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1-Day Workshop: Ciaran Glöbel – Sign Painting


Ciaran Glöbel is a self-taught signwriter and commercial artist specialising in hand painted typography who opened his workshop in Glasgow in 2013 and since then has worked with an impressive portfolio of clients including DF Concerts, Jameson Whiskey, Network Rail, Academy Music Group, Irn Bru and BBC Scotland.

In his workshop Ciaran introduced participants to the basic techniques of painting lettering by hand, approaching brushwork and understanding materials.

“We used One-Shot Signpainters Poster Colours which is oil based and quick-dries to a matte finish. The One-Shot range has a wide choice but we limited our colour palette to shades of blue, black and yellow. Our brushes were manufactured and supplied by the premier supplier in sign painters sundries, A.S. Handover.”

“Tradition and technology don’t have to be mutually exclusive, so while there is a strong foundation of manual skill and draughtsmanship, the use of familiar design packages can revolutionise the way in which hand rendered lettering can be achieved and so we will explore a more contemporary approach to an antiquated craft.

The tradition of signpainting is a long and venerable one, but the dawn of the digital age saw these once ubiquitous compositions all but disappear from our environment. Replaced by cheap and easily produced plastic substitutes.

As times and tastes have changed, the techniques and outcomes of hand painted lettering have re-ignited in our cultural lexicon and countless individuals from around the globe have favoured the brush over the keyboard and began to re-explore the more tactile aspects of typography.”

“”I wanted the participants to have complete overview of what goes into painting a sign, so we began the day looking at the methods of draughting letters by hand and working out scale and proportionality. Then we all got our brushes out and practiced some ‘casual’ letterforms, making little slogans and painting our names etc.

The second half of the day we spent coming up with some more considered compositions. We each pulled a letter from a hat and set about rendering that letter as neatly and as interesting as possible. The final product was a lovely set of individual letters spelling the words GRAPHIC DESIGN FESTIVAL SCOTLAND.”

“The workshop was all about having fun so we tried not to let anything get us down but it can be a challenge for someone having never used the particular materials we used (whether that be enamel paint or the long, unwieldy brushes), but I was pleasantly surprised by how all the participants just got on with it at their own pace and managed to make such a nice collection of letters.

“I really enjoyed hosting this workshop. It was the first time I had spent so much time with so many people sharing the knowledge that I’ve gathered over these 3 short years in which I’ve been a working signpainter.”

Ciaran Globel:


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