Sunday, 29 December 2013

Another Volkswagen sign...

My latest sign is again Volkswagen based, as the majority of my signs are. I had an idea of what I was going to produce so as usual the first thing to do was cut and prepare a piece of 3mm birch ply.
This size of this board is 30 inches wide by
7.5 inches high. It has as usual been sanded
down to ensure a smooth surface to draw on.

I imagined a bay window on one side and a
split screen on the other with some wording
in the middle. The first thing to do was sketch
a bay window, as you can see it was a very
rough sketch (!) but for now positioning is
more important than anything else.

The same applied to the split screen, I thought
it would be good to have the vans facing each

Once I was happy with the layout, out came
the ruler and HB pencil to get some heavy
lines down, and as usual an eraser which I
kept on using until everything looked OK.
At this stage it doesn't look much but you
have to imagine it coloured in.

The same applied to the split screen, I cant
Begin to tell you how many times I used the
eraser on those side windows until I was happy
they were in proportion and in the correct place.

Not sure if you can see from this photo, but
the buses are finished, now all I have to do is
colour them in using the Steadtler permanent
Lumocolor and Edding 300 marker pens.
This is applied directly to the sanded board.

Shading completed on the bay, I decided to
add the rear and side windows from the other
side of the bus. This was a pain and the eraser
got plenty of use... but I think the end result
is worth it.

Onto the split screen, I decided I had to do the
same with the windows as on the bay window 
otherwise they wouldn't look right but again I
think it was worth the extra hour or so.

OK, onto the wording and as usual the word
Volkswagen was the first to go down.

Once the 'Volkswagen' was complete the rest
of the wording could begin. You can see how
I space the wording out to ensure they are all
the same height and central to the sign.

The finished sign, well I need to drill some
mounting holes and get the eraser out to
remove any pencil lines still showing. I'm
not going to varnish this as I think over time
the colour of the birch ply will darken and
make the sign look even better.

So that was yet another sign, I have decided
I am going to make a lot of these and see
if I can sell them at VW shows in the spring
and summer... only time will tell if they sell
or not.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Empi Equipped & Auto Repairs signs

I really hate the winter time, the long cold dark nights means you have to stay indoors for most of the day and it can get really boring. So I take the opportunity to create some more signs... I was thinking that maybe I'll make lots of these signs and try to sell them at VW shows in the summer months, I'm not going to get a fortune for them but a little bit of beer money would be nice. Anyway onto the signs.. The two signs I have recently created are just bare 3mm ply and all I used was 2 permanent marker pens but the result is quite effective.

My friend suggested that I could produce (for
him I think he meant) the Empi Equipped sign.
OK, I thought it'll be something that I haven't
done before. Sorry there aren't many pictures
for this sign, but I simply forgot to take more.
So after preparing the board, getting the design
down and positioned centrally was the next job.

The beauty of pencil onto board is that should
you need to correct something you simply use
an eraser to remove the lines and you can start
again, and I did on numerous occasions until I
was happy with the design. Once the design
looked right I simply used a fine tip marker pen
to go over the pencil lines.

Finished apart from drilling some fixing holes,
the sign looks really good in monotone.

Having made the Empi Equipped sign earlier
I thought about another sign again just using
the marker pens. I decided what I was going
to do and prepared a piece of 3mm ply to the
correct size.

Again after the board has been sanded down,
it's time to get the design onto the board, a
good pencil, pencil sharpener and a BIG
eraser is all you need...

After sketching out the design, time to bring in
the ruler to get some good strong straight lines

A better picture of this stage, I will not be using
any protective varnish on the two signs because
I'm hoping over time the board will mellow into
the darker brown as shown in the above photo
which I think will suit the sign better than the
light colour it is now.

So, once I was happy with the design and the
wording, out came the marker pens. I use two
markers, a fine tip Steadtler Lumocolor, and
an Edding 300 marker with a bullet tip.

Then it's simply a case of filling in the design,
a bit like painting by numbers you did as a
kid, you did do painting by numbers as a kid
didn't you..?

For any of my readers that do not know what
painting by numbers is, it is a book of various
outlined designs that you could colour in using
paint or felt tip pens and at the end you would
have created a work of art.

It really is that simple. The monotone of the
sign makes it really stand out. I think I'll be
doing a lot more monotone signs because they
are quicker and easier to produce and look

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Bobble head family sign.

Because it's early December and therefore there is a serious lack of VW events and shows to attend and review, I thought I would post another blog about my VW related sign making just to give my regular readers something to read and to keep them coming back.! On this blog entry I created a sign with the VW Bobble head family on, and just for an added twist I decided to add some wording. 

