Since my last Everyday Creative post about some of the personal sign painting projects I have been working on, I quickly came to one very big realization: I need a lot more practice. And by a lot, I mean I needed to go back to ground zero and start from the beginning to learn the fundamentals (where I probably should have started to begin with, but I digress).
After doing some research and talking to a few industry professionals that have been painting letters for far longer than I have, I formulated a curriculum of sorts for myself. I found that a trend was emerging whenever I asked these professionals the question, “So, where do I start?” The answer was almost always the same, “Buy some tempera paint and cheap brushes, then paint letters, lot’s of letters, everyday.”
So it began. I ordered (more) cheap brushes and a bottle of tempera paint, bothered more sign painters with questions and watched countless YouTube videos over, and over, and over again. Most of these sign painters told me the best place to start is to simply learn the basic letter forms and the various paint strokes they consist of. It’s not too hard to fill in shapes with a good brush full of paint, however creating a full letter with only a few strokes of a paint brush (commonly called Single Stroke) is a whole different story. That is where true brush control, or lack thereof, really comes through. All strengths and weaknesses show up when doing Single Stroke letters, which is why this is such a great place to start learning.
The above image is in chronological order from left (being the oldest) to right (being the newest). It is fascinating to me as I look through these images now and the progression between them. Not that I am claiming to have mastered the art of painting letters by any means, but there is noticeable progress none-the-less. The painting in the far left image looks clumsy, shaky and inconsistent at best, while the far right image even though it’s far from perfect, is smoother, more consistent and confident. I think for one of the first times in my life I have seen hard concrete evidence that practice through repetition really does work.