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Five Day Intensive Signwriting Course

Learn the basics of traditional signwriting, from layout and design, to shading, lining and brushwork. Joby teaches using the traditional methods that were taught 100 years ago without modern shortcuts such as using masking tape or computers.

You’ll see real life restoration projects being worked on and how signwriting is used on these projects.

At the end of the week, you’ll leave with your own hand painted sign which you will have drawn, laid out and painted using skills you perfect and practice throughout the week.

Upcoming Courses

What will you learn on the course?

  • How to scale up and draw letters correctly by hand (no computers used)
  • How to lay letters out in relation to one another (in typography and printing it’s known as kerning, in signwriting we call it spacing) and understanding the negative space created between the letters
  • Composition within your sign or board and where your lettering should sit to make best use of the space
  • When it’s ok to break ‘the rules’ to adapt to your letters to fit and suit their surroundings
  • Choosing the right professional tools, including how to look after your paint brushes and prepare them for use, how to store them correctly and how to grease them up
  • How to work paint on your palette and apply it with the correct viscosity
  • How to use a mahl stick to assist you with smooth movements while painting your letterforms
  • Colour selection and contrasts to make your lettering have impact
  • How to layout block using the triangle trick
  • How to layout a shadow correctly (often something even experienced signwriters get wrong)
  • An understanding of the best fonts and alphabets to use for hand painted lettering and how they relate to each other (it all starts with the Roman font)
Who teaches this course?
This course is taught by Joby Carter, a leading expert in traditional signwriting. Joby has over 30 years experience in signwriting, fancy lettering and fairground art and is a highly skilled decorative artist.

Via virtual and workshop courses he has taught thousands of students how to signwrite.

His practical, real-life experience as a signwriter and his approachable explanations of professional tips will give you the confidence to learn and perfect your skills.

Who is this course for?
This course is designed to appeal to those interested in learning the basics of signwriting with the aim to continue it as a creative hobby, passion project or business.

It is also great for those who already do some signwriting, perhaps having taught themselves, who would like to perfect their skills and pick up tips from an industry expert.

The course gives you the full understanding of drawing and painting letters by hand which you can then refine and perfect in your own time.

Where is the course held?
The courses are held in a restoration workshop know as ‘Joby’s Paintshop’ at the Carters Steam Fair Yard, in White Waltham near Maidenhead.

You’ll have a tour of the restoration workshops during the course and can see a variety of real life restoration projects as well as Joby’s archive of signwriting styles from across the decades.

Carters Yard, 
Waltham Road, 
White Waltham, 
SL6 3JF 

Parking is available on the on the roads in the industrial estate: you may need to park a little further away and walk up to our yard. You cannot park on the grass areas or beyond the Southern Yard or within our main yard.

What is included in the course price?

All materials are provided for the duration of the course, lunches and hot drinks are also provided. You may like to bring your own mug.

All students will also take home a copy of Joby Carter’s book, Signwriting Tips, Tricks and Inspiration worth £25 AND three starter signwriting brushes (sizes 1, 3 and 5) worth £35 for you to use during the course and take home with you afterwards. If you already have a copy of Joby’s book you can have a £25 credit to spend on posters or books at Joby’s gift shop

You have the opportunity to buy your own equipment at the end of the week including enamel paint, signwriting brushes, mahl sticks and palettes. Cash & card payments are accepted.

How many places are there on the course?
There are 15 places on each course. We keep the groups small to enable opportunities for one to one support from Joby when you need it.
What happens when I book my course?

When you place your order you will be emailed an e-ticket, which is your course booking confirmation. 

Where can I stay while I am on the course?
We recommend that you try to find places local to White Waltham so your commute to the course is a short and easy one.

Our recommendations for the nearest places are: 

The B&B in Innings Lane ran by Kate Gough (01628 826 789)

The Bird in Hand, approximately 3.5miles away (01628 826 622)

Rose Kenyon’s B&B about 4 miles away (01628 623262/07508 535945)

There are also a number of Air BnB’s running in White Waltham that are advertised on the Air BnB website, previous students have used these and have given positive feedback.

Maidenhead is a short drive away and has a Travelodge and Premier Inn. Please allow time for your journey to the workshop as the roads can be busy at peak hours.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide space for caravans or mobile homes in the Yard; it’s a busy working fairground yard and we are moving vehicles around a lot. Other guests have recommend visiting the Caravan Club website for local campsites.

What equipment do I need to do the course?

You do not need to bring any materials or equipment with you, as we provide everything you need on the course.

Please remember to wear clothes that are comfortable, and you don’t mind getting messy, please wear sturdy closed toe footwear, no flip flops or sandals.

We provide food and hot drinks, but you might like to bring a mug or travel mug and your own spoon. If you want to bring any additional snacks you are welcome to do so.

What are the course timings?
Courses start at 9am prompt each day and run until 5pm.

On the first day we suggest you are here by 8.45am to give you enough time to get set up, meet other students, and grab a cuppa.

On the other days you need to arrive by 9am. 

Joby Carter 5 day signwriting course
Joby Carter teaching
Students on Joby Carters 5 day signwriting course

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 and the Crafts Council.