticks,

and lead pencil in learning to draw the

Bule a line for the top and one for the bottom of your line of letters

Draw the letters carefully,

giving close attention to every detail,

be careful to keep the letters in proper proportion to each other,

thus the letter is much wider than the letter L,

I advise you to begin with the Egyptian alphabet and master this so that you can make any combination of words fit into any reasonable shape or size of space

Be careful to make your letters perfectly perpendicular,

make the straight lines perfectly straight,

and make the curved parts curve perfectly in one unbroken curve

Keep the body of the letters all of one width

if your letter I is heavier than the curved stroke of the round letters it immediately stands out as amateur work

You will learn to judge and criticize your own work in a short time,

which is better for you than to have others show you your mistakes



YZ&&I234 56789


the space between letters well balanced,

the amount of white space between letters about the same all the way through every line of lettering

Usually the white space appearing inside of the round letters 0,

should be greater than the white space between letters

Avoid making the inside space and space between letters equal,

as it will make the lettering look

Round letters,

should be spaced closer together than square letters such as

and T may lap over each other while need to be set further and apart

the idea is to keep an equal amount of white between letters rather than to keep the letters a certain distance apart

See Fig

The standard Egyptian

The letters E,

J and L'should not be quite so wide,

and are wider than the four-fifths as

In some modified and modern alphabets the round letters 0,

C and G are made wider than any of the other letters

These sizes are only approximate,

the experienced sign painter or lettering artist does not need to measure his letters or spaces with a rule,

but gets more pleasing results by lettering free hand and leaving the spacing to the judgment of his eye

In lettering any large amount of reading matter it is better to use the lower case or small Egyptian letters in preference to the capital or upper case letters,

because they are easier to read

Our eyes are trained to read lower case letters a word at a time while the capitals are more likely to be spelled out or read a letter at a time* 7



The beauty of the Egyptian alphabet is in the grace of the lower case letters,

Roman lettering is best shown in the capitals

The Egyptian letter being very plain can be modified and stretched into many different shapes This and the fact withont becoming illegible

that it can be made more rapidly than the spurred of

has made it a favorite style among sign painters and commercial artists

When yon have fully mastered the Egyptian alphabet,

the Roman should be your next study

The shapes are practically the same only the Roman is a thick and thin letter and has spurs at the points

The Roman capital letters were brought to a state of perfection about two thousand years ago,

and have not been improved upon since

The lower case letters were not introduced until some centuries later,

and were brought to their present standard shape by the Italians in the fifteenth century

In drawing the Roman letters make all the heavy lines of one width throughout the line of lettering and all the light lines must be of one width

Be especially careful to put the heavy stroke of all letters in the proper place

Don't put the heavy stroke of the and on the same side of the letter

Remember this rule for thick and thin

down and to the left are which slant down and to the See Fig

All lines which slant light

The letter Z is the only possible exception to this rule,

it is drawn with the slanting line either light or heavy,

according to the alphabet you are using




Sharp pointed and rounded slightly higher than the others

The points

should extend slightly through the guide lines you have ruled on your paper

Also the 0,

Q and S should extend a little through the line

These letters should be only slightly larger and the difference will not be apparent

If these letters were kept inside of the guide lines they would look smaller than the square letters

The Eoman letters can be modified to suit special occasions with very pleasing effects,

but don't attempt modifications until you can draw the standard forms perfectly without the alphabet plate before you to copy from

The Eoman alphabet is suitable for practically all work,

and if you are ever in doubt as to what alphabet is most appropriate for your purpose use the Eoman

After mastering the two alphabets just described,

the next standard letter is the Script

In copying the Script alphabet make your letters quite large at first as you can see your mistakes easier in that way

Try always to make your script lettering look like one continuous flow of harmonious curves

make every curve smooth and graceful without sudden breaks or clumsy shapes

The Script alphabet is easier to draw and usually looks better when set at a slant,

and you should be careful to keep your letters at the same slant throughout the composition,

If you are using a drawing board and T square you can buy a 30 x 60 degree triangle at any art 9



be a great help in making slant

The light Script is a dainty letter and may be used to the best advantage on signs of a dainty,

character such as for millinery or candy stores

Old English is a beautiful alphabet but is little used because it is hard to read

And it should only be used where it is especially appropriate

The four alphabets

just described are the base used,

and if you master them you have practically mastered all existing English alphabets,

and you should be able to originate styles of lettering for all classes of work

The Italic letters are a sort of combination of Roman and Script forms,

and are supposed to have been originated by Petrarch,

an Italian poet of the fourteenth century

They were originally used as lower case letters only in combination with Roman capitals

they will also combine well with Script capitals

Italics harmonize with Roman letters and may be used for the text matter where Roman letters are used for the display or headings

