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THE ART OF
SHOW CARD WRITING
A Modern Treatise
Covering All Branches of the Art
Many Beautiful Designs and Complete and Comprehensive
Instruction in Pen and Brush Letterinij- — Also
the Latest and Best Methods
With One Hundred and Fifty-Three Illustrations ;ui(l Thirty-Twcj
Lettering Plates, C'omprising All the Standard
Ancient and Modern Stvles
LAWRENCE J. STRONG
CHARLES J. STRONG
The Detroit School of Lettering
FREDERICK J. DRAKE & COMPANY
FREDKRICK J. DKAKK & CO.
Detroit Srhool of Lettering
I'rinted in flii> fniti-ii Siatis of America
FEB '<L\ 1922
Like the products of the printing press, "show-cards,"
or temporary signs to be displayed in store windows, have
become important factors in trade circles. Every business,
however small, whether in city, town or hamlet, finds grow-
ing need for this form of announcement, and merchants
everywhere realize that the professional show-card writer is
as important a part of modern business methods and equip-
ment, as the clerk who hands the goods over the counter.
The opening and development of this profitable avenue
of emploj'ment for young men and women who can, with
speed, produce neat and legible card signs, has inspired the
authors to put into book form the results of their many
years of experience as craftsmen and teachers.
This work embraces a series of instructions written and illustrated in a
plain and unmistakable manner which will enable anyone of average intelli-
gence to acquire a thorough working knowledge of this branch of the sign
writing art. Since a good workman must have good tools to produce good
results, most painstaking advice has been given upon the selection, use and
care of necessary tools and materials.
Many instructive examples have been placed before the ambitious student
in these pages. This wealth of illustration, from the rudiments to the finished
product, enlightens the path of progress step by step, and the explanatory
text, in simple and i;nmistakable language, demonstrates that the learner could
receive neither better nor more painstaking instruction if he were directly
under a teacher's personal and oral care.
Some there are who can do a thing but cannot tell others how to do it.
The authors of this text book have tried to impart their knowledge to others
in a convincing, attractive and easily assimilated way, and it is felt the con-
scientious pupil cannot fail to acquire the successful knowledge he seeks and
All art is subject to never ending development, and it would be an
impossible pretension to anticipate all contingencies or compile between the
covers of any book, however large, all that might be said upon this stibject.
It is, however, believed that the authors have succeeded in their purpose to
place before the student such practical, modern and complete instructions as
will enable him to become a capable and successful show-card writer.
To the aspiring men and women who, by this means, seek a congenial
and profitable vocation, filled with growing opportunities, these pages are
I Show Card Lettering and Alphabets
Descriptions and Uses of the Twelve Principal Styles of Show Card
Alphabets — Showing the Adaptability of the Various Styles to the
Different Classes of Work.
II Brush Manipulation '^ '
The Fourteen Strokes Used in Making Show Card Letters — Rules
for Making the Strokes — How the Brush Is Held — Other Utensils
— Possibilities of the Lettering Brush.
III Pen Work -!•>
How the Various Kinds of Pens Employed in Show Card Lettering
Are Used — Their Advantages and Limitations Considered from
Both the Business and the Artistic Standpoint.
IV Show Card Colors and Inks 56
Uses of the Various Types of Colors and Inks — Dry Colors —
Distemper Colors — Water Colors — Show Card Inks.
V Tools and Materials 61
Cardboard and Matboard — Air Brushes — Atomizers — Ornaments —
Flitter Work — Powders — Adheslves.
VI Why Is a Show Card ? 74
The Advertising Value of Good Show Cards — How the Show Card
Writer Can Put Selling Force Into His Cards.
VII Laying Out the Inscription 77
Practical Methods — Correcting Errors — Slargins and Borders — Ini-
tial Letters — Methods for Practice — Japan and Oil Colors — Circles
— Shading — Stencils.
VIII What to Charge 104
Business Methods that Allow Profitable Charges — How to Arrive at
Basic Prices on Show Card Work.
TX Examples and Methods lOS
Poster Embellishments — Raised Panels — Wall Paper Decoration —
Blended Grounds — Mat Borders — Spatter Work — Pen Knife Dec-
oration — Perforations — Flowers and Ribbons — Air Pencil, Atomizer,
and Air Brush.
X Season-able Decorations 145
How to Make the Ornamental Work on Show Cards Suit the Time
of Year During Which They Are to Appear — Examples for Each
XI Panels and Tickets 161
Examples of Types and Sizes of Price Tickets and Panels — Sugges-
tions and Examples for Decoration of Tickets — Making Duplicates.
XII Show Card Phrases 183
Appropriate Wording with Examples for Such Lines as Jlen's
Clothing, Men's Furnishings, Ladies' Wear, Men's Hats, Bo.vs'
Clothing, and Shoes.
XIII Theuky and Practice 190
Tools and Materials Used in the Show Card Shop — Selection of
Brushes — T-Square and Striping — Rest Stick — The Easel — Com-
pass — The Palette — Tracing Wheel.
XIV Alphabets, Ornaments, Borders and ^Ionograjis 203
A Series of Thirty-Two Plates Showing Twenty-Eight Complete
Alphabets for Use in Show Card Work — Also Plates of Ornamenta-
tion, Scrolls, Panels, Monograms, and Bands.
THE ART OF
SHOW CARD WRITING
Show Card Lettering and Alphabets
Scope of the Subject. — Recent jears have wrought a marvelous change
in the kind and style of sign used for temporary purposes by the average
merchant. Neat, attractive card signs, price-tickets, etc., have now become such
a staple and popular medium for advertising all commoditias, that many let-
terei's have adopted card writing as a specialty. The growth of this branch
of the sign painting trade has been remarkable. The demand for work of this
kind has increased so rapidly and unexpectedly that up to this time it has
been impossible to supplj' it without help from the sign painter, who, as a
rule, is not equipped for such work and does not cater to it. Those who have
taken up this ti'ade as a specialty are reaping a golden harvest.
Good card writers are extremely scarce. Nearly every city with 5,000
inhabitants, and upwards, will provide sufficient work to keep at leagt one, and
perhaps two, card writers eonstanth- employed. The real reason why the
merchant in the smaller cities does not use card signs to any great extent
is becau.sc he cannot get them quickly and for a reasonable price. Mo.st large
department .stores and like institutions now employ steadily one or more
show card experts. To have a value, both in an artistic and a commercial
sense, card signs must be done neatly, legibly and very rapidly. ' The follow-
ing pages contain instructions for the use of the latest tools, brushes, mate-
rials and methods used in modei-n show card writing, starting with the various
Show Card Alphabets. — The selection of appropriate alphabets for show-
card writing is tlie first thing that should be considered by the novice. To
give a proper realization of the importance of this .subject, we will analyze
it from a strictly business point of view. Signs may be properly divided into
10 THE AET OF SHOW CARD WRITING
two divisions; namely, the temporary sign and the permanent sign. Signs of
a temporary nature command little remuneration, as compared with the other
kind. However, the profit from the cheap or temporary sign, in proportion
to the outlay of time and material, as a rule exceeds the returns from the
Card signs are classified as temporary signs. They may also be termed
"cheap" signs, by which is meant signs that cost but little money. There-
fore, the quicker they are executed, the greater the profit. This, of course,
is also true of all other kinds of signs; but, when you consider that the sum
received for an equal amount of work on almost any other surface is four
or five times greater, you will better under.stand why speed is an absolute
necessity. For this reason the style of letters used for card writing should
be carefully chosen. The brush strokes in a given piece of work must be
reduced to the minimum. Every extra stroke requires extra time. Thus,
the letter that can be executed with the least number of brush strokes is the
style best adapted for any work of a cheap or temporary nature, regardless
of the surface on which the letter is placed.
That some card writers, either through ignorance or lack of proper
training, fail to realize this is evidenced by their work, some of which often
contains styles such as the Half Block, Full Block, etc., none of which
should ever be used where speed is essential.
As just stated, the number of strokes necessary to execute the letters must
be reduced to the least possible number. This suggests at once the use of
such styles as may be executed with single strokes, or what are better known
as " 07ie-siroke" letters. One-stroke does not mean that the entire letter may
be executed with a single stroke of the brush, but that each individual part
of the letter should be executed with a single stroke. For instance, the vertical
strokes of the letter 77 (Fig. 21) may each be drawn with one stroke and the
center horizontal stroke likewise. This is the full meaning of the term one-
Now let us state again, as emphatically as possible, that any style of
alphabet, the letters of which have square corners (such as the Half Block),
are totally unsuited for rapid execution. "With a little practice you will learn
that a round, or curved sweep or stroke can be drawn more rapidly and with
much greater accuracy than a straight line. The Egyptian S, for instance,
requires but three strokes by the one-stroke method, while to make the same
letter in the Half Block style requires exactly twenty-eight strokes. I call
attention to this startling comparison to add emphasis to the importance of
this .subject. Any style of alphabet, therefore, having the greatest number
of curved strokes and the lea.st number of superfluous embellishments, is best
adapted for rapid execution.
Show cards do not, by any means, comprise all of the signs that are
classified as "temporary." For instance, there is the cloth and oil-cloth sign.
both of which are frequently used, and nine times out of ten these carry letters
the majority of which should belong to the one-stroke variety. It is unneces-
sary to go to extremes with reference to one-stroke letters. It would be an
SHUW CARD LETTEEING 11
example of poor judgment, or rather, poor discrimination, to execute an entire
inscription with single stroke lettering. The sign will always look better if
a line or word of "finished" lettering is interspersed here and there. One
line or word of neat, nicelj' executed letters will draw attention from the
one-stroke letters and give to the sign as a whole, a clean, attractive appear-
ance. To make this more comprehensive, I will call your attention to Fig. 54,
wherein you will note the word "HATS" is executed in the usual finished
manner. The remainder of the lettering is done in the one-stroke Italic style.
You will find many other examples illustrating this point.
Classification of Show Card Alphabets. — The aphabets especially con-
structed for speed pnri)oses are as follows :
1. MODERN ITALIC (lower case) 7. DRAFTSMEN'S STYLES
2. JiIODERN FULL BLOCK 8. OLD ENGLISH
3. BRADLEY TEXT 9. TUSCAN BLOCK
4. HEAVY SCRIPT 10. EGYPTIAN
5. ITALIC SCRIPT 11. JIODERN ITALIC (upper ca.se)
6. ARCHITECT'S PEN STROKE 12. ANTIQUE ROMAN
The last three alphabets in the list — Egyptian, ilodern Italic (upper case)
and the Antique Roman — are classified among the finished alphabets suitable
for show card work, about which we will have more to say hereafter. The
Antique Roman is not in any sense considered a one-stroke style, but a fairly
correct duplicate of the Egyptian and Modern Italic (upper ease) may be
executed by this method with the use of proper brushes. These three styles
should be used almost exclusively when a "finished" letter is desired. The
word finished in this sense means just what the word implies,' that is, a letter
that is correctly formed and proportioned showing all details and characteris-
tics and omitting none of the component parts as is often done in one-stroke
execution. Almost every inscription contains one or more lines or words
that should be prominently displayed, and in most cases these lines or words
should be executed in a style Ijelonging to the finished variety. A correctly
proportioned line of lettering will give a poor sign an air of respectability and
serve to redeem what would otherwise be a very ordinary piece of work. It is
essential, therefore, that you should not only become familiar with the one-
stroke styles but also learn the correct formation of the styles recommended
for fini.shing purposes.
Lower-Case Letters. — The lower case letters of the various alphabets
should be used almost exclusively for card work. Keep this constantly in
mind. By comparing the formation of the capital letters with that of the
lower-case you will find the reason almost instantly. You will note that the
number of strokes required to execute a majority of the lower-case letters
is less in every instance. This is particularly true of the lettei's, a, h, e, f,
h, I, m, n, etc., all of which may be executed with from one to three strokes
less than for the same letters in the upper-case style.
12 THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
Fur the purpose of showing to a better advantage the particular
(lualilieations of each of the show card alphabets, they will be considered
individually in the order given.
Modem Italic (Lower Case). — This style is one of the handsomest and
most practical alphabets ever designated for rapid execution. It resembles
somewhat both the Italic and Full Block styles. The width of the body
of the letter is uinform throughout, thus conducing to speed, and the spurs
are square cut and placed with few exceptions only on the upper extremity
of the letters. The lower extremities are finished plain, in much the same
manner as the Egyptian. It is extremely legible although somewhat
This is the alphabet above all others that you should first master.
Although but recently designed (by the writer), it has jumped into popular
favor like magic and is now used by most i;p-to-date card writers. The
reason for this is very apparent. Its construction is beautiful. The letters
are not designed along rigid, inflexible lines, but, on the contrary, allow of
great freedom in the general formation, as is evident by the several vari-
ations of the ditferent letters shoiAai on tbe alphabet plate (No. XVI). It
is governed by no rule but that of uniformity, thus removing every chance
for criticism by the iminitiated. It is extremely gi'aceful. It is easy to
execute because it slants to the right. It may be executed with fewer
strokes than any known one-stroke style, with the possible exception of
the Italic Script. When you have mastered this style you will be prepared
for any emergency wherein speed is absolutely necessary.
In Fig. 1 is shown each individual stroke necessary in the construction
of this alphabet. The strentgh of the shades indicates the order in which
they should be made. For instance, the lightest shade is stroke No. 1 and
the darkest shade is the last or finishing stroke. The dart indicates the
direction of the stroke. In this work, you will find similar plates to illus-
trate the brush strokes for all the one-stroke and finished alphabets used
in card writing. The idea of showing the various strokes in shades of
different strength is original and will prove to be of great assistance.
Modern Full Block. — This alphabet might also be appropriately called the
upper case or capital letters of the IModern italic (lower case). Every-
thing that has been said of the former may be .fittingly applied to this
alphabet. You will note that the general proportions of the letters are
almost the same as the Round Full Block and that the spur is identical with
the exception that it is somewhat extended here and there. You will
also observe that the various eccentric twists and curves in some of the
letters do not. in any way, afi'ect their legibility. This is because they are
not used as component parts of a letter, but rather as embellishments to
relieve the plain appearance and give a modern, or stylish, touch.
The letters of the Round Full Block alphabet, owing to their uniform
proportion and many square cut corners (necessary to foi'm the spurs), are
SHOW CAED LETTERING
THE ART OF SHOW CARD AVRITING
entirely unfit in their correct normal form for rapid execution; but spe-
cially prepared brushes have made it possible to produce a very close
imitation by the one-stroke method. To again illustrate the diflference in
favor of the one-stroke method, Fig. 2 shows the application of the one-
stroke principle to the letter E. Tin;; character, if lettered in the usual
eoi'rect manner, requires seventeen separate strokes of the brush, while but
six strokes are necessary with the one-stroke method. Of course, it is not
always possible to execute an absolutely correct letter in this manner; but,
for show card or temporary work this is not strictly essential. What is
desired is a clean, neat, "snappy" effect, rather than a close attention
to detail. This alphabet gives a very good idea of the liberties that may
be taken with the fundamental styles without in any way affecting their
usefulness or legibility.
The novice should be very careful, when using this style, not to com-
bine ill one word or line, too many of the lettei's ha\'ing eccentric eliarac-
SHOW CAED LETTEEING
teristics. As most begimiers have but a vague idea of pleasing eoinbiiia-
tioiis of modern letters, we will again show by illustration the exact mean-
ing of the point. Fig. 3 shows a combination of letters, each of which is
an exact duplicate of those shown on plate No. XVIII. The effect is poor
because the ornate features are overdone. There are too many curves and
fancy additions in a limited area. Now, by making the change shown in
Fig. 4 where some of the fancy flourishes have been omitted, you will
observe that the word is not only more legible, but the artistic appearance
is also much improved. Thus you see how easy it is to overdo.
Careful discrimination is necessary when the modern styles are used.
