View Full Version : Signing, What to Use?

Bill Foehringer
10-14-2005, 11:55 AM
I've been using pastel pencils but it's hard to make the letters legible and I have a long last name, Foehringer. I sign the smaller pieces WHF. Any suggestions? BillF

Nancy Leone
10-14-2005, 01:30 PM
Happily, I just signed a few. I use a lead pencil.

10-14-2005, 02:25 PM
I use a graphite pencil as well...it shines just enough to set the signature apart from the painting, and you never need to worry about choosing the wrong colour pastel pencil (plus, I think I ready here not long ago, that it is archival)

10-14-2005, 06:03 PM
i was wondering the same thing- i have used pastel pencils but it always looks sloppy

10-14-2005, 06:19 PM
I tend to use charcoal or graphite pencil.

How to sign? That is entirely up to you. I use my initials JR with the front vertical of the 'R' joining the vertical of the 'J' so the horizontal of the 'J' merges with the top of the 'R'.

10-14-2005, 07:12 PM
A lead pencil - never would have thought of that. I'll have to give it a try!

Bill Foehringer
11-16-2005, 05:15 PM
Hmmm, I might change to a lead pencil. A number two would be convenient and is fairly dark on Kitty's paper which I use often. It's come up because I've recently selected the 30 or so paintings to frame (10 are now framed) for a display and found that I signed far fewer than I realized. Thanks for the ideas. BillF

11-16-2005, 05:42 PM
I've been using pastel pencils but it's hard to make the letters legible and I have a long last name, Foehringer. I sign the smaller pieces WHF. Any suggestions? BillF
Graphite pencil definitely! Suggestion...why not sign Bill Foeh with a Ring around it? I mean a circle! :wink2: It sure would be both unique and memorable.....but I know it's not really your name! :o

Susan Borgas
11-16-2005, 06:20 PM
I use a white charcoal pencil. If my name jumps out more than I like, I just touch the signature lightly with my finger to push it back into the pastel.

11-16-2005, 09:25 PM
I use a black Sharpie extra fine point permanent marker. This allows me to make my signature neat and tiny and it goes on right over the pastel except in really thick places. I don't know if you can see or not because I had to blow it up, but here is an example.

11-17-2005, 10:16 AM
i have a terribly long name -- cernetisch--, so i too looked for another option. pastel pencil on sanded paper just was too ugly! and even a #2 goes dull within a few letters. so i use a #2 mechanical pencil--the lead can never 'flatten' out, even with my name! the slight shine, fine, clear letters, and even the easy color, perfect!!

11-17-2005, 12:34 PM
I have a long last name and have struggled with this issue for years. I used to "sign" my name (like my signature) with lead pencil. But it doesn't stand out much and no one but me knows what the name is. I've read recent articles that indicate an artist should sign the piece so that others seeing the piece can discern the name of the artist. So I've recently started signing in pastel pencil (newly sharpened) in a color that harmonizes but still shows up on the piece. I skip my first name and go only with sorta printing, sorta writing my last name, making sure it is readable: LeClair-Sommer. It is a challenge to get the letters small enough (and even), especially on a smaller piece. I think in the long run as I sell more pieces, this method will serve me better.

11-17-2005, 03:24 PM
I struggled with a too long name for a long time before having a nationally recognized instructor tell me one time that I should consider using a calligraphic image if I wanted to shorten my identification. I've used it for so long now that others recognize that initial as my art signature. However, on the back of each painting I write in pen my full name, the title, and copyright date along with my calligraphic initial. Here is an example of that signature. I use a sharpened pastel pencil. I have never liked seeing a signature that stands out from the artwork - just my personal choice. This is the signature on "Purple Wave":


Here's the painting:


11-17-2005, 06:57 PM
I don't suppose you could sign them 'Bill'- no, I thought not- I use pastel pencils, but rarely sign things these days, just practicing lately- in the new biolchini video- he shows you his sig- he uses a sharpened mt. vision and a nicely contrasting color- he used red for the green woodland scene, then put red in a few places so it would look more natural- he took a bit of time with his sig too... i do mine like i am paying a bill or something....

12-14-2005, 10:27 PM
I like to either have fun with my signature or bury it in the painting so that it's not obvious. Black on black is great for that. Using a General medium charcoal pencil on a black works great. The medium is a different shade and can easily been seen in the right light but otherwise doesn't interfer.

In other pieces I vary the colour of pastel pencil as the background changes so that they are alwasy contrasting. I prefer Stabilo and white charcoal pencils for this as they sharpen to a wonderful point.

This is one where I just plain had fun. :D


Cheers, Dianna :cat:

12-15-2005, 09:58 AM
Good Day All,

I tend to sign with the edge of a NuPastel. I also have a long last name, and signing can be a problem. I usually bury it too as I once had a gallery owner tell me "people don't want to buy your signature. they buy the art for the art, and signature is just a distraction." On small pieces, because of the length of the name, I only sign the back, and then usually in permanent sharpie.

Jeff Fioravanti, CPS, PPSCC, PSA
Painting the Soul of America

Bill Foehringer
12-15-2005, 10:04 AM
Wow! You're really turning the art world topsy-turvy! Thanks for the tip. BillF

12-15-2005, 10:32 AM
Hi Bill,

Not sure about turning things "topsy turvy" but I have been called a somewhat of a "whirling dirvish" at times. :) Thanks for the great post, and I've enjoyed reading all the responses.