Like the Script,

the Italics should be used upper and lower case only,

never use a whole word or line of Italic capitals

Use a capital for the starting letter and use small (lower case) let-

ters for the balance of the word or sentence

This also applies to the Old English,


Text or any extremely decorative

be drawn at a slant and the same slant should be maintained throughout the line or layout of letteriing

The Bradley Text,

are modifications of the Old English

The heavy plug letter is a cross between Roman 10 Italics should





It is very good wherever a heavy letter is wanted and looks best when stretched out qnite wide

The Spur Egyptian (Fig

and when once you have mastered the standard alphabets you will need no instruction on the others

The Cartoon Poster alphabet is good for humorous story headings,

The Japanese Novelty alphabet is good for Chop Suey signs,

or in hand lettered headings for

Chinese and Japanese stories

The Tuscan and Round full block letters are good for heavy display lines

They can be formed as single stroke letters and may be spread very wide and modified in many pleasing ways

The Novelty letters shown on the page of modifications (Figs

you an idea of forms you can originate for

The half block letters are used mostly for "Cut 5n" work,

where you paint around the letters,

The standard proportion is to make the letters

about four-fifths as wide as they are tall

The letters A,

and the letters G and are slightly wider than the standard four-fifths

The letters F,

J and L'should not be so wide

The width of the letter faces should be the same as the letter I,

which is about one-fifth as wide as

You should draw this alphabet carefully and memorize the proportions of the letters

it will help you with all the other alphabets,

as they don't vary much from these rules



Split 5 We

Relief Shades

Relief Shade

Rilling Shadoyy








Use square periods and commas wfth

MtK 0iacfcS

^nJ toond periods with round letters

- Roman ,

Scr ipt etc

a great deal about materials and their uses from such a catalogue

When you have an old board sign to repaint you can trace around the letters with an indelible pencil

Then paint the board with white lead and the pencil marks will " bleed through" so that you can easily repaint the old sign

Kerosene is better than gas or turps for cleaning brushes or taking paint off of your hands

Save all old muslin signs and send them to the laundry they make the finest wiping cloths to be had,

and it only costs a few cents a pound to have them washed

"Taxtite," made by the Sherwin-Williams Co

a paint remover which is unusually good for removing old window signs

Turpentine flattens color or makes it dull varnish mixed with color brightens it and preserves the brilliancy

Boiled oil dries quicker than raw linseed oil,

and is therefore used mone in sign

Signs should be very briefly worded four well selected words can often do the business better than forty

For painting inside of windows plain black a mixture of two parts asphaltum to one part coach black is good,

thin with turpentine when necessary

No varnish is required



Japan color is used for show cards which are exposed to the weather

letter with camel hair pencils

To keep paint from peeling on galvanized iron,

mix one pound each of Sal Ammoniac,

Nitrate of Copper and Chloride of Copper in six gallons of water,

when everything has dissolved add a pound of crude hydrochloric acid,

then use a wide kalsomine brush and go over the iron with this preparation

After twelve hours rub the iron clean with piece of burla*p and it is ready to paint

Don't paint on the inside of a window when it steaming or damp,

even if you get the paint to stick it will soon turn white and peel off,

If you have trouble with an old color " bleeding through' ' when repainting a sign,

put on a thin coat of shellac,

which will dry almost instantly and stop the bleeding

Gold leaf sometimes sticks to the leaves of the book in damp or cold weather

(Don't confuse this with patent gold which is

The Tuscan Block letters,

as shown in the word "Letters," Fig

are drawn about the same as the round full block alphabet,

the only difference being in the formation of the block spurs

Chrome yellow


Good material is less expensive in the end

A pound of good color ground in oil costs about twice as much as a pound of mixed paint,

but it will paint four times as much surface and produce better work

In buying camel hair lettering pencils be sure you get the best grade

They have long even hair cut perfectly square at the end and are firmly fastened in good quills with a piece of wire or a heavy indentation

You can fit wood handles in them to suit yourself

The regular sign painters' supply houses carry the good grade brushes,

Linseed oil will curdle Japan color if you attempt to mix them they must be ground together to combine properly

The Jewish sign shown in Fig

sometimes the left half of the sign is used alone on restaurants,

Large bulletins and brick wall signs are usually drawn to scale

That is,

a small sketch is made of the proposed sign on a scale of about one inch The sketch is drawn in perfect deto the foot