A modern style may always be used appropriately as a "starting" letter,
which means the first letter in a line or word. The Modei'n Full Block
alphabet and the Modern Italic styles comprise all the fancy or eccentric
letters necessary to give any piece of work an up-to-date appearance. These
two styles, if used in conjunction with the plainer alphabets, will produce
excellent results. Few, if any, deviations should ever be made fi'om the
normal form of the remainder of the show-card alphabets.
PR I VATE
Fig. 5 shows a line of lettering the oi"iginal of which was made with
the flat brush illustrated in P^ig. 6 by the one-stroke method. You will be
surprised at the speed with which these letters can be made after a little
practice. Fig. 7 shows a pretty effect obtained by the use of this lettei-
combined with the lower case letter of the same style. Fig. 8 illustrates
the individual brush strokes of the letters of the Modern Full Block
Bradley Text. — This alphabet very closely resembles the Old English style.
It is exceptionally handsome and appropriate for any part of an inscription
except display lines or words. It may be executed very rapidly with either
a shading pen or flat chisel-edge brush, and shows to the best advantage
when used for small lettering. It requires but a glance to observe that each
component part of each letter must be executed with a single stroke if speed
is to be obtained. To execute this style in the same manner as required for
finished lettering would require so much time as to render it unfit for card
16 THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
work. The capital letters of this alphabet should never be combined. This
means that the placing together of two, three or more capital letters as in
Fig. 9 is not allowable. Don't forget this, for it applies with equal force
to all alphabets whose capital letters are eccentric in form. To prove and
emphasize this injunction, note Fig. 10, wherein the capital is used only as
a ".starting" letter. You may draw your own deductions as to which
example presents the more satisfactory appearance.
The above rule or caution may bo put in a more simplilied form as follows:
SiViv combinr two or more capital letters of any fancij
or modern style. Use tliem only as a starting letter or
iclicrc capital letters are appropriate.
NOTE. — Combining the capital letters of the standard
styles, such as the Roman, Full ISlock, Half Block, etc.,
is iiiit onlji li gifimati . hnl, in mf)st cases, advisable.
Fig. 11 illustrates the iiuliviclnal l)i'i'.sli strokes of the letters of the
Bradley text alphabet.
Heavy Script. — Scrijit (Heavy) letti-ring is often employed with good
effect to relieve the moiintony of straight lines and to give jiromincnce to
certain words in an inscription as illustrated in Fig. 12. This stjie is espe-
cially adapted for one-stroke execution. The heavy "swell" which occurs in
the body of each letter can be executed very easily and quickly after a little
SHOW CAED LETTERING
THE AKT OF SHOW CAKI) AMflTIXC!
jn-actice and with the use of the proper brush. Just a litth^ experienee will
demonstrate that they may he drawn with a brush almost as rapidly as with
a pen in writing.
In Fig. 13 is shown the manner of applying the one-stroke principle.
Notice that the a can be executed with two strokes; also the c, e, r and .s.
The rule referring to combination of capital letters also applies to this alpha-
bet. Generally, but one word or line of script lettering should be shown
in any inscription ; and, in no case, should this style be used exclusively
in a piece of work. Refer to Fig. l-t for detailed strokes in the letters of this
Italic Script (Lower Case). — The lower case letters of this style might
l)roperly be called abbreviated examples of the Spencerian Script alphabet.
By "abbreviated," 1 mean minus a large number of curves and artistic
"sweeps" necessary in the formation of the pure Script .style. The charac-
teristics are retained and the principles governing the genuine Script are
the same, the chief distinction being that the letters of the Italic Script are
not connected ; each occupies a space by itself the same as the Block styles.
The capital letters, with a few exceptions, are almost exact facsimiles of
the capitals of the Antique Roman style, the principal difference being that
each is slanted in harmony with the lower case letters. The spurs with
which they are finished makes it necessary to classify them as finished letters.
They will, therefore, be considered more fully under another head. The vari-
ous brush strokes necessary in the execution of the Italic Script are shown
in Fig, 1.5,
Architect's Penstroke, DraftsmaJi's Old English. — These three styles are
usually executed with a writing pen designed particularly for the purpose.
They are really pen. and not brush alphabets, although some of the styles
SHOW CARD LETTERING
THE AKT OF SHOW CARD WRITING
may be executed equallj- well with a brush. All of these styles belong to
the one-stroke class and are easily and quickly made. Fig. 16 shows a variety
of inscription.s combining these and other styles.
Tuscan Block. — This is another of the block alphabets Avhieh may be used
to splendid advantage for one-stroke work. The formation of this letter
is such as to |)eiiiiit the use of a flat brush like that required for the execu-
tion of the Kuuml Full Block. The letters of tho Tuscan Block alphabet are
formed almost exclusively with curves, which, as you have been told, are
characteristics that always mean a saving of time. In Fig. 17 you will find
examples showing the nice effect which may be obtained regardless of the
fact that the letters are not perfectly formed or constructed. This is one
SHOW CAKD LETTEEING
THE AKT OF SHOW CARD WRITING
SHOW CAED LETTEKING
^ont put off!
Do it now
ID est anitl largest
orgamaatioJ> in the
' ' T ' ' tSlO f T t T 1 1 T
THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
of the oue-stroke styles used very frequently by the sign painter. See Fig. 18
for detailed brush strokes of the Tuscan Block alphabet.
We have previously explained the meaning of the term finished. Any
letter correctly executed may be properly called a tinishd letter; but, as some
of the styles may be executed with more rapidity than others, we must be
careful to make a wise selection.
Antique Roman. — Most expert card writers employ the Antique Roman
almost exclusively for display purposes whenever the space will permit.
Don't overlook the significance of the .statement, "whenever the spate will
permit." Never try to crowd a letter into a space that will not permit it to
be correctly proportioned unless you use a style that is constructed for con-
densing. The selection of the Antique Roman for general use is a good one,
for it is not only very plain and handsome, but may, with a little practice,
be executed with much gi'eater speed than any of the other standard styles
with the exception of the Egyptian. This style like the Roman should not
be condensed to any great extent ; therefore, as stated above, it should b(>
used only where the space will permit an almost normally proportioned
This and the Modern Italic (upper case) are the only .styles appropriate
for show-card work that cannot properly be classed as one-stroke alphabets.
In Pig. 19 is shown the number of strokes required to execute the letter E
(Antique Roman) and also the order in which they should be drawn. The
vertical stroke is Number 1 and should be executed with one stroke of the
brush. The horizontal hair-lines are next in order, after which the spurs
SHOW CARD LETTERING
26 THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
are added. The same principle of execution should be applied to every lettci-
of this alphabet.
Pig. 20 shows to what extent it may be condensed and elongated. You
will note that there is a wide dift'erence in the proportions of tlie letter.s
constituting these two examples, and that the etifVct is equally good in either
Egyptian. — The Egyptian alphabet is almost an exact counterpart of the
Spur Egyptian .style, the principal difference being the addition of the small
pointed spurs to the latter. To execute the spur recpiires much more time.
This is, therefore, a good argument against the freciuent use of the Spur
Egyptian for card jniriioses. It is jiossible to execute a very exact duplicate
of the Egyptian .style by the one-stroke method, as illustrated in Fig. 21.
You should practice the formation of this style until you are able to
execute the vertical and horizontal parts with a single stroke. Try to finish
the extremities of the stroke without showing a ragged edge. To prevent an
uneven edge, the brush must be full of color. In the figure, you will observe
that only a limited number of strokes are required for the execution of the
SHOW CARD LETTEKING
THE AET OF SHOW CAED WAITING
various letttei-s. For instance, but three strokes are required for the A,
tliree for the B, two for the C, two for the B, ;uid so on, thus making them
admirably adapted, in every way, to rapid execution.
This style has only one objectionable feature; viz., it is somewhat clumsy
in appearance. This is due to the uniform width of the body and the
absence of artistic characteristics. It is the very plainest style known to the
letterer, and this is a point in its favor, for legibility is the very first thing
that should always be considered in the selection of styles for the average
inscription. Egyptian letters executed by the one-stroke method, are some-
times called "plug" or "stump" styles.
Modern Italic (Upper Case). — The capital letters of the Italic Script are
so nearly like thi)Ke of the Antique Roman as to need no extended explanation.
As you have been told, slanted letters may be executed much quicker than
the upright letters. This is a strong point in favor of this alphabet. The
spurs are omitted at several of the extremities also, making it possible to
execute the letters more rapidly. This is particularly true of the letters
.1, B, K, R and W. This alphabet (Plate XVTI) has been pronounced one
of the handsomest styles ever created.
With a thorough knowledge of the one-stroke .styles and the three so-called
SHOW CARD LETTERING
30 THE AET OF SHOW CARD WRITING
■'finished alphabets," you are in a position to compete with anyone and obtain
results equal to those of the experienced and accomplished card writer.
Show Card Numerals
A few words of advice with reference to numerals. But a glance at the
work of the expert card writer is required to observe that the figures of the
Antique Roman style are used almost exclusively for card work. They are
preferable to all other styles. The chief reasons for this are the same as those
given to explain the popularity of the Antique Roman alphabet. Any style
of numeral suggested by good judgment may be used, however, for the reason
that the figures constitute, as a rule, a very small part of the inscription, and
when qiven prominence should, in nearly every instance, be executed in a
"finished" manner. In Fig. 22 is shown a combination of one-stroke and
Antique Roman styles to illustrate the point with reference to the numerals.
Fig. 23 illustrates the brush strokes in the numerals of the Antique Roman
There are just foui'teen different strokes necessary tu t\w format icm at any
given style of letter or scroll. They are as follows:
Right vertical stroke.
Left vertical stroke.
Upper horizontal stroke.
Lower horizontal stroke.
Right and left slanted stroke (right).
Right and left slanted stroke (left).
Right curved stroke.
Left curved stroke.
Compound curved stroke (right).
Compound curved stroke (left).
Upper semi-circle stroke.
Lower semi-circle stroke.
These strokes are illustrated, in the order named, in Fig. 'J-t. One or
more of these fourteen strokes enter into the construction of every style of
letter or scroll; therefore, once they are mastered, the path is thereafter easy.
Keep in mind the importance of plenty of practice. Constant exercise with
the brush will bring surprising results. Execute all kinds of examples of
your own conception.
Always make your brush strokes continuous. Avoid .short, "choppy"
strokes. A little practice will demonstrate that a line, either curved or
straight, can be drawn much more exact with a moderately rapid, steady
stroke, than when the movement is slow and hesitating. Always begin the
formation of any letter by executing the vertical strokes — the left vertical
stroke first (finished letters) and the right vertical stroke next. The correct
formation and proportion of the letter is the first thing to be accomplished,
after which add the spurs or other peculiarities, which, as a rule, do not affect
the proportion. Before beginning the brush exercises illustrated in Fig. 24,
commit to memory the following rules:
(1) Do not work with the point of the brush. Use the
side of the brush and keep the hair spread as much as possiible.
This is not only the easiest way to draw a correct line, but helps
to fill in the letter as you go.
THE AKT OF SHOW CAKL) WKITING
(2) Always begin the formation of a letter by fii'st exe-
cuting the vertical strokes.
(3) The spurs are what give the letter character and tiinsh
and should therefore be executed last.
(•4) A moderately I'apid, steady stroke is more desirable
and will insure better results than a slow, hesitating movement.
(5) When making a connection; i. e., joining two brush
strokes as illustrated in Fig. 25, do not l)egin exactly at the
stopping point (A) but begin a short distance back of, or above
the preceding stroke and gradually spread the hair until you
reach the point from which you desire to continue.
(6) Always use a brush large enough to hold sufficient
color to execute the vertical strokes without recharging.
The brush should be held between the thumb and first finger firmly but
lightly, in much the same position as a pen or pencil, — not stiff or rigid, but
so as to allow the handle of the brush to roll between the fingers when neces-
sary, as in the execution of a curve. Try to maintain a uniform pressure
unless a "swell" is desired. In this case, first place the point of the brush
to the surface, increase the pressi;re gradually until you have reached the
required width of the stroke, and then decrease the pressure until the brush
comes to a point at the termination of the stroke. At the beginning of j'our
brush movement, draw the lines slowly and continuously. Do not allow thr
movement to become jerky.
The object is to execute a .straight, iniwavering line on the .side of the
stroke that represents the finished part of the letter. Pay no heed to the
other side of the stroke. This rule cannot be followed when one-stroke work
is being done. In this case, both sides of the stroke must be straight and
THE AKT UF SHOW CARD WRITING
uniform. One-stroke work requires an even pressure on the brush constantly,
with the exception of the Script styles in which the "swell" occurs.
After you have become reasonably adept with the vertical strokes, try the
horizontal strokes. You will find these much more difBcult. Practice them
over and over and do not become discouraged if the results are not what you
anticipate. Next, practice the curves and compound strokes, not forgetting
the fact that your object is to execute all of the brush exercises with a single
stroke. Keep the brush well filled with color so as to avoid ragged, uneven
edges. If the color is too thin, or the brush is too full, it will spread beyond
the outline of the letter when applied.
The color must be the proper consistency — not too thick nor too thin. If
it is too thin, the hair of the brush will become "wobbly." If the color is
too thick, it will "pull" and refuse to flow freely, resulting in an imperfect
line. Dipping the bru.sh in the color is not all that is required before apply-
ing it to the sui'face. It is necessary that the color in the brush should be
evenly distributed through the hairs, so as to have as much color in the center
of the brush as on the outside. After yon dip your brush into the color place
it on a palette, and "work" or wiggle it back and forth, turning it to the
right and left alternately several times, after which draw it gently toward
you on one side. The side resting on the palette should now be applied to
the surface. The brush should be charged with color frequently. In order
to acquire confidence, it is necessary to work rapidly. Do not be over-careful.
Start in boldly, just as though you were an expert. Practice faithfully.
Follow instructions closely. Do not e.xpeet to master any part of the instruc-
tions without conscientious and honest effort.
Position of the Brush, — The brush should be held in the hand in the
position shown in Fig. 26. Allow your two lower fingers to rest on the arm-
rest. This is the position of the brush for the beginning of the vertical
strokes. As the .stroke is continued toward the bottom it will be necessary to
contract the thumb and draw all the fingers toward the palm of the hand as
shown in Fig. 27 so that, by the time you reach the bottom, the brush will be
in a perpendicular position. The.se strokes require a movement of the fingers
only. To execute the horizontal strokes requires a movement of the wrist.
Hold the brush in the same manner as shown in Fig. 26 and move the hand
from left to right without changing the position of the fingers. The right and
left slanted strokes are executed in the same manner as the vertical strokes.
36 THE AKT OF SHOW CARD WRITING
The right aud left curved strokes require a movement of the fingers only.
After j-ou have mastered these strokes, you will find it comparatively easy
to execute the remainder of the strokes. Practice all brush strokes first vfith
a No. 6 brush. After you have become accustomed to this size, try a No. 8
and then a No. 10 and so on. The larger the bru.sh, the greater the speed.
Thus you should cultivate the use of a brush that will execute the vertical
strokes of the letter without refilling.
Oblique and Slanted Lettering'. — A very pleasing variation in the appear-
ance of a piece of win-k may Ije obtained by slanting some lines in an inscrip-
tion, either to the right or left at a uniform angle of about 60 degrees. In
no ease is it advisalile to slant a combination of extremely ornamental or
eccentric letters. Slanted letters are sometimes used to emphasize, or call
])articular attention to a certain word or line. Letters .slanted to the right
can also be executed in much less time than the upright letters. This is
because, in making all upright strokes, the brash is drawn from the right to
the left, toward ilic Icttrrer, as in writing. That this is the most natural and
free-hand movement can be quickly demonstrated.
Utensils.— The best workmen always use the liest tools. An old saying
runs something like this :
"A Good Workman Needs Pew Tools."
This was, perhaps, intended to mean that a good workman could accom-
plish more with inferior tools than his less adejit brother, for it is a well
laiown fact that most skilled artisans are exceedingly particular about the
things needed in their work. Good brushes, good colors, good materials of all
kinds are absolutely essential ; for, not only do tliey conduce to speed, but they
help to preserve a sunny temperament and also make it possible to obtain
maximum results with minimum exertion. My advice is to surround yourself
with the very best tools and materials obtainable. The best cost little as
compared with the cost of tools needed by the members of most other trades.
