As a beginner artist starting out on the road to art mega-superstardom its important to consider your artists signature. Maybe you’ve been studying drawing lessons for a while (maybe even our complete drawing course) and you know you’ve got the skills, but now when its time to put that final finishing flourish onto paper you’re stuck, not knowing exactly what, where and how to get that signature down. Don’t worry. I’m here to help.

Lets think for a moment about artworks by your favourite famous artists. Now imagine the famous artists signatures on those artworks in your minds eye. Chances are that quite a few signatures spring to mind, each one unique and instantly memorable. That’s what you need to happen when people think about your work too. Your signature needs to pop into peoples minds at the mere mention of your name.

So you need an artists signature of your own, a good one, an instantly recognisable one, worthy of a star in its ascendancy (thats you). But what should it look like? Where should it be placed on an artwork? Should you just use your initials. Should you use your full name. Do you need one at all? To get you started on the path of art signature-ness here are some things to think about:

1. Consider NOT using your regular signature

While your regular signature gesticulations may look good on the bottom of important letters and bank cheques it might not the best kind of signature for your artworks for your own security. In these days where identity fraud is rife do you really want your personal signature freely available to every cyber-crook out there? Probably not a good idea. So maybe think about having a different signature for your artworks.

2. Don’t be a Scribbler

Often our regular signatures are not very readable. You need your signature to be unmistakable and clear so that your fans and collectors can instantly read your name and recognize everything you do.

3. Full name? Initials? Surname only?

Does your name sound more impressive if you use just your initials plus surname? Or does it have a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ if you use only your surname? Maybe your parents were kind to you and carefully selected a first name and surname combo which just rolls off the tongue? Try saying your name out loud in different ways. Unless your name is Archibald Smegglethwaite you are bound to find some combo that works. Whichever you choose just be sure to use it consistently.
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4. Your Signature is Your Brand

Everyone recognises the swirly word logo of Coca-cola. Your signature should be the equivalent of that (not literally); something that is easy to read, easy to recognise, easy to remember, and an expression of your art and personality at the same time.  When you finally decide you are going to hold your own exhibition you need every artwork to consistently identify you as the superstar creator artist, with consistent branding signature-ness.

5. Designing your Signature

I suggest you try writing your signature in lots of different ways. Experiment. Write it a few hundred times on paper with lots of variation and then pick the best version, the one that feels ‘just right’ for you. Also consider creating versions in thick felt tip pen too, for situations when a bolder statement is necessary.

6. Your Signature is your Logo

Hand your favourite versions over to a tame graphic designer for conversion into a logo or convert it yourself. Your signature is likely to be used for promotional purposes on exhibition invitations, charity show flyers, catalogues, signage, merchandising, your artist business cards (see my tip for artist business cards so cool people will be begging for them!), and web sites in addition to your artworks so this is well worth doing.

7. Practice makes Perfect

Practice writing your artists signature often so it becomes as natural to write as your regular signature, so that you can instantly sign your completed artworks and body parts of adoring fans with a confident flourish.

8. Be Tidy and Consistent

All too often I see artworks that look brilliant but which are let down by a signature which is sloppily written, sloping awkwardly, too close to the edge of the canvas, mount or frame or just plain hard to see. Take time to consider your signature and its careful placement. Measure its ideal placement if you have to. Don’t rush to sign an artwork just because you want it to be finished. Take your time and get it right. Of course for some artists though a sloppy signature is part of the appeal, but even the sloppiest artists do sloppy with style (even if it doesn’t look like it).

9. Cheat If You Have To

When I use my own artists signature I like it to be placed in just the right spot and at just the right size. Most times I even consider the compostion of the signature as part of the artwork. It suits my pixel precise art style. To get this effect I sometimes cheat and trace my signature onto the piece using graphite transfer paper (we have a video on our Youtube channel about transferring sketches which might be useful). At the very least I’ll make a straight line on the artwork on which to sign. That way I can maintain quality and consistency of the finished product and ensure it looks great every time.

10. Where to Place a Signature

Usually it resides bottom left or bottom right, with enough room to sit away nicely from the edge of the page or canvas, and taking into account any framing and mounts. Some Artists like to hide their signatures in other locations, but remember the bottom of the artwork (if its a drawing or painting) is where interested  collectors will look first. Don’t make them work too hard. So there you have it. Ten ideas for your signatures success. Now go forth, create astonishing artworks and ensure that adoring art fans can instantly recognise your stylish yet unmistakable name gesticulations.

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