Sign Painting

12 Oct

Just about sign painting and why it is fading away!

Hi, my name is James Chastain

Like many people around the world, I love art in about every form imaginable. But the one I really hung my teeth in was sign painting. I was amazed at working with paint and brushes to create so many different types of letters and art on an old piece of plywood or metal, at the early age of about 12 years old.

Today when you walk into a sign shop to get a sign for your business or whatever, you do not smell the aroma of paint, mineral spirits or turpentine like you used to. Now all you see is a rack hanging full of assorted colors of vinyl, ready to be cut by a plotter, powered by a brain box called a computer. How sad, there is not so many true artists who enjoys using their own imagination and skills to create a sign. Even though the computer will do all the layout and letter forming for you, it is up to the  programmer to know good layout formats, colors that are compatible  or overall sign basics to make an attractive sign without cluttering it to the point it is not legible twenty feet away. There is a lot more to sign painting or freehand lettering than just paint and brushes. It is a form of art that is cultured and nurtured  over years of trial and error.

There is no-one training for free hand lettering now days , I think mainly because a lot of the old timers, such as myself has moved on to the happy hunting ground and there is not anyone to teach them all the basics and fundamentals of the art. Not only that the younger generation is in the fast lane and don’t won’t to take the time necessary to learn, even though they have God given talents just going to waste.

I have designed a basic sign training package, that would help anyone who is inspired and would like to get involved in this dying art form. After 50 years in the biz, I pretty well covered all aspects for the beginners to get started. Even if you do not use my training lessons, please get help if you are new and want to learn. Don’t let your talent fade with the fading out sign artist.

If you need my help, Please check out my website at




One Response to “Sign Painting”

  1. tamarakidd 04/13/2013 at 01:10 #

    I’m about to embark on some Lettering for a friend’s record bar and coffee shop (Impact type font) and really appreciate your blog. And to think 20 years ago I wanted to get an apprenticeship as a Signwriter… I was told “You won’t have a job in 20 years… it’s a dying art”…. here’s to keeping it going!

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