The card writer is fortunate in needing but few tools and materials in the
execution of his work. At the start it is not nccessai'y to buy (tU the various
things reciuired to produce unique and odd effects. The following list of
materials includes everything that is absolutely essential for ordinary work:
One No. 4 Red Sable Show Card Brush.
One No. 6 Red Sable Show Card Brush.
■ One No. 10 Red Sable Show Card Brush.
One No. 12 Red Sable Show Card Brash.
One T Square.
One Straight Edge.
One Set Solid Marking Pens Nos. Vs and l^.
One Set Shading Pens.
One Bottle Black Shading Ink.
One Bottle Red Slinding Ink.
BRUSH MANIPULATION 37
One Compass (with pencil attachment).
One Pair Large Shears.
One Jar Aqua (Water) Color, Black.
One Jar Aqua (Water) Color, White.
One Jar Aqua (Water) Color, Blue.
One Jar Aqua (Water) Color, Yellow.
One Jar Aqua (Water) Color, Red.
One Backage Gold Lettering Bronze.
One dozen Soennecken Pens, assorted sizes.
One Soennecken double end pen holder and ink retainer.
One Soft Lead Pencil.
One Box Charcoal.
One Sponge Rubber.
One Half Dozen Thumb Tacks.
One Bottle Mucilage.
One or two dry colors.
The cost of all the articles enumerated above (cardboard excepted), if
purchased from the Detroit School of Lettering, will not exceed if!! 2.00. Thus,
very little capital is necessary to begin work. Eqiiipped with these tools and
materials, you are in a position to execute card signs for any ordinary pur-
pose. Later on. you may find it necessary to add several other tools, such as
the Air Pencil, Air Brush, etc., in order to keep pace with the times. The list
above will suffice for all kinds of plain work.
Ann Rests. — Cardboard signs, unlike the average sign, can be lettered
to the best advantage and with the greatest speed by being laid fiat on a
slightly inclined surface as shown in Fig. 28. There is one very good reason
why this method is preferable, i. e., the brush is held in a perpendicular posi-
tion, thus permitting the color to flow freely and naturally. For this purpose
use a table of convenient height, having a top about 3 by -4 or 5 feet.
The top is sometimes arranged in such a manner as to allow raising or
lowering to any desired slant. For the purpose of steadying the hand in
which the brush is held the arm-rest is sometimes used (see Fig 26 and
The use of the arm-rest is not recommended except in rare eases. How-
ever, a few years ago most card-writers used the arm-rest on all classes of
work. The bridge or rest is made from a strip of smooth wooil 1 inch hy 214
inches by 36 inches. W^ith a small nail fasten a block at each end, 1 inch by
2t4 inches by 2V2 inches. Sand-paper edges, and you are ready to work.
We call your attention to the bridge because it comes in handy sometimes in
executing feature lettering, that is, the large display lines usually drawn in
a finished style. The card-writer should make it a point to woi-k directly over
his work on the card itself. Experts but rarely use the bridge or arm-rest.
they prefer the natural way to work, that is. resting the hand directlv on the
THE AKT UF SH()A\ CARD AVEITING
card surface, the same position as for writing. Most card-writers execute
their work in a standing position or, for a rest, use a high stool. Fig. 28
shows the natural position of the hand resting directly on the card surface.
Show Card Brushes
The brush is tlu- first and most important tool with which you should
become familiar. Ked Sable lettering brushes, with handles about six inches
long, securely fitted into nickel or copper ferrules, are the kind all experts
use and ai'e, therefore, the kind reconunended. Sable brushes are the only
kind that can be used to advantage in water color. Camel's hair brushes soon
lose their "spring" and elasticit.^- when they come in contact with water.
Sable bi'ushes, on the other hand, are not in the least afi'eeted by water. With
proper care, they will outlast brushes of any other character, and the work
that you can do with them will be clean and free from ragged edges. For
average purposes a set of five, comprising the numbers 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12, is
sufficient. Although these brushes, in their normal form, are pointed, they
can be manipulated to do all kinds of one-stroke work.
Card brushes .sold by dealers everywhere are fitted with handles about
ten inches long. We consider this length a nuisance and, therefore, reduce
the length of the handles in all brushes to six inches. If you purchase the
long handled kiiul, we advise cutting off about four inches. A stvle of brush
wliicli we have designed is recoiiiinended. It is made in 10 sizes, viz., Nos.
3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12. 14, 16, 18 and 20. P'ig. 30 shows this copper ferrule brush.
Note the perfectly square top on each brush, resulting in a square start of
every stroke. Fig. 29 shows the new Speed Ball pens which are taken up
later in the text.
Care of Brushes. — Brushes are your most valuable tools and should bl-
eared for accordingly. They should always be thoroughly cleansed after using
by rinsing in clean water and laid in a flat position, or stood on end iiair up,
until needed again. Never stand the bru.sh so that the weight of the handle
rests on the point of the haii's. Never allow your brushes to dry with color
'""kittle Wizard of Lettercraft'
snuare finish ^^izE of strokesi
M?l M02 M»J N?4 N?5 _
i: i: niilOj
ill them. By observing these few precautions, the life of your brushes may
be greatly prolonged and they will always be ready for immediate use.
The Possibilities of the Lettering- Brush. — The late Wm. Hugh Gordon
discusses the possibilities of the leltcring brush and gives some valuable
pointers which I believe will prove very valuable to all readers of this book.
"There is a logical reason for doing certain things in the manner pre-
scribed by those who have practiced these things successfully.
"To attain the highest degree of proficiency in working with tools, the
operator must first learn to eliminate the difficulties arising from misdirected
"There is no tool made but what has its specific limitations even when
manipulated by the most proficient operator or mechanical means.
"The limitations increase in greater ratio with each degree of misapplied
human as well as mechanical energy.
THE AET OF SHOW CARD AVKITING
"lu i)oint of illustration, some energetic individual who never drove a
tack may declare 'Gimme the tools and I'll build a boat.'
" 'Gimme the paint and brushes rnd I'll paint a sign, if I eau get the
letters to copy from.'
"Herein we must credit the ambition, largely egotistical; but when the
misdirected energy is applied the result is liable to be disappointing. The
best tools in the world do not make a workman, which reminds me of a storv
told about Vanderloaf, of Spokane. A party dropped into his shop one
afternoon, one of the 'Seekers' variety. Van, who is a past master in the art
of lettering, happened to be working on a nice job. The visitor watched him
for a while, then remarked: 'Gee, but that's a dandy brush you've got.'
'Yes,' retorted Van, 'but did you notice how smooth the paint works?' "
Getting at the Seat of Trouble. — "Any mechanic is liable to have diffi-
culties thrust upon him by the use of unrelialile tools of his craft. However,
if he is a good mechanic and understands tools he will (|uickly determine what
the trouble is and whether it can be remedied or not.
"It seems that there is more complaint about the unreliability of letter-
ing brushes than the tools of all other crafts combined, with the possible
exception of razors, which have likewise a great deal to do with the action
(and pull) of the hair.
"The average sign writer can get better results from the average bru.sh
than any other branch of lettercrafters. Why? Simply because he applies
the color to any given surface with the brush at right angles to that surface.
This permits of a cleaner stroke, a more even width on rounding curves, and
cleaner terminals, both on the start and end of a stroke. The end of a stroke
is called the pick-up, conseqiiently, if a brush cuts a good clean pick-up, the
BRUSH MANIPULATION 41
letter requires less pateliiiig or retouching, which is a time saver. Some
brushes will have a tendency to cut a clean even stroke at the starting point
but have a ragged pick-up. Another may have both a good cut start and
pick-up but will refuse to cut a clean even width line or curved stroke. This
is more noticeable in small than in large size brushes. In any event, the start,
the stroke and the pick-up are accomplished better and with less effort where
the brush is manipulated at right angles with the surface to be lettered on.
Methods of Handling Brush. — "Most all sign writers use either a mahl
stick or bridge or use the left hand rest on lettering of ordinary size such as
door and window work, outlining plain or gold letters, etc. On large work,
such as wall bulletins, etc., the mahl stick may be disijensed with on account
of the big sweeping strokes necessary, but it will be noticed that the brush is
held far enough back on the handle to allow the .strokes to be made at right
angles with the surface. In other vvords, the brush points as nearly directly
at the surface as it is possible to hold it, especially on rounding any curves,
ovals or circular strokes or compound curves .such as appear in the letter 'S.'
"It will be noted that on all curved strokes, the brush handle must be
rolled in order to present an even width contact of the hair point of the
brush to the marking surface, otherwise there is bound to be a stroke of vary-
ing width which requires building up or remodeling. If the brush is not
pointing at right angles with the surface, but held on a slant, like a pen
staff, it is utterly impossible to roll the brush sufficiently to produce an even
width stroke on any letter containing curves, ovals or round elements, simply
because of the elbow or twist in the bend of the hair part of the brush when
"Up to a certain limit, the distance from the point at which a brush is
held decreases the speed attainable, but increases the control when lettering
over a stick, bridge or hand rest. For lettering free arm style or offhand,
a brush is held near the end of the handle. In lettering over a stick the
distance held from the point varies from three to six inches depending on the
size of the letters. However this distance is usually determined by the results
shown by the strokes produced by the brush, which usually has its peculiar
The Sign Writer and the Card Writer.— "The average sign writer has the
best of show card writers beaten to a standstill in point of mechanical excellence
of workmanship. The precision with which the sign writer manipulates a
brush admits of no defeat of purpose, simply because he applies his individual
efforts in proper conjunction with the maximum limitations of the brush and
colors with which he works.
"That is where the average .show card writer or student of lettering
defeats his purpose and in failing blames the brush. The main point of
difference between the methods employed by sign writers and show card
writers is that a sign writer works over a rest, holds his brush further back
from the point, consequently his woi-k is slower and the strokes more
42 THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
" Oil or japan colors do not How from the brush nor dry as quickly as
distemper or show card colors, but they have more pull, which tends to steady
"The show card writer works on a flat or slanting desk or drawing
board, does not work over a rest, but proceeds to manipulate a brush in the
same manner as holding a pen. normally a 45-degree slant. Here begins his
difficulty in modeling letters, caused by a wrong angle of bi'ush point contact
with the marking surface.
"When held at a normal pen angle the bru.sh cannot be rolled suf-
ficiently on the base of a curve unless the elbow is drawn away from the
body. The top stroke of a curve to the right is impossible with the bn;sh
held like a pen. A pen can be pushed, but a brush must be led, consequently
the necessity of holding the brush in a vertical or right angle position with
the plane or marking surface in order to effect a proper width contact of the
hair with the said marking .surface, whether it be flat, slanting or in a vertical
position as is a wall or door.
"Another thing, in working without a rest, by the so-called free hand,
the further back from the point a brush, pen or pencil is held, both control
and speed decrease in a like ratio. To demonstrate this fact, attempt to make
a stroke or letter with either brush, pen or pencil at various holding distances
from the point. It will be noticed the further up the handle is held, the
greater becomes the effort and a less degree of speed is being maintained.
Speed, Control and Efficiency. — "For the above reasons in order to attain
speed, control and the utmost efficiency in modeling small letters with a briish,
the short hold and vertical position of handle is absolutely necessary to the
methods of the show card writer, commercial artist or poster letterer who
expects to attain the delicate touch, masterly control, and perfection in model-
ing different styles of lettering in either common or out-of-the-ordinary use
in these lines of work, also to attain a sufficient degree of speed to make it
a financial proposition worthy of consideration.
"Do not confuse the methods of the sign writer with those of other
lettererafters. His methods are eminentl,y correct in the application thereof.
Other letterers who aspire to extreme speed and efficiency in brush manipu-
lation, working on a desk, without other rest but the wrist or fingers of the
brush hand, must endeavor to perfect a position of holding that will not
interfere with the correct mechanical or automatic action of the brush. Fail-
ing in this means a struggle with misdirected effort and no amount of prac-
tice will correct this measure above a mediocre point.
Placing a Limit on Effort. — "There are certain styles of letters which can
be made fairly good while operating a brush in the same manner and on the
same degree of slant on which a pen staff is normally operated, but this fact
again puts a limit on the efforts. The only limit to an efforrt should be as
near perfection as human endeavor will allow when unhampered by me-
BRUSH MANIPULATION 43
"The main point of the above comparisons between the methods used by
sign writers and show card writers or other letterers is this: The sign
writer, by reason of the nature of his work, applies the action of the brush
to the marking surface in the only possible way to get correct results. It is
not possible for the show card writer to follow the exact method employed
by the sign writer and attain the necessary speed, consequently something
must be sacrificed. He first dispenses with the mahl stick, bridge or left-hand
support. This brings his hand closer to the work and increases the speed,
but sacrifices a correct position of the bru.sh by allowing the handle to drop
back of the knuckle like a pen staff. This also takes all the natural action
out of the brush point, by changing the point of contact with the marking
surface, also precludes the possibility of modeling letters in diversified styles
properly and speedily. His individuality of style is limited to a certain
class of work that bears a close resemblance to the work of all other letterers
who work along the same lines. There is no chance of further excellence for
the simple reason that he has probbaly reached the limit possible by misusing
MaJdng the Brush Function Properly. — "The logical solution must then
be to adopt a method of holding the brush in position to function properly
without the use of a rest stick or bridge.
"The siare, speedy and correct operation of a brush may be attained
by lightly grasping the handle between the thumb and index finger, as close
to the hair as possible. Hold the brush in a nearly vertical, position, allowing
the hand and wrist joint to act as a sliding rest. Thus the operator can
effect the rolling of the brush in rounding all curves in the same manner
as the sign writer working over a rest. The short hold gives all the neces-
sary control at twice to three times the speed as where a long hold either free
hand or over a rest is used.
"In this manner the show card writer or any other lettercr who works
free hand on a flat or slanting desk is enabled to obtain the maximum
efficiency of the brush on all styles cf letters and strokes either on uprights,
horizontals, or curved line-s. Also, it v.-iM be found easier to fashion or model
letter styles that, by other methods of holding, seemed impossible or imprac-
tical on account of the time involved in the production.
"The average sign writer is expected to b? able to copy any style of let-
tering, freak signatures, trade marks, sketches of designs that he never
saw before, etc., and he can do it, and docs it. Tt'.s all in a day's work done
at a profit.
"Slip this class of work to the average show card writer and he will
climb a tree. Why? Simply because the average show card writer does not
use a brush in a manner calculated to get out of it all there is in it, .auto-
matically. Then 'He damns the brush,'
THii; ART OF SHU\^' CAED WEITING
I I I I I I I
Wold Fountain I . i i.
Pens Used. — "Tho pens used for show card work consist of sevei*al
varieties as follows:
"Speed Ball Pens. (Pictured in Pig. 29.)
"Shading Pen and ^Marking Pen.
"Wold Fountain Lettering Pen.
"All of these pens are illustrated in Fig. 31. The round writing pen
can be used only for very small lettering, the body of which does not exceed
in width the stroke that can be made by the pen. These pens can be
obtained in eleven si^^es. Before using the pen, its hardness must be removed.
The process is very simple, but must be carefully done or the pen will become
too soft. First piace the pen in a holder and then light an ordinary match
and hold the point of the pen in the flame three seconds and then dip it
quickly into water; after which dip it into your color.
"Round writing pens are best adapted for Old English letters about the
size shown in Fig. 32, where I have illustrated the strokes to show the order
in which they should be made. Fig. 35 shows the authors' latest pen alpha-
bet executed entirely with a No. 1 Soennecken pen or round writing pen.
