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Makin’ Copies

One question I am often asked by visitors to my booth is how I get copies of signs (in particular the Animal Guide signs)  made. I do a decent job of copying from one sign to the next, so I can understand why this might not be clear, but each and every sign is individually hand painted.

I begin with a design in Illustrator, which gives me an outline to work from. (These outlines are also presented in my coloring books!) I can size the image to print out at whatever diameter sign I’m working with. If it’s bigger than 8.5 x 11, I have to splice it together, but that’s simple enough with a light panel. Then I cut out the outline around the diameter and use masking tape to affix it to my board.

Using transfer paper and a stylus, I carefully trace out the design onto each board. I will often make multiple copies at one time, working through the flat stages of painting by color group on two or three signs, and then working one by one when I get to the detail work.

While I use photographic source material to inform my first painting, once I’ve don’e a design once, I take photographs of it and will use the sign or a photo of it as source material for all the copies. This helps to maintain the look over several copies.

I do experiment with pigments, brush choice, and special effects, so of course, each copy is entirely unique, while relating to the original design.

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