Printmaking and More: 5 Ways to Sign Your Art Artfully

How do you sign your art? With a Sharpie® and your signature? With a little cartouche-like monogram? Maybe you have a stylized signature you use just for artwork (as opposed to writing checks.)

There are many ways to sign your artwork creatively, from printmaking techniques to lettering to stamping. Here, I've rounded up a few examples for you to try:

print your signature with a stamp
Print your name with a handmade stamp.

1. Sign on the plate, part 1. Printmaking artists often sign their work on the plate, making the signature part of the artwork. It's easy to do this when making a gelatin monoprint. Apply paint ink to the gelatin plate with a brayer. Then use a pointed, but not sharp, implement like a chopstick to write your name on the plate, then make your print. Don't forget, you have to write it backwards on the plate for it to show up correctly on the monoprint.

2. Sign on the plate, part 2. You can use this technique using a collograph plate and relief printing, as well. Apply string, stitching, glue, or another material to create a reverse signature that stands on the plate in relief. When you print the collograph, your signature appears as part of the monoprint.

3. Carve it into a stamp. A really easy way to print your signature onto your art is to create your own rubber stamp, as described in this blog post. I picked up that tip from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Just write or design your signature in pencil, rub the pencil onto an eraser and carve around it to leave the signature in relief. You can achieve the same effect with lino printing or block printing.

lettering signature joanne sharpe
Joanne Sharpe incorporated a stylized version
of her name into this tag.

4. Screen print your signature. Have your signature or cartouche turned into a Thermofax screen. You can use the screen over and over again to print your signature onto artwork, t-shirts, and more.

5. Make it part of the art. A lot of artists weave their signature into their artwork so it's hidden or create an "artsy" signature that, while still somewhat separate, fits into the artwork because it's part of their style. As a lettering expert, Joanne Sharpe is great at making letters look like artwork. In the example shown here, Joanne drew her name artfully so it became incorporated into the tag. (Her actual signature looks more like handwriting.)

I could go on, but you get the idea. Whether your specialty is printmaking, lettering, collage, painting, or mixed-media art, you can always find a unique way to make your artist mark.

To learn more about these techniques and processes, take a Cloth Paper Scissors WorkshopTM with Joanne Sharpe, Jenn Mason, Julie Fe-Fan Balzer, and many other talented artists.

P.S. How do you sign your name on your artwork? Tell me about it, and include a link to an example, if you have one.

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Blog, Printmaking

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