The pen should be held as shown in Fig. 33. As often as necessary, dip the
pen into the fluid, being careful to shake off the surplus color to avoid blot-
ting. Now proceed to 'write' the letters in the manner illustrated. It will
be necessary to apply con.siderable pres.sure to the pen when the broad or
heavy strokes are executed, graduating or reducing the pressure for the fine
lines. Keep the whole of the pen point on the surface all the time, regardless
THE AKT OF SHOW CARD \\ KITING
of the width of the stroke. The principle is exactly the same as for ordi-
nary writing, where the pressure is graduated according to the width of the
stroke desired. Card pens are 'stubby' and less elastic than ordinary pens,
hence it is necessary to use a trifle more force. Pens should be cleaned fre-
quently to insure good results. Keep the pen clean by washing occasionally
48 THE AKT OF SHOW CARD WRITING
Ruling" Pens. — ' ' These pens are used exclusively to draw straight lines of
ditiVrent widths. The thickness of the line may be regulated by the thumb
screw that passes through the blades.
"They are very useful for drawing lines, especially on price tickets and
for underlining purposes. They are not filled by dipping them into the ink,
as most beginners suppose, but by passing a brush or ordinary pen-point,
loaded with ink, between the blades of the ruling pen, where the ink is
deposited to a depth of about one-quarter of an inch. If filled too full, they
will blot. The outside of the blades should be kept scrupulously clean. They
cannot be used successfully in a free-hand manner, but should be guided by
a straight-edge or a T square as shown in Fig. 34. Any kind of ink, water
color or liquid bronzes may be u.sed in ruling pens. When water colors or
bronzes are used, they should be thinned to the consistency of ink. Clean
the pen thoroughly when your work is finished, otherwise it will rust. If
the ink or color should refuse to flow freely, it may be started instantly by
applying the points of the blades lightly to the trngue. The pen must always
be held in a perpendicular position so that both blades will rest evenly on
the surface. This rule w'ill insure neat and accurate lines.
"The name 'Soennecken' is the inventor's name, and only pens bearing
this name are genuine. These pens are designed specially to execute what is
known as 'Round Writing.' This style of alphabet is now generally used
by the card or sign writer. It is a very handsome style, and for small let-
tering on price tickets is really beautiful. It is used almost exclusively by
draftsmen, architects, etc.. and there are many good reasons why it has
])ecome .so popular with the card writer.
"Round writing is so called because of its predominant round form. It
unites distinctness, beauty and ease of execution such as no other style can
pretend to posse.ss. I have not thought it necessary to give this style great
prominence in the alphabets of this cour.se for the reason that it is suitable
only for sma^l lettering. T have, however, illustrated the capital and lower
case letters in Plate No. XXTI and in Fig. 3.5 and have shown individual
strokes of each letter. Letters of this style, with the exception of the join-
ings, are exclusively formed by heavy strokes.
Shading" Pens. — "These pens are very serviceable for executing letters
ranging from one-quarter inch to three or four inches in height. They are
more popular, however, for very small lettering on price tickets. They derive
their name from the .style of the stroke which they make, as illustrated in
Fig. 36, wherein you will note that one stroke of the pen makes two distinct
"The color or shade that flows from the left side of the pen is always
considered the .shade. The part of the letter that is solid black is called the
main stroke, or 'body.'
Solid Marking Pens. — "The only difference between this pen and the
shadinii' ]>eii is that it makes a solid, opaque stroke without a shade as shown
ill i^'ig. 31. This stjle is a recent invention and is much preferred by modern
card writers, because of the absence of the shading feature. Both styles are
manipulated exactly the same. They may be used in the execution of the
Bradley Text, Old English, and Round Writing styles, to which they are
l^articularly adapted. By paying close attention to the following instrue-
tions, you will find that only a short time is required to learn to hand'e the
marking pen satisfactorily.
"Fig. 37 shows the correct position of the pen. The angle of io degrees
has been adopted as the standard position for the point of the pen. This
iingle may be varied more or less, but it must always be uniform in order
to have the heavy strokes the same width. The width of the strokes may be
decreased or increased by changing the angular position of the pen.
"The tvliole width of the point of the pen should always rest evenly
on the surface regardless of the direction in which the pen is moving. This
is the first important thing to remembei'. All fine lines or slanting strokes
are made by sliding the pen edgeways — either way — as shown in Fig. 37. All
wide strokes are made by drawing the pen straight downward. Curved lines
are made by sliding edgeways and around to the right, or left, and downward.
Hold the pen finnly, so that when looking down directly on the pen and
holder it will cover the line as shown in Fig. 37. The pressure on the pen
should be just sufficient to make the ink flow. Practice the strokes shown
in Fig. 38. beginning with the simple movements (a), after which practice
50 THE AKT OF SHOW CARD WRITING
(lie curved strokes (b). By a proper combination of these strokes, you can
i'orni any letter that can be executed with the pen. It is filled the same
as the ruling- pen described on page 42, i. e., by passing a small brush, laden
with ink, between the blades of the pen.
Methods and Mediums for the Show Card Writer, With Pertinent Ex-
amples. — "Aside from the individual ciualifications as a letterer the chief
rccjuisite of the show card writer is 'speed,' and to this end, letter styles have
been and are still being devised that can be made fast enough to accomplish
the amount of work tiiat the present-day craftsman is called upon to com-
plete in the average day's work.
"If the show card man still copied the styles and methods of lettercrafters
in producing Iiand k'ttering, it would require the services of four or five
workmen to accomplisli in the same time that which is now done by one.
"The evolution of reading characters (letters) is mainly responsible for
the record-breaking bursts of speed displayed by the show card man. Whereas
most of our predecessors used carefully drawn or modeled 'upper case' or
capital letters in most all of their copy. We of today have by necessity
devised certain styles of lower ease or small letters that permit the greater
speed in execution. These changes have occurred gradually, and for the
most part their individuality in appearance is caused by the mediums employed
in their production. For the major part of this work, certain .styles of letter-
ing brushes, pens and other materials have been devised which are specially
adapted to the rapid semi-automatic rendering of the elementary principles
involved in these styles. These tools, in turn, have proven the logical possi-
l)ilities of designing new lettei- styles or making acceptable modifications of
existing styles both of type and hand lettered origin.
"The study of letter forms based on various classifications such as
Printer's Gothic. Roman, Italic, Text and various others should receive careful
iittention by the student. The ability to distinguish these classifications in
devising a style be.st adapted to certain needs is one of the prime requisites.
"The ability to draw these characters does not qualify one as a letterer,
especially from the show card writer's viewpoint, which is 'Qiiantity first.'
PEN AVOEK 51
"There are at least half a dozen methods of producing letters by hand.
Of these, but two can be considered, namely free-hand modeled and written.
"Why the maker of show cards is called a show card writer, is from the
fact that most of his lettering is really written, so called because it is pro-
duced by the single stroke method much the same as writing, regardless of
whether a brush or pen is used or whether the characters are slant or vertical.
"A capable workman must be able to rapidly produce a fairly good
resemblance to either upper or lower case Roman, Block, so-called Printer's
Gothic, or Italics, with numerals to match either case, by the single stroke
method. Also he must be able to do this with either a brush or lettering pen.
depending on the size of the space to be occupied by the copy. Lettering
pens can be used with much greater facility than brushes, due to the fact
that to .successfully and rapidly manipulate a brush one must accustom him-
self to the absence of the feel of contact with the writing surface, which is
apparent in using a pen or other devices of a like character.
"A selection of lettering pens for the smaller work is of vital issue.
Those of the stub variety called round writing pens are generally known
by trade names, and all have their pai-ticular use. Of these we have the
Sonnecken and Hunt's No. 400 line, of which there are eleven sizes, each
particularly adapted to Text styles of lettering, also Italic marking alphabets
and single-stroke Roman. These pens being of a flat chisel shape, produce
heavy down strokes of absolutely even width, light or hair lines or lateral
up strokes from left to right and on the horizontals. Used the full width
of the larger sizes, it is impossible to condense the spacing and give the
letters full weight values, but if sufficient space is available in which to make
full round ovals and other oval elements, a beautiful copy can be made with
"For pens that produce even width strokes throughout in production of
bold face display lettering, these three styles of the speedball, round, oblong
and square points, each fitted with fountain retainers, may be used more suc-
cessfully by the beginner or amateur than most other styles. It has been
remarked that anj'one who can letter with a pencil can operate these pens.
"Specimens of the work done with the three dilf eren styles of speedball
pens are indicated in the accompanying illustrations in reduced size. Plate 1,
made with a No. 1 style B pen, size of original 11x14. Plate 2, 11x14,
numerals 3 and 4 style A pen with white ink on black cardboard, size of
original 12x20. Plates Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 show the work of the new style C
"It has an oblong shape, turned up point which makes a broad down
stroke and a narrower horizontal or lateral stroke. The work of style C is
the closest imitation of brush work at a remarkable degree of speed.
"WM. II. GORDON."
Wold Fountain Shading and Marking' Pen.— The Wold Interchangeable
lettering pen is a radical departure from the ordinary lettering pens,
although the .same make and style of nibs are used. It eliminates the paint
THE ART OF SHOW CAEI) AVEITING
PLAIN GOTHIC LETTERS
made with "style B"Speedball
abed efgh ij kl m nopq rstu
IS called to th,e
t^e xootk ciofue
\x)ltL "S Wle C"
S p eectoa.!!-
TXe Si)c<2^iia]] is "ue
Oriflind! dnurican Speed
6(ZK- Gordon \Gcoraii Pat
- now about ^our 9p©Ga .
, — about how much time do you
' lequiie to turn out a first class
job of lettering-a menu or floor
directory, size 30^40 with a
heading and double colume of
letteringf- say. fifty two items
and prices -a line border etc.to
cost the customer about 4 2.50
Can you make H.OO an hour on such work.
I using a brush on theentire job in
order to give the customer a bold
face letter of a legible character ?
/'Must be readable at a ^
\ distance of twenty feet. ^
Sack jots are called "Sticliers"-
and at tke prevailing^ prices
a slioxx) cafd ^writer must be
a fast ^x)orker to make xoag'es.
' ^ka SbojoAhall httmngpms
\X)ill helj) 3/0U tufa the trick-
better^ and in less time-fhaa
xcith a brush or aaj^ other
pea ,or letteriag- deuice^
Three St^/Zcs- A- Band O Each Stjlk
comes m 5- difftrayit Sizes — -^
'IlLeI)ctfoit Schooiy Letteriag:
54 THE ART OF SHOW CARD AVRITINU
Snappy Stylos A\)ifh'*St^le C"
Itic Latest cdittoa
"Id/uz closest imitation of small
brush letters at S-tinuz-s t/te
spud of trofcunl: brush tun.
1 1 i LjhjD.
in tke wost afprovad letter st^Us
tnacCe xoitK tfie new
STYLE "C" SPEEDBALL,
l^c tiering Jb^<ins
The;^ woL'k vodl in. white lak made out
of French Zinc g-tound in. tnucila^e.
pot and brush, as all are combined in one. It works equally well with water
or oil colors and can be used on glass, metal, leather, wood, cardboard and
liaper of any description. Any width of shading, marking or plain nibs can
be used. It will not leak in any position. The nibs are made in seven dif-
ferent sizes as illustrated in Pig. 39, ranging from a thirty-second of an
inch to seven-eighths inch in width. Shading nibs or blades make a mark of
two shades at a single stroke of the pen. ^Marking nibs make a solid, plain
mark, strong and full strength of the color used.
r-iXD p cj cp 3r* s ~b-ui-rv^ 'VV'
Payzant Pen. — The Payzant pen (recently placed on the market) is an-
other good pen for executing small lettering. It is adapted for free-hand
lettering. It is very easily operated, as the point is so constructed as to
Itroduce the same gauge of line, no matter what direction the pen is moved.
There is a reservoir attached which holds enough ink to letter from one to
a hundred words. For riiling borders they have a capacitj' of from 25 to 30
feet. The pen is made in six different sizes from a thirty-second of an
inch to one-eighth of an inch in width. Some of the leading card writers use
this pen in preference to the Soennecken pens for all small lettering.
Pig. 39 shows various widths of interchangeable blades two-thirds actual
Pigure 39 shows upper and lower case alphabet executed with a No. 5
Show Card Colors and Inks
Water colors are colors mixed with water and mucilage only. Just
enough of the latter is added to make the colors adhere to the surface to
which they are applied. They are the only kind suitable for rapid .show card
work, and are used exclusively by the expert. This does not mean that japan
or oil colors cannot be applied successfully to cardboard, for they can and
are often used in sign establishments where the volume of card signs is so
small as to render it impracticable to carry a water color equipment. Card
signs that are exposed to the elements should always be done in japan or
There are several splendid reasons why water colors are preferable for
card work, to-wit : their cleanly, odorless and quick drying qualities, and the
rapidity with which they may be mixed. The first reason is perhaps the
strongest point in their favor. Soiled hands can be instantly cleaned with
soap and water without leaving a stain. Cups, saucers, bi'ushes and all other
articles that may be used in the work ma.y also be cleaned easily and quickly.
Water colors are free from disagreeable fumes or odors, such as emanate from
oils and japans. They dry hard and firm, almost as quickly as applied, and
the rapidity with which various tints and shades may be mixed is decidedl.y
in their favor.
Dry Colors. — Dry colors, which are paints in powdered form, may be
mixed with water and mucilage for show cards. They are not as satisfactory.
however, as ready-mixed colors, for the reason that they cannot be ground
fine enough by hand. To work well under the brush colors must be ground
to the last degree of fineness. The dry pigments should, therefore, not be
used except as a last resort. There are a great many dry colors, any of
which can be obtained from the average paint dealer in the quantity desired.
To prepare them for lettering, proceed as follows:
Place a small quantity of dry colors in an ordinary saucer (say about
two tablespoonfuls) and soak it with alcohol, using just enough to dampen it
all through. The dry colors are sometimes oily or greasy — especially the
blacks, and refuse to unite with water. The alcohol is used not only to "cut"
and destroy the effect of the oil, but to loosen or dissolve the powder. Add
a teaspoonful of good mucilage and rub or grind the mixture with a large
cork — about 114 inches in diameter, until the mixture is as smooth as you
can get it. After this is done, place the color in a receptacle that can be kept
SHOW CARD COLORS AND INKS 57
air-tight. It is now ready for use at any time by thinning with water to the
proper consistency. For pen work, the color shouki be about the consistency
of ordinary writing fluid. All water colors should be thinned as you pro-
ceed with the work in hand, and not in advance, unless you propose to use
all of the color before laying aside your work. Next to black, white is most
frequently used, and the latter is the most dilBcult of all dry colors to mix
and apply properly. Experience has demonstrated that Cremenitz is the
best white to use. It is a form of white lead, and is preferable to all other
white, either dry or prepared ready for use. The next best white is called
C. P. (chemically pure) zinc. It is made from the white fumes of oxide of
zinc. It will not cover as well as the Cremenitz White, but can be used
successfully in an emergency.
Bissell's satin finish show card colors are recommended for general show
card purposes. For the past seven or eight years we have had the greatest
faith in our Aqua colors, and we still believe them to be an excellent color
for show card work, but in the future, until something better comes along,
we recommend Bissell's colors. There are many show card colors on the
market, hut all have their bad qualities. Of course, distemper colors like our
Aqua colors will always be used more or less for card writing, scene painting,
or wherever an opaque color is desirable. The best feature about the Bis-
sell's color is that the color is already mixed. You simply shake the bottle,
and that is all. Our Aqua color must be mixed with miieilage and thinned
with water, and, like any colors we make ourselves, must be watched con-
stantly or they will harden or .spoil with age, whereas the Bissell's color will
not. As previously stated, the Bissell's color is ready for instant use without
adding adhesives or binders, etc. It flows from the brush with a smoothness
that allows for rapid work, dries without a gloss, and is opaque. Bissell's
colors are put up in air-tight receptacles very convenient for use.
Carter '.s white is the better white of the two, as it has the very excellent
quality of absolute opacity.
Distemper Colors. — This is the name given to opaque water color paints
that are mixed ready for use (except the addition of an adhesive). The word
"distemper" means "a preparation of opaque or body colors with size instead
of oil." "Size" is the adhesive substance with which the pigment or color
is mixed. They are simply dry colors ground in water, to which mucilage
only is added before using. These coloi's are used exclusively by fresco paint-
ers in tinting and ornamenting the walls and ceilings of rooms. "When put
up and ground properly, they are the very best for all card work. They can
be purchased in glass jars from some of the up-to-date paint dealers, but are
not generally carried by the small stores. Those put up in glass jars with
aluminum screw tops are the best. The jars are very convenient ; the screw
top makes them air-tight and prevents the di-ying and hardening of the colors.
