Orders placed between 12pm Wednesday 17 & midnight Sunday 21 will be sent out Monday 22 April

Absolute Beginners Virtual Course

This virtual course is designed for anyone with an interest in hand painted letters whether as a hobby or a future career.

There are three weekly sessions which cover the basics of letterforms, design and effects and tools and techniques.

No previous experience or specific tools required – get started with a pencil and paper in the comfort of your own home.

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What will you learn on the course?

Week 1: Looking at letterforms

In the first session you’ll learn how to draw letters, how to scale them up from drawings.

You’ll learn how to appreciate the proportions of letterforms, paying a lot of attention to the Roman alphabet which is the most important alphabet and what nearly all other alphabets have been based on.

We will also cover layout and spacing between letters or ‘kerning’ as it is known in typography.

Week 2: Design and effects

This week we will look at how you design your lettering to adapt to the space you have – a true signwriting skill.

We will also look at ‘fancy lettering’: how the block and the shadows can be used to create bold and eye catching lettering designs.

Week 3: Tools and techniques

In the final session we look at the tools you will need for professional results including which brushes to use and how to look after them and clean them.

We’ll share techniques on how to ensure your paint flows correctly when you paint your designs. You’ll also learn how to use a mahl and palette and how to actually signwrite.

While you can’t learn to be a professional signwriter in 90 minutes, you can learn the techniques to paint corners, straight lines and circles which you can then practice in your own time.

What materials will you need?
You’ll need access to Zoom on your tablet or computer, space to draw and basic drawing equipment (pencil, paper, ruler and eraser.)

Downloadable references and worksheets are sent out with your booking confirmation and should ideally be printed off, if you are able.

If you would like to buy paints, brushes, a mahl stick, a palette or pre-prepared boards, you can buy them in our signwriting supplies section in our shop.

What is included in the price?

You will have access to the three Zoom live sessions where you can write answers in the chat. Session recordings are shared with you each week. You will also receive an email with alphabet reference sheets to help you draw and scale letters. You will need to arrange the printing of these yourself. 

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for absolute beginners to encourage anyone that might be too scared to get started with signwriting, or might not know where to go to learn.

You can learn in a safe space at home and see if it’s something you want to pursue.

Who teaches this course?

With 30 years experience in signwriting, Joby Carter has extensive knowledge of this heritage skill.

Joby will be asking you to look at letters in a way that you have never done so before, to notice and appreciate key things about letterforms. You’ll also learn some of the fundamentals of the craft including the tools of the trade, brushwork and layout.

How many spaces are available?

The courses hold a maximum of 100 people, and we work on a first-come, first-served basis.

What age is this course suitable for?

This course is suitable for anyone that has a passion for letterforms, typography or graphic design but remember that signwriting is an advanced skill and the younger you are, the harder you will find it. Joby began his apprenticeship when he was 17 and spent many years refining his skills.

We teach signwriting using spirit-based paints which means that for our workshop courses we teach over 18s only.

If you know you love letterforms and are already keen to find out more, then Joby suggests that those aged 14 or over might enjoy aspects of this course as it will give a lot of insight into drawing letters, layout and design. You can also use non spirit-based paints to practice instead.

We recommend that your parent or guardian is aware that you are joining this course and that you join with their support.

Is it recorded?

Yes. Each session is recorded and we aim to send it to you within 1 working day of the course. We ask that you download this within 48 hours. 

Email recordings are for your personal use only. 

Joby Carter hosting a virtual course
Pencil sketch of fancy lettering style by signwriter Joby Carter
Hand painted sign by Joby Carter
Really enjoyed learning about brush strokes on the Zoom course! Learned some stuff I didn’t know and some stuff I was doing wrong!!
Sue, virtual course student

Apply for funding for your course

Signwriting, gilding, fairground art and coach painting are heritage skills and some organisations offer funding to those interested in learning these traditional skills.

We encourage you to research funding opportunities with QEST, Heritage Crafts, Lettering Arts Trust and the Crafts Council.