Also an explanation of the color scheme,

or in some cases the sketch is worked up in full color

When this sketch has been approved,

it is marked into one inch squares and the large sign is first given two coats of white lead and then marked into squares of one or two feet square to correspond with the sketch

This 67



it easy to keep everything in exact proportion to the original sketch

Mammoth mnslin

are usually painted in distemper color

Distemper color can be prepared as follows Put one pound of Kalsominer's glue in one gallon of cold water and allow it to soak over night

Next morning put this preparation on the stove and bring it to a boil and add a few drops of carbolic acid and a tablespoonful of powdered alum,

mix well and then gradually stir in dry color

Keep this on a low fire while using

Use fresco bristle brushes for detail or cutting in and large flat bristle brushes for "filling in

" Remember this paint must be used hot

Printers ink thinned with gasoline is good for signs,

frost on show in winter add two ounces of glycerine to one quart of 62 per cent grain alcohol and one drachm oil of amber let stand until it clears and rub on inside of window

« « «

To prevent window sweating and

When a varnish surface is too tacky to permit laying gold leaf or rubbing on aluminum bronze,

you may overcome the trouble by mixing the white of an egg with two-thirds of a cupful of cider vinegar,

give the surface two coats of this preparation and then you can do your lettering with quick size and apply the gold leaf or aluminum

It will stick to the surface but when dry the egg 68



can be washed off and you will have a clean

In painting a script sign first draw the top and bottom guide lines,

then draw slanting lines across these every few inches to give the proper slant to the letters,

now sketch out the lettering with a pencil or crayon,

then outline the letters with a small brush and afterward fill them in

See Alphabet plate No

Never use your show card or distemper brushes And don't put your oil

To test dry vermillion,

pour a small quantity of Muriatic Acid on some dry color if adulterated the pigment will fade

You can make your own academy boards

for color pictures by giving any heavy cardboard a coat of shellac,

and later a coat of flat light cream color,

stipple with a wad of cloth while paint is wet

This gives the board a surface resembling canvas

And now for a few parting words of advice to the amateur sign painter

Read this book over several times,

as you are almost certain to skip or misunderstand some important points during the first reading also carefully study every illustration and make several carefully enlarged copies of the alphabets you in

Until very recently secrets

were jealously guarded and a man had 69


work for many years edge of the

The secrets are no longer withheld and by referring to this book yon can find the proper method of doing every kind of work now done by the trade

With this nrach in your favor yon should be able by observation and diligent practice to equal and even surpass the work of many old-timers within a very few years

Keep your eyes open and observe all the different signs you see

Make notes of all the pleasing color combinations and notice how the professionals arrange the reading matter to make it attractive and legible

You will soon learn to judge the different classes of work and even to tell one man's work from anApply all the knowledge thus gained to other

Materials which yon cannot obtain from your may be purchased by mail from the following dealers who specialize in sign paintlocal paint store


Kling and 327 43


Watson Co

Lake St






Detroit School of Lettering,



New York

Eberhard and Son,

New York

Weber and


963 950


An up-to-date book containing a complete course of instruction

Illustrated with over 100 alphabets and designs,

and written in plain English that everyone can understand and thus learn to paint good signs

Also suitable for commercial artists or anyone who has occasion to do hand lettering


Rules for drawing and spacing Contains fourteen hand letexplained with simple diagrams

tered full page alphabet plates,

Modern Roman,

Bulletin Roman,

Light Script,

Heavy Script,

Old English,

Half Block,

Round Full Block,

Movie Title Alphabet,

Heavy Plug,

several "Single Stroke" Show Card Alphabets,

and two Modern Poster AlphaAlso many smaller examples,

and rules for originating and bets

"Layouts" fully explained and illustrated

Full instructions regarding materials,

What brushes,

pens and other materials to buy and how to use t,hem

Seasonable suggestions

Prices to charge,

Windows Signs

A list of brushes,

and other material 1 How to paint an aluminum,

is given and the use of each explained

8 Banners

How to paint paper,

Varnishes and the composition and uses of each explained

— — 10 —Ready Made Letters

How to make a Cement for Gold,

To remove old letters without breaking,

Color Glazing,

Dead Center,

Smalted Signs,

Pen and Ink Drawing for reproduction

Decorative female figures

The 13— Tricks of the Trade

Useful and unusual "Short Cuts

Forty examples shown

keep show windows from steaming and freezing in winter

keep old color from "bleeding through



with jacket printed in two colors

postpaid to any address on receipt of Price,