Aqua (Water) Colors. — Aqi-a colors can be obtained in the following
58 THE ART OF SHOW CAED WRITING
White, Black, Blue, Old Gold,
Green, Yellow, Puri)le,
Orange, Dark Red,
To each large jar of color one tablespoonful of good mucilage should oe
added and the contents thoroughly stirred. To each small jar of color about
a teaspoonful of mucilage should be added. If the color rubs off when it
is dry it is proof that you have not added enough mucilage. If too much
mucilage is put into the color, it will "pull" and work "tough" under the
brush. When ready to apply the color, dip the hair of the brush into the
jar, removing only such color as will adhere to the brush.
Rub the hair of the brush back and forth alternately on the palette (a
saucer or broken piece of china will do) until the color is distributed evenly
through the hair. If the color is now too thick to spread smoothly, dip the
point of the brush in water and repeat the process on the palette until the
color is the proper consistency. Two small cups or jars should be provided,
one for clean water for mixing purpo.ses and the other for rinsing purposes.
Always keep the color covered air-tight when not in use, to prevent the
water, in which it is ground, from evaporating. If, through carelessness, the
color should become hard, add a liberal supply of water and allow it to stand
over night, after which place it in a saucer and grind with a large cork until
smooth. Water colors should be thinned with water onl.y. Do not thin the
color in the jar after it has been mixed with the mucilage. Thin the color
only as you proceed with your work, as previously explained, first taking a
small quantity of color from the jar and placing in a saucer. The foregoing
directions are printed very plainly on the label of each jar. Fig. 40 shows
the exact size of the two-ounce jar and Fig. 41 the size of the large package.
Letterine. — This is one of the many preparations more or less suitable for
card work. Letterine is a secret mixture put up in bottles in liquid form,
ready for instant use, and is manufactured especially for card writers. It
may be had in all colors and is thinned with water only. Many use it for
common work because of its convenient form, and the easy manner in which
it may be applied. Letterine has .several good and also .several bad qualities.
Its good features may be summed up as follows: It needs no adhesive, and
is therefore ready for instant use ; it is alread.y thinned to the proper
consistency; it dries hard and quickl.y with a very perceptible glo.ss; and, it
works freely and smoothly under the brush. Thus, it has many good quali-
fications to commend it. Were it not for the bad features which we will now
submit, it would equal, if not excel, every other preparation.
To obtain satisfactory results, in the work of the card writer, it is abso-
lutely necessary that the colors should "cover." By the term "cover" we
mean that the surface beneath the letters should be entirelv obliterated.
SHOW CARD COLORS AND INKS
Colors that are used ou card work sliould be opaque, so that when the coloi'
is dry no trace of the background can be seen. This cannot be accomplished
with Letterine because it is transparent. "When applied, the surface can be
very distinctly seen through the color except the black. This fault also per-
mits the brush-marks to be seen. Pencil marks, spots or soiled places of any
kind on the ground work therefore may easily be observed when covered
with Letterine. The strongest point against the use of Letterine is the fact
that the light colors (white, yellow, etc.,) are absolutely worthless when used
on dark surfaces for the reason just explained, viz. : they do not eover. The
result is a dim, "hazy" looking letter, without strength or character. Black
Letterine is highly recommended by the writer for all work ou a purely white
surface. The other colors, however, are unsuitable, owing to their non-
covering qualities. The third and last objection to Letterine is the fact that,
when exposed to the sun, it fades very rapidly and has a tendency to "chip"
or peel "off." The above faults may be easily demonstrated in case of any
doubt as to the sincerity of these statements. Good water colors cost much
less than patent preparations, which we offer as another and final argument
in their favor.
A good white is best made from English flake white (dry powder) ground
on a mortar the same as any dry color, adding one part LePage's glue to two
parts mucilage. Put it up in an air-tight receptacle and thin with water
as you use it. Another good white is made simply by pouring off the liquid
60 THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
adhesive that forms at the top in a bottle of white Letterine. Both whites
will cover absolutely with one stroke on dark cardboard.
Devoe & Reynold's, Carter's Vel-Vct and Bissell's Show Card colors come
all prepared ready for use and are very popular among the trade.
Show Card Inks. — All dark colors of drawing inks may be used for
small lettering and are especially serviceable for price tickets. Inks cannot
be applied successfully with the lettering brush, as they are too thin and,
therefore, flow too freely. They are best adapted to pen work and are a
necessary part of the equipment of the card writer. Cardboard inks should
be of the very best quality. The black should be densely black so as to cover
perfectly. "Higgins' Eternal Black" is as good as any, but the cost makes
its use almost prohibitive. Crow Black is equally as good. It is water and
gasoline proof, and is therefore especially recommended for architectural and
mechanical drawings, because lettering on work of that kind must be "wear-
resisting" and waterproof.
Asphaltum. — Asphaltum is a thick, transparent color that dries very
rapidly and leaves a very brilliant gloss. It is classed among oil colors. It
is used principally when a very glossy letter is desired. When asphaltum is
used, the letter is first outlined with water color black and then filled in with
asphaltum. using it as thick as possible, as the addition of too much turpen-
tine (with which it must be thiinied) will destroy the g]os.s. It is not a
water color in any sense of the word.
Tools and Materials
Having explained the kind of brushes, color iiikh- i)eus, etc., necessary
in the work of the card writer, we will now take up such other tools anil
materials as are used, after which we will explain the methods recjuired to
obtain various up-to-date effects.
Cardboard. — The regular size, or what is called a "full sheet" of card-
board, is 22 inches by 28 inches. A half sheet card is 1-4x22 inches, and
quarter sheets 11 by 14 inches. One-eighth sheets are 7 by 11 inches. By
following these dimensions the card can always be cut without waste. When
quantities in smaller sizes are desired, the dealer from whom the cardboard
is purchased will cut it any size required for a trifling additional sum. It is
not advisable to cut sheets bv hand, as the edges are never as smooth as
when cut with a card-cutter's knife. The full sheet cards can be obtained
at almost any stationery or art store. They can be bought to the best advan-
tage from the wholesale paper dealer. Double sheets (28 by 44 inches) are
very desirable at times for large signs, obviating the necessity for pasting
together, in which case the joint or seam is always perceptible. If the large
size cannot be obtained (as is often the case), you can make a reasonably
satisfactory job by placing two cards side by side as follows:
Trim very evenly the edges of the cards that are to be joined and then
butt them together as shown in Pig. 42. Cut a strip of cardboard about
three or four inches wide and fasten securely to the back of the cards with a
strong adhesive, as shown in Fig. 42, being careful to see that the cards
meet or join perfectly before applying the strip, which acts as a binder.
62 THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
The best white cardboard to use is tinished with a glossy, glazed or coated
surface on one side. This finish niakes it very d(>sirab]e in case of error, as
the coating may be easily removed with a sharp knife-blade. Some cards
are coated on both sides ; others are the natural pulp color or grayish white.
Cardboard for average commercial purposes should be about eight ply, or
heavy enough to stand on edge without curling or bending.
Colored cardboard is nearly all finished with a dull *"flat" surface, which
readily absorbs moisture, and is, therefore, especially adapted to the applica-
tion of water color. It may be obtained in about twenty different colors and
is made in the full sheet size only. Tinted cardboard (i. e., light shades of
the pure colors) is usually the same color on both sides, and can be obtained
in several thicknesses. Thin cards are always undesirable.
Matboard. — Matboard is used extensively for border or frame effects, and
can be obtained from picture frame dealers. It is finished with a dull
"pebbl.y" surface, and forms an excellent contra.st when combined with the
smooth surface of the inner card. It may be obtained in full or double sheets
as desired. Owing to the rough surface of matboard it is not suitable for
PhotogTaphers ' Cardboard. — This cardboard is best adapted to perma-
nent work as it is very thick (not less than ten ply) and the surface is
eufhciently hard to pei-mit the use of the pen. It may be obtained in various
sizes and is usually finished with a bevel. Small photo mounts make very
neat and attractive price tickets. Card beveling is a business by itself, and
should not be attempted by the novice. Cardboard signs ma,y be cut into anv
shape or design to please the fancy of the letterer, being careful to have
the pattern designed so as to accommodate the inscription nicely and in
keeping with the purpose for which it is to be used. An extremel,v fancy-
shaped card, for instance, one bearing a memorial inscription, would look de-
cidedly out of place. A card announcing a sale of cut flowers, on the
other hand, could be very ornamental in outline. As I have stated, cardboard
is usually cut into quarters, halves, etc., for economical reasons, but as the
material is inexpensive a good rule to follow is to design the form and
.size of the card to accommodate the inscription to the best advantage. Fig.
43 shows a large variet.y of different shapes .suitable for small price tickets.
Artificial Flowers. — Artificial flowers are used extensively l)y the up-to-
date card writer for decorative ])urposes. They are fastened to tlie cai-ds by
means of a thin wire run through the cardboard and twisted together on the
Fountain Air Brush. — The -ivork that can be accomplished ])y this simple
instrument is not (jnl.\" beautiful, but very attractive. No ju-dgi'essive card or
*The term, "jlaf," as applied to pai)it:i. means a- ilull surface
without a particle of (/loss.
TOOLS AXD MATERIALS
THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
sign writer can conduct his shop along up-to-date lines without the use of
the air-brush. It is now a necessary part of the equipment of the card writer
catering to modern requirements. Air-brush work is in evidence on every
hand, and it deserves its popularity. The instrument is easy to manipulate
and wonderful effects can be obtained with it. It is used extensively by
lithographers and engravers, also portrait artists, photo-retouchers and pho-
tographers. It is especially serviceable for all kinds of work whereon shad-
ing effects are desired. It is an old invention used for many years by por-
trait artists exclusively, but has recently been gi-eatly improved. It has a
marvelous capacity for applying color and distril)uting large quantities in a
very short time, and yet it is ad.iustable for the finest line. Air-brush work
will undoubteldy be very popular for years to come, as the limit of its use-
fulness has not nearly been reached. It is more de.sirable for signs that are
done in duplicate, triplicate, etc., i. e., a great many alike. The reason for
this will be explained later in this work.
Pig. 44 shows the exact .size and style of the instrument. Fig. 4(i shows
the air pump and tank which are used to supply the pressure and make thi'
ink flow. Full directions are sent with each instrument. Fig. 47 shows Model
H Paasche air-brush in action. There are but three popular air-brushes on
the market toda.y. These are the "Wold," "Paasche" and "Thayer &
Chandler." Strange to say, all three are manufactured in Chicago. The air-
brush models recommended for show-card purposes are the IModel B, Thayer
& Chandler, ]Model Wold, and Model F-2 Paasche. The costs of the.se
models vary from $14.00 to $25.00. This includes the cost of the air-brush
only — the necessary attachment costs extra. Complete instructions for care
and nse are usually sent free to each purchaser of an air-bri;sh.
For executing both large and small work (show cards as well as banners,
or large posters) the ]\Iodel ]M Wold and Jlodel II-2 Paa.sche are recommended.
It requires only a few days' practice to learn how to apply the different
effects. It takes much longer, however, to learn how ta care for the brush
properly, but it must be said at this time that if an air-brush is cleaned thor-
oughly after it is used, it should always be found ready for the next job. It
is practically indestructible, and, with proper care, may be u.sed for year.s.
TOOl.S AND MATERIALS
THE AKT OF SHOW CAED WRITING
The instrument illustrated in the figure greatly excels the old style, both in
.speed and quality of work, the volume of spray being three or four times
greater than that made with the old style brush. For detail work, the pencil
position permits much more freedom, and better execution is thus obtained.
The most l)cautiful effects may be obtained by the use of stencils or masks.
The best material to use for cuttin-i- stencils is prepared wax paper, which
can be purchased in sheets or rolls. Sheets are preferable, because they lie
flat. The design is first drawn on the stencil paper and the openings are cut
out by means of a stencil or mat knife. Stencils are kept in position with
the aid of small weights. Jloore's push pins are also used to advantage in
liolding stencils in place. The push pins are the surest and most convenient.
as tlie mask is not ^o apt to slip from jiosition. Students as well as experts
are cautioned not tu "over-do air-brush work on a .show card." It is the
natural tendency on the part of the lieainner to throw to much air-brush work
on a card. The most attractive shmv cards are those on which there is but
little air-brush work — just enough to throw out tlic important words in the
inscription to the best advantage.
"When applying air-l)rush color to a white or light colored card, the
colors used should be subdued tints. On tlie other hand, on a dark card, use
black for your air-bru.sh or a dark l)rt)wii with the lettering very light. Air-
brushes will last from five to ten years with proper care. There are no
parts so delicate that they cannot be replaced very easily. The first cost is
practically the only cost.
For those posses.sing an air-linish the following information will ])rove
mighty interesting as well as profitable. The scheme is a time saver for doinir
what is known among: air-brTish artists as "lias-relief nv back-shading" on
show cards without the use of stencils or masks.
Make a solution of either gum-arabic or yellow dcxtiinc. addins .snf-
TOOLS AND MATEEIALS 67
ficient alcohol to render it fluid enough to flow from a pen, if fine work in
desired. Color the gum solution with a little distemper black; just sufficient
to render the work discernible. The least black you can get along with, the
better. Use a good coated board which has a good waterproof coat. By this
is meant a coating "which will not work up" when moisture is applied to
it, and it is then rubbed. There are several good makes on tlie market ; among
them is the De Jongh coated stock.
Lay out your card in the usual way, with charcoal or pencil, and first paint
in with the gum solution the parts which are to stand oixt the most promi-
nentl}% The alcohol and the giun permit it to dry i-apidly, and as soon as dry,
immediately "air-brush in" the shadows very intensely. For the air-ln-ush
waterproof colors are necessary. For tints use Snowberry or Johnson's wooil
dyes. For intense black, use Snowberry or Higgin's ink.
Having completed the air-brush work, immerse your card completely in
cold water, using a wide camel-hair brush to work otf the gum. thus leaving
your design in pure white against a shaded backgroimd. IMot off the super-
fluous water and permit the card to dry flat. Bold letters or ornaments
may now be rounded up as taste may direct. Figure 45 illustrates the base
relief effect without the use of patterns or stencils.
Atomizers. — Atomizers may be used fin- spraying designs on a card. Tlu'
work they will accomplish, however, is not neai'ly a.s satisfactory as that
obtained through the use of the air-brush, for the reason that the spray cannot
be regulated. Atomizers may be obtained from most dealers in artists' sup-
plies or at drug stores. There are two kinds — one which operates by placing
the end in the mouth and blowing through a tube which meets another at
right angles. One end of the other tube extends into the bottle holding the
The other kind of atomizer is just an ordinary perfume holder with a
bulb which is held in the palm of the hand. The pressure on the bulb regu-
lates the strength of the spray. Good drawing inks (any color) may be used.
The method of procedure will be fully explained in connection with the
examples illustrated further on.
Raised Ornaments. — Raised or embosssecl ornaments in the shape of
wreaths, ovals, circles, scrolls, etc., are often used by the professional card
writer and give to a card a very elaborate, costly and rich appearance. They
are difficult to obtain, however, as they are a German product. Some picture
frame dealers keep them in stock. They are fastened to the cardboard as fol-
lows : Spread glue or any other strong adhesive over a piece of glass, place
the backs of the ornaments on the glass and then press the ornaments into
the glue. With a pair of pincers then place the ornaments in the position
desired on the card and press firmly until the adhesive is dry.
