The secrets of old-school sign writing

The room is bright and warm. Sign writer Terry Smith stands at an easel, his chest rising, pausing, and falling; each brush stroke is a breath held. He appears entranced, locked into an irregular but comfortable rhythm with his paintbrush, its once crimson-lacquered handle worn to bare wood. A prickly whiff of paint thinner hangs in the air. Working from left to right, Smith supports his painting hand using a mahl stick, which he calls his third arm. Its round, padded head glides across his work surface, collecting chalk dust from the positional renderings he uses as a spacing guide. In sign writing circles, this known as the pounce method, but Smith doesn’t rely on it… read more >

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