As Monotype discussed on the site last week, there's a distinct nostalgia around at the moment for old-school, hand-painted aesthetics in lettering. Then what better time for renowned sign-painter Mike Meyer, Better Letters' Sam Roberts and their like-minded chums to publish the book Sign Painting: A Practical Guide to Tools, Materials and Techniques.
Launched this week by Laurence King, the book features 300 colour illustrations and promises to provide a "clear, authoritative and comprehensive reference for professionals and would-be sign painters, written by the most prominent figure in the global signwriting scene."
The book teaches its readers the basics of sign painting by introducing the tools, materials and techniques needed to create painted signs. It details the fundamentals of choosing and using brushes, paints, mahl sticks, dippers and pencils; delineates how to prepare and finish surfaces, transfer designs, mix paint and work with the brush.
Visual inspiration and a demonstration of how these techniques play out in final designs are provided in the gallery section, which features a series of original alphabets created bespoke for this book by sign painters worldwide, demonstrating a wide variety of styles and approaches.
Among the alphabets within the book is Abrupt Serif by Joan Quirós Alfabetty by Miranda Ensink; Carte-Deco by Joby Carter; Carzorla Condensed by Mark Josling of Spectrum Signs; Magic Monkey by Astrid Oud; Touriga by Fernando Mello; Sexy Bevels by Adrián Pérez (El Deletrista); Laurel by Valentina Di Donato and many many more.
Meyer is a sign painter from Minnesota who is widely recognised as one of the masters of the craft. His alphabets Bread & Butter Block and Pottsmith are found in the book. He is now running Better Letters with Roberts, who's currently based in Spain. The organisation promotes sign painting internationally through workshops and educational activities.
Better Letters also recently launched the latest in its series of short films about sign painting practitioners, When Better Letters Met Barbara Enright., which celebrates the life and work of the Australian showcard and ticket writer. It follows up on earlier profiles of Cliff Headford from Bristol, Josef Samuel in Vienna and Stan Wilkinson in Wokingham. Barbara's video can be seen for free here on Vimeo.