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Thread: Signing artwork

  1. #1
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    Signing artwork

    How do you sign your artwork? Do you use your full name? Initials? Sign the front of the piece? Reverse side? With paint or pen or marker?

    I usually paint my ATCs with watercolor. I sign the front of my ATCs with my initials, in ink or marker. On the reverse side, I put my full signature. Larger watercolors are signed in full on the front.

    Now I am finishing a 8x15 inch acrylic. I looked online for advice on signing, and tried using slightly watered down acrylic paint with a small brush for my full name on the front of the painting. What a mess. The lettering was just too big and messy, even after practicing. Part of the problem is the bumpiness of the surface (brush strokes in the paint). I managed to wipe off the acrylic signature, but now don't know how to sign it. Some sites say to sign using the same medium you did the painting, but I did not have luck with acrylics on my size painting. A large painting would be OK, since bigger lettering would fit in proportion to the size of the work. But for something 8x15 inches, the acrylic painted signature was a mess since it has to be "little letters".

    What techniques do you use for signing your artwork? What medium is the artwork, and what do you sign it with? Full name? Logo type signature?
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    I've used a marker on Acrylic. I make it small as it's a different "sheen" if done after the final layer. If you remember to do it before the last seal coat, it works well. I pick an unobtrusive color.
    I'm all over the board on how I sign... sometimes it's initials on the piece and full name on the back, and sometimes it's full name on the front right corner. I haven't tried acrylic ink to sign, but it seems it would lay down well with a script brush. I'll have to give it a go one of these days.

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    OH! I wonder how these might work. I just bought a pair today and have not used them, but with a fluid acrylic paint they may work quite well for signing artwork. (mine are blue)


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    Would a paint pen work?
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightowl_too View Post
    Would a paint pen work?
    I just threw my black paint pen away, it had developed flow problems. I had a major disaster once with a paint pen, so now am really cautious in "trusting" one to not make a mess. I do have a gold paint pen left now, but would bold gold distract from the painting? Although, one of my watercolor instructors signs her professional WC paintings with gold ink.

    Part of my questioning about signing comes from [online] advice that on a painting, the signature should be done in the same medium as the painting. I think that is more to do with in years-to-come it being better "proof" that the signature was not added later by a forger. Which is sure not anything I'm worried about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHC View Post
    OH! I wonder how these might work.
    If you experiment, please let us know how it works! I'm not sure how you could get the acrylic to flow properly. And, would you need to put a wasteful amount of paint into the bottle if you just wanted to paint one small area (ie a signature)?
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    Well, I do pretty much all my ATCs in acrylic and I sign the fronts in acrylic also, so it can be done. :-)

    I have what you might call a logotype signature though (you can check pretty much any ATC in my gallery to see it). It's a stylized version of my initials (LSG) and that really helps because it's compact and meant to look a bit blocky. It would be trickier (though not impossible) to do a cursive script kind of signature, especially on a small painting.

    When I do mine I don't water down the acrylic, but I do use fluid acrylics (Golden fluid acrylics or even high-flow) and a really fine, clean brush, i.e., one that is not gummed up with a gob of half-dry acrylic already. Make sure the brush comes to a nice point; if you pick a brush that is kind of fuzzy or tends to split down the middle, it will be next to impossible to do a good job.

    The paint type is vital; you will have a really hard time (which I think you discovered already) if you try to use any sort of heavy-body or not-so-fluid acrylic to do this. You need a steady hand, a brush full of (fluid) paint and only very light pressure on the brush. Literally the tip should only be barely touching the surface, which is why you need the fluid acrylic so it acts more like ink than pudding. (You could probably even use acrylic ink for this purpose too, actually, though I have personally never done that.) Also some colours are better than others - its' better to pick ones that are opaque, especially if you are signing light on a dark background, so that you don't have to go over your lines a bunch of times.

    Hope this helps - feel free to PM me if you have any further questions or need more tips! :-)

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    I decorate the edges of the back with the same sort of theme as the front, then write my name, username, date done, and title. I usually just use a pen, but sometimes pens in the colour scheme of the front
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    I have short signature I use on the front, and usually I put my webpage+month/year on the back. No full name anywhere, I don't even know why myself. It just never occured to me to use full name in my cards/anything I paint. And I sign watercolor on watercolor painting, though in the past I used pens and markers and whatnot. As a result, sometimes the signature standed out- in an ugly way. By using the same medium, signature seems to be more natural in the painting, I figured.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art101 View Post
    If you experiment, please let us know how it works! I'm not sure how you could get the acrylic to flow properly. And, would you need to put a wasteful amount of paint into the bottle if you just wanted to paint one small area (ie a signature)?
    I saw these in an online DVD by Carolyn Dube. You squeeze the little container to get the ink to flow. There is a very, very fine needle type cover that fits down into the hole so the ink won't clog in the points and should keep the ink as long as if it were in a regular bottle...or you could squeeze it back into the bottle. I haven't tried mine yet, but they sure looked good in the DVD.
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    I use to be really bad about not putting my name on any of my artwork, I now try to make sure I have it somewhere on it. For larger pieces 8x11 I use a really fine pen to sign my pen-name/user name for ATCs I put my name on the back of them since they're so small anyways.
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