Bran^e Powders. — Bronzes are put up in one ounce packages in powdered
form ; also, in cans containing from one to five pounds. They can be obtained
in many colors,, the pale gold and aluminum lieing the most popular. Alumi-
THE AKT OF SHOW CAED AVEITIXG
TOOLS AND MATEEIALS 69
nnni should not be confounded with silver bronze, as the latter is not at all
suitable for lettering or decorating purposes on cardboard. Bronzes (gold
especially) always give to a card a rich, delicate tone, and do not add greatly
to the cost of the production. Bronzes should be mixed and applied in exactly
the same manner as dry colors. They are not prepared ready-mixed. They
show to the best advantage on' dark colors. There are two kinds of gold
and aluminum bronzes, to-wit :
The "brilliant" bronzes are so-called because they are much brighter
than the "lettering" qualities, and, therefore, more nearlj- resemble gold and
silver when applied. They will not cover, however, unless mixed with about
two parts of lettering bronze. The lettering bronzes are ground finer than
the brilliant bronzes, which makes them cover perfectlj'. When applied, how-
ever, they have a dull lustreless appearance, which may be overcome slightly
by adding one part brilliant bronze as ju.st stated. Other colored bronzes
are made only in the brilliant grades, and are seldom used for card pur-
poses because thej' do not cover well. Dry bronzes should be removed from
the paper in which they are pi;t up just as soon as purchased and kept in
a bottle securely corked. When exposed to the air, they collect moisture vei'y
rapidly, which soon brings about a chemical change destroying their lustre.
Bronzes (except aluminum) are not suitable for permanent outside work;
that is, they should not be used on signs that are exposed to the weather
as they deteriorate quickly when placed in the open air, the tendency being
to turn very dark (sometimes black) in a very short time. For card work,
gold bronze is the most suitable. It may be used to the best advantage for
borders and ornamental work, also as a shade for the letters. On dark
colored cards it may be used for lettering. As stated, a few touches of bronze,
judiciously distributed, will greatly enhance the artistic effect without adding
much to the expense. The card writer's equipment is incomplete miless it
includes an assortment of bronzes.
Flitter Brocades. — Flitter is made of the same material as bronzes, but in
small flakes instead of powder. Being very brilliant, it is very effective for
many kinds of decoration. It resembles flak}- tinsel, and is sold by the ounce
or pound as desired. Nearly all paint and art stores sell the following
THE AKT UF SHOW CAKD AVKiTING
TOOLS AXD matp:rials
72 THE ART OF SHOW CAED WRITING
Brocades show to the best advantage on signs intended for night or holi-
day display purposes. The little flakes sparkle and glisten like so many
miniature diamonds when the card is placed in a position where the light
will strike it. They are applied as follows:
First place a large sheet of plain paper beneath the card. The lettering
should be perfectly dry. Now with a small lettering brush or glass tube
and a good, strong mucilage or LePage's gliie, decorate the face of the letters,
borders, etc., to suit your fancy. Decorate but a few letters at one time, as
the nuicilage dries and soaks in very rapidly. When you have embellished
a few of the letters, pour on enough of the brocade to cover the mucilage com-
pletely. Continue this until the entire sign has been decorated, and then let
set fen- a few minutes, after which dust or shake off tlie superfluous material —
that which does not adhere. The mucilage, or adhesive, can be prevented from
drying too quickly by adding a few drops of glycerine. If the mucilage or
glue becomes too thick, it can be thinned by adding a few drops of vinegar.
If you desire to decorate the card with two or more colors of the brocade,
repeat the above process after you have applied one color. The card should
then be allowed to stand for several hours before handling again.
Diamond Dust. — This material has every appearance of being just what
the name iini)lics. It resembles brocades very much except that it is pure
white. It is applied the same as flitter, and is particularly appropriate for
Christmas cards. By decorating the tops of the letters as shown in Fig. 48,
the effect of the frost and snow can be closely imitated.
Adhesives. — LePage's glue, which is put up in small screw-top cans, also
in 10c and 25c bottles, is indispensable to the card writer. It may be used
for uniting two or more cards as explained under Cardboard, and for secur-
ing them to a frame, also to attach all kinds of rai.sed ornaments, etc. It is
perhaps the most reliable adhesive on the market. Instructions relative to
applying, thinning, etc., are printed on the label attached to each can.
Plain cardboard is sometimes covered with fancy papers of various colors
and designs, some examples of which are shown in Figs. 49 and 50. When
this is done, a common ordinary flour paste, such as used by paper hangers,
will answer the purpose. The paper should be liberally and evenly coated
with paste, using a soft, wide brush, and the wrinkles removed with a clean,
soft rag and the palm of the hand, rubbing the paper toward the edge from
the center. Weights should then be applied until dry.
The preceding list of materials comprises nearly everything that is abso-
lutely necessary in the every-day work of the card writer. New effects are
constantly being originated and new methods are continually being devised.
Novel and attractive effects are steadily sought by ambitiovis members of the
fraternity. It is likely that, before the ink on this book is dry, quite a
number of new and practical ideas will have been originated. You should
try to be original. Experiment with various materials until you finally run
across something that is attractive. Always be careful to consider the cost of
TOOLS AND MATERIALS 73
production. In seeking new eflfeets, do not allow your enthusiasm to over-
balance your judgment. Any effect that is attractive and can be produced
at a trifling expense, is practicable. Any new method that will produce the
best results in the shortest time, will receive instant recognition. The most
desirable style of card for the average business purpose is white with black
lettering. Shading and ornamental features are the next step from simplicity
and should be indulged only with careful consideration and "good taste." In
a following portion of this book you will find some good advice with refer-
ence to "inscription designing" as applied to card signs.
Why is a Show Card?
The answi-i- to ti;i> abdve (iirtv will be Iduiul iii tiic following para-
graphs. This question, if aii^^wered correctly, sums up the entire show-caril
profession. When anyone seeking the services of a show-card writer wishes
.some show cards made, he is, in reality, wanting to dispose of merchandise.
Ever3"one wishing show cards made wants to sell something. Remember,
therefore, that the show card is made to '"sell something." It doesn't matter
whether it is an undershirt or whether the bank is to close at a certain time,
there should be a .selling appeal in every show card sign.
In the olden days, the printer was the show card producer, and to-day
anyone could go to a printer and have a show card made, but the cost is too
miieh, considering the finished product. In other words, it costs too much
to produce a show card on a printing i)ress. because there are not enough
cards to be made. U.stially only one inscription on one card is desired, so
the customer naturally turns to the man who can letter free-hand. The
printer is limited to the stereotyped styles only. The show card writer can
give the customer any style he wants withotit extra charge.
After the copy passes from the ctistomer to the card writer, he should
inunediately proceed to inject into that card a selling force. This may sound
like a very simple matter to accomplish, and it is, if you will follow- the rules
and suggestions to be set forth, bitt even expert card writers find it very
diffictdt to inject a selling force into their show cards, simply because they
neglect to di.scover this very important character in their work. The average
card writer pays more attention to his technique than he does to his final
result or ultimate selling power in his card.
How are you to know when a card will sell something? In other words,
can you make a card that contains the selling punch? If you can't, then
it doesn't matter how good you can letter, because the actiud lettering of the
card is only about 33if, ]ier cent of the work. The other two-thirds is selling
force. The old school of card writing tatight decorating selling value. That
was when we had more time to read and admire. Today we are reading
head-lines. The card you make today must be read at a glance. In other
words, the big important word or words on every card should be very promi-
nently displayed. The unimportant letterino: should lie drawn very small
WHY IS A SHOW CARD? 75
Dark strong colors should be used for lettering of the head-lines or
important words when operating on a light surface. White should always
be used for the head-lines when operating on a dark surface. Study your
inscription carefully, and be sure that you are right before you go ahead.
You will find that the man who orderedi the card made wants to sell some-
thing and you will find in the copy he gave you the word or words represent-
ing the article or statement that he wishes to sell. It is not always a shirt or
shoes; it may be the word "Closed." It may be the word "Opening." It
may be "Cooler Inside," but in every description the point we wish to bring
out is this: There are words that must be displayed very, very prominently.
Then, in order to get the contrast which is most essential, we display tlu'
unimportant lettering very snuUl.
In executing your lettering keep the styles as simple as possible. This
helps to make the lettering easily read and also helps materially in obtaining
speed through simplicity. Speed reduces the cost of the card to your cus-
tomer and adds more profit for yourself.
Why is a show card? It came into existence because it has or should
SELLIN'G FORCE (display)
MINIMU]M COST (speed)
Speed means nothing unless you have selling force in the card and selling
force may mean everything in disposing of the card to your customer at a
good price. Combine the two and you may consider yourself a first-class card
writer, regardless of your proficiency in the technique of lettering. The aver-
age customer does not know when a card is what a show card writer may
term "well lettered." The customer wants selling force at a minimum cost.
We produce selling force through display. We produce minimum cost by
We have told you about displaying the lettering. Now, if you intend
to add any embellishments whatsoever, such as scrolls, underlines, space-fillers,
borders or shading, please remember that for this class of decoration you
should use nothing but tints when operating on a light surface and nothing
but very dark tones when operating on a dark surface. On a light colored
cardboard, the lighter and more delicate your tints are, the more attractive
your card will become and the more selling force it will exhibit. The darker
you make your decorative work, the more you detract from 3'our lettering.
This rule just reverses itself when working on a black surface.
Why is a show card? A show card, as the term implies today, means
a masterpiece of lettering. Study the chart that follows. Combine the three
essentials (Nos. 1, 2 and 3) and the resi:lt will be satisfied customers, because
the card will satisfy owing to its .selling power, and the price will be within
reason because of the rapidity with which the work was executed ; and listen,
get this — you are making more money following this plan becau.se you can
meet competition by reducing the time required in execution of the work.
THE AKT OF SHOW OAKl) AVElTlN(i
which also means that you ciiii turn out more work, resultiufi- in ;i f-i-fater
income to yourself. Again, stutly the diagram carefully.
Simplicity of design
Reducing the wordiiifi- so iis tn tell the stoiy ipiiekly
1 -< Contrast between inijjortant word or wonis
Contrast in colors used
Letters strong in color
Deeorati(m in tints
Simplicity of letter .styles used
., / Attractiveness
I Simplicit.v of color
Laying Out the Inscription
Method of Procedure. — Card signs, like all other signs, should always
present a neat, clean appearance when finished and ready for delivery, regard-
less of the style of execution. The more the lettering is slighted, the more the
necessity for observing this caution. For this reason it is very important
that the medium employed to lay out, or mark out, the inscription or reading
matter should be made of a substance that may be easily removed or erased.
You .should obtain for this purpose a good grade of Artists' Charcoal, which
can be purchased from art dealers, and is made in various grades and sizes.
The best for ordinary work is known as Contes' French Charcoal. Each box
contains fifty sticks six inches long. The sticks should be sharpened to a fine
point and applied to the card very lightly, making the marks just as faint
a; possible. "When the lettering is dry, all traces of the charcoal can be
instantly removed with a soft cloth or feather duster. White chalk sharp-
ened and manipulated in this manner is the best material to use on dark
cards. Cut the narrow end of the chalk into a sharp wedge shape. Dip about
one-fourth inch of the chalk into water and withdraw quickly. Tt will then
78 THE AKT OF SHOW CAKD WRITING
make a tine neat line whieli can he reaiiily erased with a vh'j: uv a spouse
ruhber. It will not injuie the eardbuard.
Leacl pencil marks cannot be easily erased, especially from a glossy
surface. When it is necessary to use a lead pencil, select one with a ver\
hard lead and apply the marks very li<;htly.
Straight lines should always be favored when arranging or laying out
the inscription. Letters placed in straight line.s not only read easier, but
give to the sign a "balance" difficult to obtain when curved lines are used.
Sometimes, as shown in Fig. 51, where short and unimportant words pi'ecede
and follow the display line, the curve is not only handy, but desirable.
.\void the use of curved lines to any great extent.
How to Correct Errors. — The best workmen fre(|ucnti\- makt' ei-rois.
Mistakes are expensive, necessitating erasing one or more letters. It is jier-
haps needless to caution you against making them. The best way to avoid
errors is to mai-k out each letter distinctly, and then read over the inscription
carefully before you begin the work. It is not necessary to mark out the
lettering perfectly; simply show a faint or indistinct form of each indi-
vidual letter. To read over the inscription carefully each time after it is laid
out will recjuire only an extra minute or two. The time thus lost will be time
saved in the end. Errors can be rectified in most cases as follows:
If the card is white, take a sharp pointed penknife, or steel ink eraser,
and carefully scrape the letter or letters until the surface or coating of the
board is completel.v removed. Be extremely cautious not to ])enetrate below
the glazed coating. "When the color is entirely obliterated, rub the scraped
surface with a small ]iiece of vrri/ fine sandpaper. This will smooth the
rough edges, if any, after which polish, or burnish, the spot with your thumb
nail. If the error is made on a dark card with a glazed surface, the letter
may be removed with a damp cloth. If this method is used, the operation
must be very quick, for the reason that the cards themselves are coated with
water color, and the background is apt to rub up if the wet cloth is applied
more than two or three times.
If the error is made on a tinted card, such as light blue or light purple,
it will be necessary to match the color of the card (having previously removed
the letter with a .sharp knife as exi)laincd) and then recoat the .soiled sur-
face. Mistakes on tinted cards are sometimes nicely remedied by ]iainting a
panel over the entire word or line. In Fig. 52 this method is illustrated. On
the lower card you will observe a mistake in the spelling of the word
"SHOES." The upper card in this figure looks much better than the lower
one, thus proving that the card as a I'ule is more attractive if the mistake
is corrected in this manner. This is one of the easiest ways out of a bad
predicament. If an alteration is to be made on a black card the lettering
should be scraped off and the surface recoated with black water color.
To remove pencil marks or dirt, use a sponge ruliber dipped in powdered
pumice stone, using but a little of the latter. Perspiration from the hand
often makes a cardboard greasy. As water and oil will not unite, it is
I.AYIX(i OUT THE INSCRIPTION
80 THE AKT OF SHOW CARD WRITING
inipossiblf to make the color adhere to grease spots. To overcome this.
mix a thiml)h'fiil of biearbouate of .soda (baking soda) and a tablespoonful
of water and wijie the grea-sy siirfaee with this.
. 0^^son^3/e .
Margins. — Unlike the average sign, show cards are intended to be read
from a very short distance. They are used almost wholly for interior display
and in show windows. It is, therefore, not necessary for the card sign to
carry letters as large, proportionnfrlif. as the ontside sign. Card signs sh(mld
LAYIXG OUT THE INSCRIPTIOX
always have a very liberal margin ; iiiueh more than any other style of sign.
By referring to tlie examples shown you will find this idea uniformly car-
ried out. The inscription should be well "centered," that is, kept well in
from the outside edge of the card all around. It is almost impossible to go
to extremes in this respect, as illustrated in Pig. 53. The wider the margin
the better the card will look in the majoi-ity of eases. This matter, however,
like all others, must be governed by sensible principles.
Don't be ".stingy" with tlie border or margin: remember that the reader
will Ije very close to the sign, and also that a small letter with lots of space
around it is more conspicuous than a large letter, unless similarly handled.
Borders and Scrolls. — Scrolls, lines, or any other styles of decoration
used as a boi'dcr should always be executed in a subdued color. l>y subdued
we mean a shade or tint that is much less conspicuous than the colors used
for lettering. This is in keeping with previous instructions relative to sttb-
ordinating all ornamental features. The aUjU of ornamentation is not so
important provided this rule is followed. The ornamentation around the let-
ters may be very elaborate provided the colors are comparatively distinct, thus
not detracting from the in.scription.
If the border is vciy heavy, ma.s.si\-e or bulky, as in P'ig. 51, tlie more
the necessity for adhering closely to this rule; bi't, if it is delierte and light,
the color can be proportionately stronger. Thr.s. bi'ight red, blue or green,
or any other jture color may be used if the border is no larger, proportion-
ately, than shown in Fig. .54.
82 THE AKT OF SHOAV CARD ^VRITIXG
Pig. 55 shows a great many designs suitable for corners and borders,
in nearly all of which you will notice the absence of straight lines or me-
chanical eliects. To reverse any of these designs proceed as follows:
Take a sheet of mauilla paper a trifle larger than the design that is to
be made and fold it in the middle. On the right side of the crease draw
the design you select with a very soft pencil or piece of charcoal. Reverse
the fold so that the drawing will be face down on the left side of the paper.