The first thing to do is to prepare the correct
size piece of board. On this occasion I have
used a piece of 3mm ply which is 18" x 12". I
do like using the 3mm ply because it's so easy
to cut and sand down. It is also so lightweight
that the sign only weighs a few ounces. As
always I have painted the board with several
coats of brilliant white paint, and sanded the
board down in-between the coats.

Once the paint was dry I started to plan where
the 'Bobblehead Family' would be positioned
on the board. At this stage I had intended to
just paint the family so I positioned them
centrally. Here I have just lightly sketched the
family onto the board.

Once I was happy with the proportions and
general design I brought out the ruler and
went over the design again with a firmer hand.

The first coat of acrylic 'Blue Bouquet'. As
you can see the paint is quite opaque so a
second coat will be required.

A close up picture to show the difference
between one coat and two.

Although I pencil in the design, I don't always
follow my own lines...

Mr. and Mrs. Bobble head in desperate need
for a second coat.

Once the family had had two coats I decided
to add a border, again this needed two
coats. The sign looks OK, but I think there
is something missing.. it just looks too plain.

I decided to add 'Approved Garage' in the top
right hand corner just to fill the gap really.!
Again this was drawn on after deciding on the

It's getting there, but now the space below
the family looks a bit bare and in need of

I needed a word or caption to put into the
space below the family... so why not the
word 'Volkswagen'.

The design and painting all finished, all that's
left to do is drill some mounting holes and
then varnish the whole thing.

Finished. Not a bad looking sign.

A face book friend of mine has requested her
own Bobble head family sign, as her family
consists of the the same characters as the
Bobble head family, which I shall be glad to
produce for her.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

No Tools Loaned Here. (sign)

As the VW season is over and therefore there are no show reviews to post blogs about I thought I would post some blogs about my evening activities... As my regular readers will know, I have recently produced a few signs for the Oil Droppers workshop and to be honest I'm really getting back into the sign making / sign writing malarkey. It keeps me occupied in the long cold dark evenings that is the winter in the UK. I have produced 4 or 5 signs so far and they have all been what I call proper sign written signs, clear and informative so I thought I would let my imagination of it's leash a little bit and see what I come up with. My last project was the 'saw' painting which gave me an idea, I got to thinking about tools and I thought, how about a big spanner made from ply and then something written on it, and how about if it was bright and colourful and in your face... that gave me an idea.

I had a few pieces of 3mm birch ply in the
shed which was left over from when I did the
headlining in my bay, so it was ideal to use for
a sign. I found a piece that was big enough,
and after I had drawn and cut out the spanner
shape, the overall size was 42in x 11in.

So as usual the first thing to do after sanding
the piece down was to apply a base coat. I
used white, simply because I have a plentiful
supply of white.!

I wanted this sign to be bright and 'in your face'
So for the main colour I used 'Goldenrod' a
lovely deep gold colour.

For a stark contrast I applied 'Roasted Red' as
an 1/2in border around the outside.

To separate the gold and red I went round with
a black liner which helps highlight both the bold
colours. With the colour of the sign finished, it's
time to move onto the wording. Here I have
written onto the board 'No tools loaned here'
in a font that reminds of the 1950's and of old
skool hot rods.

A close up of the font I had chosen for this
particular piece.

I do like this font, which I think will suit the
overall concept of this sign.

The wording needed to stand out so I used
light antique white, the wording will have a
 darker outline added later.

First coat to the lettering all finished, I was
hoping the light antique white would cover
the goldenrod base, but it looked very opaque
close up, so I ended up applying 2 coats.

The wording with 2 coats of white, I will put a
darker outline to the wording at a later stage.

As this sign is a double sided hanging sign, I
decided to write something completely different
on the other side. 'Classic auto repairs' was
written onto the board in the same way as
before, then I used the same light antique white
I used on the other side.

Here the wording has had a first coat, and it
doesn't look too bad from here, but trust me
it was very washy close up.

2nd coat of white to the lettering applied.

Photo of the sign outside on a cloudy day. I
was hoping to get a true colour match but due
to the weather conditions it doesn't really show
in the photos.

I normally use a black liner to outline any
wording, but I decided to try a new red liner
on this side. I'm not sure if I like it or not, it
doesn't seem to make the letters stand out
as much.

The other side of the sign in daylight.

This side I reverted back to my black liner for
highlighting the wording, which I think is far
superior than the red liner.

So that was my latest creation in my world
of signs. I have been commissioned for
creating a piece for a Laurel and Hardy
collection in Germany so watch this
space and I'll show you how I got on.