Then rub the back of the drawing Avith the palm of the left hand until the
pencil marks have been transferred to the blank paper below the drawing.
Now, open the paper and trace over the whole design with a hard pencil to
prevent its becoming obliterated, after which turn the paper over and rub the
reverae or blank side all over with charcoal if the design is to be transferred
on a white card, or with chalk for a dark card. Then place the design face
down in the position desired on the card and repeat the tracing process, using
a hard lead pencil. The pressure of the hard pencil will transfer the soft
lead marks to the card. I'pon removing the paper, a thin and perfectly dupli-
cated outline of the design will he found on the card. Transfer carbon paper
can be iised for this prirpose just as effectively- and with great saving of time.
Patterns for raised panels, price tickets, etc., are made in the same
manner, except that the design should be transferred onto a heavy piece of
cardboard and then cut out with a pair of scissors. By running a sharp lead
pencil around the edges, you will he able to duplicate as many as you desire.
All sorts of desims, scrolls, etc.. may be multiplied by this method. Re-
versing the scroll does not lessen its beauty, as you will note by turning Fig.
iSo upside down. You should practice reversing the position of scroll designs
as much as possible. The sooner you become proficient in this, the quicker
you will be able to do awa>- with the pattern method, and thus effect great
saving of time. On Fig. 5fi you will find a large variety of what we call
"filling-in" scrolls. Those to the 7-i(jlit are best adapted to filling space at
either side of a word or line ; those to the left may be most advantageously
used to .separate an inscription, or to mark the end of a pai'agrajih.
Ornamental Panels. — We have previously explained the importance of
the rococo scroll with reference to speed and beauty in designing. You will
observe, by referring to the examples, that this style of scroll is used very
frequently. The reason requires no further explanation. The .specimens are
sufficient to prove conclusively the endless variety of combinations which ai'o
possiljle with this scroll. Panels which are used for raised effects, and which
are cut out. must necessarily be of the plainer sort, as the time required
to cut out an elaborate design would usually make its use prohibitive. The
styles suitable for this purpose may be found in a large number of examplrs
in this work.
Fancy Initials. — The color suggestions suitable for the various designs in
Figures 57 and 58 are as follows:
(A) Leaves, lio-ht ai'een : hotter, liriijlit rc(l ; outline, gold.
LAYING OUT THE liVHCEIPTIUN
84 THE AKT UF SHUW CARD WEITING
LAYING OUT THE INSCRIPTION 85
(B) Background, dark green; letter, white; outline of letter, black; bor-
der on panel, gold ; scrolls, light green ; inner border line, light
(C) Letter, ultramarine blue; background, very light blue stripes, white;
( D ) Rosette, light purple or violet ; rays from center, darker shade of
purple ; circle, gold ; letter, blue.
(E) Letter, dark red; scrolls, light green.
(F) Letter, black; scrolls, gray.
(G) Raj's, gray; letter, black or blue; outline, gold.
(H) Letter, white; center of panel, medium shade of blue; border of
panel and ornaments, gold.
(I) Letter, dark green; background, light green; white outlines, a snade
lighter than the background ; scrolls, darker shades of back-
(J) Background, light brown; scrolls, dark brown; letter, black.
(K) Ornaments very light .yellow; letter, orange; outline, dark red.
(L) Outline of letter, dark blue; ornaments in center of letter, light
blue; stripes, gold.
(M) Letter, black; outline, dark gra.y; background, light gray.
(N) Letter, gold; outline, black; background, two shades of gray.
(0) Rosette white; circles, light blue; letter, dark blue.
(P) Letter, dark blue; ground back of letter (represented by the light-
est shade of gray), very light blue; ribbons, very light blue;
ornaments suspended from the ribbons, very light blue; ribbons
and main panel outlined with medium shade of blue; scrolls
around the letter, white or gold; background of rear panel,
lemon yellow ; border on rear panel, gold.
(Q) Ornaments, pink; letter, very light blue; outline on letter, very dark
(R) Letter, white; background, light shade of olive; stripes on back-
ground, darker .shade of olive; small ornaments, white or gold;
outline on letter, black.
(S) Background, lilac; letter, purple.
(T) Wreath, light green; outline on wreath, olive green; elliptical panel
gray ; high light on letter, white ; shade on letter, black or dark
green ; background to pedestal, light green ; ornaments and
outline on pedestal, dark green.
(U) Background, orange: letter, blue; outline, lemon yellow.
(V) Letter, orange; outline, dark red: panel, very light blue; dark orna-
ments, gold ; light ornaments, wdiite.
(W) Letter, light blue,- outline, dark blue; ornament.s, dark gray.
(X) Letter, white; background, two shades of blue, dai'k and light.
(T) Background, gold; letter, black; outline, black.
(Z) Background and scrolls, silver; letter, medium shade of blue; face-
shade, dark shade of blue.
THE AIJT UF SHOW CAKI) A\K1T1NG
LAYING OUT THE INHCKIPTIOX
J^t.«i j;A^a?afe*Mftric ^tJKf^
88 THE ART OF SHOW CAKD WEITING
Tlu- above eoiiibinatioiih; may be alternated or varied for any of the let-
ters. You will note that the strongest or brightest color is, in nearly every
case, the one used for the letter. I mention this to emphasize again the impor-
tance of subordinating ornamental features.
]\Ionograms may be, and should be. treated in the same manner as capi-
Poster Embellishments. — Pictures, engravings or designs cut from
posters, newspapers, lithographs, magazines, calendars, etc., may often be used
with telling effect. You should never overlook an opportunity to clip and
save an attractive design. Suiu-ound yourself with a large and choice collec-
tion of designs. Appropriate pictures should be selected and pasted on the
card with flour paste or photo paste in such a position as not to interfere with
the inscription. Painted scrolls, flowers or other ornamentation may then
be used as a border or frame work for the pictures to bring them into relief
as the design nmy require. To illustrate the many handsome effects that can
be obtained through the use of clippings, note Fig. 59. The picture on this
design was clipped from a popular magazine advertising a well-known cereal.
The reading matter in connection therewith is quite appropriate, and the
picture not only gives the design a very attractive appearance, but adds weight
to the reading matter. Fig. 60 .shows a halftone of an automobile, which was
also clipped from an advertisement in a magazine. Here, too, the reading
matter is strengthened by the addition of the engraving. The automobile
in Fig. 61 is a clipping pasted into the painted background. The effect
is splendid. The name of any other automobile could be substituted for the
word "Columbin." and the card used to advertise motor ears with splendid
effect. Fig. 62 is another ]iretty specimen.
Practice Work. — For practice purposes, provide .^■ourself with ;i ^ood
grade of manilla wrapping paper. When you practice the various styles suit-
able for cards, remember that show card work is not presumed to be executed
with the .same careful attention to detail as that which is required for perma-
nent sign work. There are several terms used by judges of good lettering
to express their approval of a given piece of work, among which are the
words "dash," "snap," and "character." It will, perhaps, be necessary to
use these terms quite frequently, and therefore, we will first explain their full
.significance. The first two terms practically mean the same thing. The last
means just what you have perhaps surmised. A letter without "character"
means a "shabby," "slovenly" or "tired-looking" letter, on which one or
more of the .spurs do not fit (too long or much too .short, ma.vbe) — a letter
whose body is not uniform (too fat or too thin in places) or which is "de-
formed" (an effect easily produced through carelessness in proportion). Thus
a letter, to have character, must look bold, stand erect, be graceful and well
proportioned, and in everv way be a credit to itself and surroundings.
Letters that are cliaraoterized as "dashy" of "snappy" must not look
I^AilXG UL-T THE IA-«Cl^Ii'TiUX
THE AKT OF SHOW CARD AVKlTiXG
LAYIXG OUT THE IXSCKIPTIOA^
THE AKT OF SHOW CARD WKITING
LAYING OUT THE INSCRIPTION 93
like "niacliiiie-made." Printer's type gives the machine-made kind of let-
tering. Type letters always look stiif and clumsy, due entirely to their exact
and perfect, clean-cut proportions and the absolute precision of the outlines.
The hand-made letter is usually easy to distinguish. In it, the .stiff, even,
perfect lines are absent to a large extent. The less the number of strokes used
in the execution of a letter, the more "snappy" it will appear, provided, of
course, you do not carry this idea to extremes. To enable you to understand
the full import of this, we have shown an example of "machine" or type let-
ters in Fig. 63. Next refer to Fig. 64, wherein you will notice an example
made by hand with a No. 8 brush. You will observe that the letters in the
hand-made example are not perfect by any means. Some of the spurs are a
trifle longer than others, and not as square and clean-cut as the "type"
letters. The effect from an artistic viewpoint, however, is much better, as the
letters have the "snappy" effect. They appear to have been executcl easily
and hurriedly. All letters executed rapidly and without the careful, studied,
preliminary preparation (usually seen in the work of the novice) will always
passess the characteristics referred to.
Try, then, to have your work "snappy." Crowd your designs chock
full of "character." Give them a "dash" that will identify them instantly
as the product of an expert. To have your work exemplify these character-
istics, requires a knack that can only be acquired through practice. Don't
give up until you have reached the highest point of perfection in brush
manipulation. Do not forget, however, that the foregoing instructions may
be appropriately applied only to work of a temporary nature. Permanent
signs should always carry a very clean-cut and perfectly proportioned letter.
Japan and Oil Colors. — Cardboard signs for outside purposes should
alwa.ys be lettered with japan or oil colors. Japan colors are those mixed
or ground in japan exclusively. Oil colors are mixed with oil only. Either
kind may be purcha.sed in one-half and one-pound cans of most paint dealers.
Japan colors dry almost as quickly as water colors and should be used only
in .such quantities as may be needed for the time being. They should be
thinned with turpentine. Keep a little turpentine over the top of the color
when not in use. Oil colors can only be used to advantage on cardboard with
a glossy surface. The glazed finish prevents the oil in the color from spread-
ing beyond the letter. If oil colors are used on cardboard withoiit a glazed
surface, the oil in the color will spread, thereby ruining the work. Oil colors
cost about one-half as much as japan colors, and do not dry out and get hard
as do the latter when they are accidentally or carelessly left uncovered.
Always add a liberal quantity of japan dryer (liquid) to oil colors to insure
drying. Thin with turpentine and mix only a small qiiantity at one time.
Oil and japan colors emit a disagreeable odor and are exceedingly dif-
ficult to remove from the hands or anything else on which they are placed,
either intentionally or accidentally. We advise all who are taking up show
card work as a specialty to let them alone entirely. It is seldom that you will
94 THE AKT OF SHOW CARD AVKITING
be asked to exeeute a sinn on wliieh siicli colors are used. Vou will, there-
fore, lost' little by followius this adviee.
Mounting Cardboard. — Halt and full sheet cards, iiitendetl for indefinite
service, will look better and wear longer if mounted on frames made of soft
pine wood. Strips about V2 k^ 1 inch thick will do for the small size. For
whole shi'ets the wood should be two inches by one inch. The frames should
be made with mitred coi'ners. To fasten the card to the frame use sfood.
LAYINCJ OUT THE INSCEIPTION 95
strong glue, liberally applied to the face of the wood. Moisten the back of
the card with a clean sponge, after which give the edge of the back of the
card a coat of glue. The glue should be allowed to stand for several minutes
before the card is placed on the frame, to give the glue a chance to become
tacky. Heavy weights may now be put on the card to keep it in place and
allowed to remain for several hours. "Wetting the cards serves to shrink them.
When they dry out, the surface will be perfectly smooth and taut.
The frame will look more attractive if the exposed edges are given a coat
of color, preferably a medium grey. Gold or silver bronze will also look well.
Another inexpensive finish may be obtained by covering the frame with wall
paper scraps or remnants which may be obtained in endless variety of dealers
simply for the asking. Wall paper may be used for a great many decorative
purposes in the work of the card writer. It is best to finish the card before
it is pasted to the frame. Use care in handling, as the cards are easily soiled
and torn. Keep your hands clean and thereby save lots of trouble.
Circles. — Most card writers have a large wooden compass capable of
drawing a circle at least twent.y-four inches in diameter. Small circles may
be drawn with a regulation drafting instrument with extension attachment.
In the absence of either, a perfect circle (any size desired) may be drawn
with the aid of a piece of string, looped around a nail or thumb tack as
shown in Pig. 65.
To execute a true circle quickly with the brush, drive a pin or nail
through the center of the card and then turn the card to the right and left
several times until it will revolve easily. Next, make a loop at each end of a
stout piece of string ; place one loop over the head of the nail ; fill the brush
with color in the usual manner and pass it through the loop at the other end
of the string, as shown in Fig. 65. Keep the brush in a perfectly upright
position, so that only the point rests on the card. This will insure a fine,
even line. While holding the bru.sh so that the string will be taut, turn the
card to the left until the circle is complete. The size of the circle may be
varied by increasing or decreasing the distance between the loops in the
string. The size of the brush stroke may be increased by slanting the handle
of the brush toward you a trifle, thus allowing the brush to rest on the side
instead of the point.
Border lines are ruled as shown in Fig. 66. Here also the brush is main-
tained in a perpendicular position for fine lines and slanted according to the
width of the strokes desired.
These methods of execution are great time-savers and must be mastered
before you can consider yourself adept. There are a great many "short-cuts"
and tricks of the trade which will be explained as occasion requires, but,
before calling your attention to another one, let us impress this upon you.
To accomplish the most in the least time should be your constant aim. You
can never hope to rank with the best until you have acquired the knack to
do this or that by the quickest method. None of the practical methods are
really difficult ; in fact, they arc comparatively simple tasks. If you are an
THK AKT OF SHOW CAED AVRITINC
average person you will quickly master tlie most tlidieult part of your work,
to-wit: How to space and proportion letters correctly.
The practical part of your education is much the easiest to acquire.
I'ractice will accomplish wonders. All that you need is the spirit: ""l will."
You should not infer from this that years or even months of persistent effort
is necessary to reach a satisfactory stage of profiency. On the other hand,
you will find that the knack necessary in connection with the string methods,
for instance, ean be acquired in just a few minutes of faithful practice.
Don't become discouraged because you fail at the start. Don't quit
because you think the method is too hard. Don't .say to your.self, "I'll
do it my way this time and try the right way later on." Don't make
excuses to yourself. "When you think you have reached the limit of your
patience, and success seems as far away as ever, you will suddenly find that
the knack or ability has come to you unexpectedly, and apparently, without
a moment's warning. To accomplish anything with the hands requires more
or less skill. To pare a potato quickly and without waste is quite a feat and
ean onl.y be accomplished through practice ; yet. how reluctant we would
be to admit that we could not soon become expert at potato peelinu'. The
LAYING OUT THE INSCRIPTION
brain directs, the eye guides and the hand performs. You can soon train
your hand to respond quickly and accurately to the bidding of your brain.
Don't despair, but keep everlastingly at it. Kemeniber you can if you will.
Now note the position of the hand in Fig. 66. You will observe that the
ball of the first joint of the finger rests against the edge of the cardboard,
and that the end of the third finger rests on the top of the card very close
to the edge. The second finger acts as a brace to hold the brush in a steady
position. The top of the card should be raised and held in the left hand
at an ani:lc df aliout forty-five degrees. You then draw the brush rapidly
along the edge. Keep the brush and fingers perfectly rigid. Don't allow
either to relax for an instant. The brush should be held in a vice-like grip.
Just as soon as you can train your hand to maintain a fixed position you will
have acquired this knack.
As already related, a piece of string can be used for drawing circles,
ellipses, and also for executing circles either with brush or pen. This little
inexpensive article is one of the handiest things imaginable in the workroom
(ir pocket of the workman. We will now explain another method of manipu-
lation by which all straight lines may be quickly drawn, obviating the use
THE ART OF SHOW CAKl) WKITING
of measurements and straight edge. This method is one of the greatest time.
savers coneeivable. By it, all vertical and horizontal lines may be drawn in
much less time than it takes to explain it, provided the top or bottom of the
sign is straigld, thus giving it a reliable guide. This is the only requirement.
All lines drawn by the string method will parallel the guide line. To use the
string for this purpose, tie a loop at the end of the string, through which
place a piece of crayon or pencil. Hold the pencil between the thumb and
forefinger. The other end of the string should be held between the thumb
and forefinger of the left hand, as shown in Fig. 67. The thuml) and fore-
finger of the left band sliould be placed lieneath the edge of tlie sifin and
kept in a rigid position. If the under edge of the sign is inaccessible, place
the sign on a ledge .so as to form a right angle with the sign. The fingers
holding the lower end of the string should now be run along, or in, the
groove thus formed. Mark witli dots the points where you desire to draw
the lines, and then begin at the left side of the sign, keeping the string
taut and moving both hands simultaneou.sly to the right. The string must be
kept perfectly perpendicular, otherwise the line will .sag to the right.
Shading". — Tf you Avill study the shading on the letters in many exam-
ples in these lessons you will observe that some of the rules you have been
LAYING OUT THE IXSCElFTlUX
taught have been slightly violated. This is particularly true of the angles, very
few of which are absolutely the same. The ditference is very slight, however,
a.s are all other errors in the execution of the shade. I have said that absolute
precision in card work is not necessary. This applies to the shade as well
as to the letters and all eiiibellishnionts. To execute a shade correctly on
some letters (exactly as the rules prescribe) requires more time than to execute
the letter itself. Our object is to get a good elfect without unneessary
work. If you will refer to Pig. 68 you will notice that tlie shade between
the letters il and A is disconnected. This .shade was made with a flat brush
with one stroke. To join it would necessitate several strokes for it would
ssaiy, on account of the narrow spaee between the lower extremitise
of the letters to use the point instead of the side of the brush. Such liberties
are legitimate, and, if not carried to extremes, tend to give a piece of work
that "dashy" appearance to which I have previously referred. Shading
■should always be done with single strokes as nearly as possilile. TTse the .side
of the brush. Spread the brush so that it will come to a flat or square edge.
THE AKT OF SHOW CAED WETTING
^Vllen the space between the letters will not permit of the full width of the
laush, do as illustrated in Fig. IJl^. AH horizontal and vertical shades may
easily be executed with one stroke. Where the static is continuous as on the
letter / in Fig. 69, both the vertical and horizontal strokes may be executed
without removing the brush from the surface. A shade is a great help to
a poorly written letter, as it serves to hide a great many imperfections that
would otherwise be very noticeable. The relief shade is the most appropriate
for all kinds of temporary work. A very liberal .space should be allowed
lietween the letter and the .shade. Compare Figs. 70 and 71 and note how
much better the effect is when the shade is set well away from the letter.
Soap Lettering' on Mirrors. — Very effective work can be done on mir-
rors with a piece of connuon laundry soap (brown), and the work can be
removed quickly without damage to the gla.ss. Cut a strip of soap about two
inches long, one inch wide and one-half inch thick, and then sharpen one end to
resemble a w.edgc. The gla.ss nuist be i)erfectly clean. U.:o the soap in
exactly the same manner as the flat brush or pen. Considerable pressure is
necessary. Sharpen the point freciuently.
Stencils. — The stencil is a \ery eticctive time-saver when large quanti-
ties (if cards bearing the same inscription are desired. It is used only for the
largest letters in the inscription as a rule — those that cannot be executed
rapidly with a single .stroke. The .stencil is made as follows. Take a piece
of tough, medium-weight manilla paper the size wanted and give both sides
a liberal coat of boiled linseed oil. When the paper is thoroughly saturated,
allow it to dry for at least twenty-four hour.i. Then mark out the entire
design on the prepared paper with a hard lead pencil. Next cut out the
letters as .shown in Fig. 72. The parts that are not cut out are called "ties."
These are necessary to strengthen the weak parts of the pattern. The cutting
is done with a good steel laiife-blade sharpened to a fine point. Cutting
into or through the ties should he avoided. When the stencil is cut, coat
l)oth sides with orange shellac. Then place the stencil on the card in the
desired position and fasten with thumb tacks. To apply the color use a
LAYTXa OUT THE iiNSCElPTlON
luuml, .short bristle brush. Dip only the end of the brush into the color so
as to keej) the t-uhn on the outer surface of the brush. The color should be
luueh thit-ki-r than required for lettering purposes. Pounce the brush up
and down on the stencil until the exposed cardboard is completely covered.
The secret of success is the handling of the brush and color. If the
color is too thin, it will extend beneath and beyond the edges of the letters.
This will also be the case if the color is applied too liberally. When the
stencil is removed, the blank spaces caused b.y the ties may be touched up by
hand. Stencils are of no practical value to the card writer ynless a large
number of signs (all alike) arc wanted. A small niniibcr can easily be exe-
cuted by hanil in less time than is retjuired to make tlie steneil.
Cut-Outs. — Another method that may be used to facilitate the viork of
the card writer, when several cards alike are desired, is somewhat similar to
the stencil plan. This method, however, is only used to mark out the guide
lines quickly. For this purpo.se a pattern, called a "cut-out," is used. The
method is very clearly illustrated in Pig. 73. The sample card is fii\st written,
after which you place a piece of tissue paper over the design and mark
thereon the exact position of the lines representing the limits of the lettering.
Then place the tissue paper on another card the same size as the sample
and trace over the lines with a hard pencil. The indentation made by the
pencil may be plaiidy seen when the paper is removed. The space showing
the position of the lettering is then cut out with a sharp knife as shown.
You may next place the cut-out on any number of cards and make a duplicate
of the pattern by running a soft piece of charcoal around the edges of the
cut-out spaces. This method is pojinlar because it insures uniformity in all
duplicates and also because the pattern can be made in a few moments.
Plain Cards.— In Fig. 74 is illustrati'd tiie most papular style of card for
commercial v.ork, i. e., v.hite witli black lettering. It is the most suitable
for any line of business, and can lie depended upon to give satisfaction nine
times out of ten. Plain cards are the most desirable. Black and white is
the sti'ongest contrast obtainable. The main thing to look after in all classes
THE AKT OF SHUW CAKD AVKITING
of sign work is legibility. This requirement is often neglecteel. Rarely indeed
will you hear a customer complain because your work is too plain, or because
of an absence of ornamental flourishes. A sign that cannot be read at a
glance hardly deserves the name.
Very few are attracted by ornate features on a piece of work. No matter
how nicely a card is lettered, it can be rendered absolutelj' worthless by a
superfluous amount of scroll work. Be very conservative in the matter of
fancy lettering. Study the examples herewith and you will observe that the
fancy letters are used almost exclusively in the small or unimportant lines.
Fancy combinations of letters are not the most telling by any means, although
something de])cnds upon the purpose in view. A card advertising your own
business (card writing) might quite apjiropriately be very decorative — much
more so than that of a dealer in dry goods or groceries.
Again, the surroundings should always be considered. Suppose, as an
example, that you are requested to make a card to be used in connection with
a display of artists' materials or millinery. The lettering should, in any
case, be very legible, but you could carry the ornamental work almost to
extremes without any fear of criticism whatever. Furthermore, the elaborate
character of the ornamental w'ork would be in keeping with the surroundings,
and perhaps also in harmony with the inscription.
To recapitulate: the general tendency of all sensible letterers is to suji-
press ornamentation and avoid unnecessary details, keeping Init one ]ioint
in view, viz., pure simiilicity. Always remember those who will be asked to
read your signs — the public, ^lake your signs legible.
LAYING OUT THE INSCRIPTION 103
i ry Our
What to Charge
The average beginmT is just as much in the dark as to what his work
is worth, wlien completed, as he is with the various other subjects in this
business. In truth, few scholars have the faintest idea as to what to charge
for their services. The general tendency is to quote too low instead of
As a large majority of stutleuts are capable of executing a satisfactory
piece of work for a bona fidv purpose before their training is completed,
this is just the time and place to refer to thi.s very important matter.
Before the author had been fairly started in his chosen vocation, his
esteemed employer gave some wholesome advice which has never been for-
gotten. Tt was very terse and contained a world of meaning. This is what
111' said: "Always be sure to charge enough. Kemcmljcr it is easier to come
dnwn than to go up."
This is a very old saying, and like most old sayings, full of sensible
advice. Learn it by heart and never let it slip your memor}". It means
IMacc a value on your work that will give you a satlsfdcfuri/ profit; one
cnmmensurati' with your ability. If necessity reciuires, you can always modify
your cliarue a trifle. Init you will find it an exceedingly ditlicrit matter to
advance the price, if, through an. error, due either to ignorance or careless-
ness, you make your fir.st price too low. Many diplomatic and logical excuses
may br ( ffered in defenre of the high price; but few for the low.
A fixi d scale of prices to govern all kinds of sign w(irk has been adopted
in some places, but the result.s have been far from satisfactory. If space
permitted and it seemed necessary, it would be possible to name one hundred
good reasons why the product of the sign painter cannot be catalogued and
listed till' same as most manufactured articles. Attention is called to the
most imi>ovtant i-easons, the first of which is this: The inscription cannot he
forrtdhl. The actual time necessary to execute, cannot, therefore, be pre-
dieti'd imr rstimated. Time is the most expensive item in the cost of any
piece of woi'k. Tf signs were divided into classes, that is, made only in regula-
tion sizes to carry a certain number of letters and finished in a pre-arranged
manner, it would be an ea.sy matter to solve the price problem. But this
is not the case, and perhaps never will be.
The price of anythiim- made by hand must be governed by the time
WHAT TU CHARGE
<^EA€ON 1808 -'09
wMIe they last
106 THE AKT OF SHOW CAKU AVRITJNG
required to mauiifaeture it. The materials are a secondary consideration
iu nearly every t-ase. Signs exist in endless variety. Hardly any two are
alike. " Scarcely any two carry the same reading matter. Seldom will the
size of any two agree. Very rarely is the finish the same. Sign.s are painted
on almost every conceivable material. They are made in all kinds of shapes,
in nearly every size imaginable, on every surface possible to paint. Thus
it is very difficult to estimate the cost of a sign until you arc in po.ssession
of complete and explicit details relative thereto.
With the card writer the price problem is not so serious for the reason
that the work is not so varied as that of the sign painter. In the first place,
the materials used are nearly the same the year round and the sizes are
limited. The cost of material is, comparatively, an uniin])ortant item, and,
therefore, when you have learned to estimate the probable time necessary to
execute a certain word, a certain size, you will need no advice from anyone
thereafter, as you will then be able to judge the time necessary to execute
any ordinary inscription.
Now remember this: Charge for your ability — not for material. It is
not meant by this that you should ignore the cost of material, but rather, that
the card and all other more or less expensive eml)ellishments, such as flitter,
artificial flowers, etc., are but trivial items as compared with your time.
Insist upon a written copy in every in.stance. Never estimate the cost of a
sign until you know the reading matter that is to be placed on it. Decide
on a just remuneration for your labor and stick to it. Good workmen get
good prices. Wherever this rule does not apply, there will be found a
mitigating reason; usually uvrrlinhiJiftj. Cheap prices and cheap workmen
can usually be found linked together.
You cannot hope to obtain all your work is worth through quality alone.
There are other things to be considered. The first is promptness, which really
means reliability. You will learn very soon that the world is full of people
ready and willing to pay, and pay well, for }•< liable service. Business men
will not tolerate excuses. They insist upon a close adherence to promises. Be
prompt. Never disappoint. Don't make a promise that you cannot fulfill.
By co7nbining good work with reliable service you are in a position to ask
more, and reasonably expect more, for your product.
Now, as to a fair price for your work at this stage of your studies, it
is unnecessary to state that the novice cannot reasonably or consistently expect
to charge as much per hour or per day as the expert, because of the fact
that he cannot accomplish as much in a given time. Therefore, until you
have acquired the average speed, it will be necessary to govern your charges
accordingly. Thus, if the expert is remunerated at a certain rate per hour,
your labor would be worth one-half, one-quarter or one-third as much accord-
ing to the skill you have developed. This is a matter I must, thei'efore, leave
entirely to your own judgment.
^Members of the lettering fraternity are agreed that .$1.00 is a fair etiuiva-
lent for an hour of work. This remuneration is based on steady employment
and a business of your own. Tt should not bo confused with an equitable
WHAT TO CHARGE 107
wage, which is only about half of this amount, thereby allowing- for tixed
expenses and a fair protit on your labor to your employer.
A piece of work that requires an hour of your time is thus worth $1.0U;
one-half hour, $U.5U ; one-quarter hour, $0.25. The. latter price is the limit
to which the rule may be pro-rated. I have always contended that it was
worth at lea.st the modest sum of twenty-five cents even to prepare for a
certain piece of work. This means that you should make it a rule to obtain
at least this amount for anj' piece of work irrespective of style, inscription,
or purpose. If your customer is not inclined to agree with you, make no
ehaige whatever, but present it to him with your compliments and try to make
up the small loss at some other time when it will not be noticed. The smaller
the .job, the greater the price should be proportionately. There is but very
little difference in the time required to execute a word on a small or a large
card, thus the small card is worth as much or nearly the same as the large
one. This brings us right back to the beginning of this subject, "Charge for
your work and not for material."
Cards for ordinary business purposes iiveruge about the same all the
time. Thus you could safely undertake to make all the cards desired by a
certain firm or individual for pre-arranged price per sheet or fi'action thereof,
with the proviso that the style is uniform, or, as mutually agreed upon.
The cards shown in Figs. 12 and 16 represent the plain or average kind.
These may be contracted for in advance, regardless of the probable inscription,
for the prices given below :
Full Sheets $ .75
Half Sheets 50
Quarter Sheets '25
Eighth Sheets 15
These prices are based on quantity lots (not alike) ; that is, on the
assumption that you are to receive a certain amount of work in a specified
time. You should ask the transient or occasional buyer about twenty-five
per cent, more than the steady or regular customer.
The prices above represent the minimum. They are as low as you can
execute any kind of satisfactory work and make a fair profit. You now
have something to guide you. This is as far as we can go into this subject
for the reasons previously given. Fancy signs are worth just as much more in
proportion to the work and material necessary to produce them. In addition
to the explanation of the examples in the following pages, we have placed a
value on each. If, after reading the preceding advice, you are .still in doubt
as to what to charge for a certain piece of work, compare it to a similar one
herewith and charge accordingly. The price problem will not worry you for
a great while. You know what your ability is worth. You also know better
than anyone what you will be satisfied with. Don't be a clicap man.
Examples and Methods
Plain Cards. — On Fig. 74, you will find four cards illustrated represent-
ing the limit of simplicity. Note how nicely they read and how the orna-
mentation is subdued. These cards are those referred to as the "average"
kind. They are done in black and gray exclusively. The illustrations are
exact duplicates of the originals, both in style and color. The small lettering
was executed with a No. 8 show card brush, and the large lettering with
a No. 12. Gray is a combination of white and black. A M-arm gray can be
obtained by adding a little red to black and white. Blue and white, with
a little red added, also makes a very handsome gray, or neutral tint. The
shading you will note is done exclusively in the relief style.
On Fig. 75, are four examples showing the efifect that nuiy be produced
by using various colored cardboards. These cards are also the ])lain or
average variety. Observe particularly the card with the black ground and
pure white letter. Note the absence of ornamental work, and the strong
contra.st. Some firms iise this style of sign exclusively. Others select the
plain white card with a pure red or black letter, without ornamental embellish-
ments. Your attention is called to the large, "roomy" margin that is .shown
in these examples: and. in fact, in nearly all other examples. The combina-
tion of colors shown in these cards, i. e., white, black and gray, produces
a very neat and dignified appearance. This combination can always be
used without fear of criticism. It is, therefore, very popular. In the "Chil-
dren's Wear" sign, the bright red could be substituted for white in the
upper line. This would tend to attract attention and give more prominence
to the display line. The underlining on the "Fashion" sign, if done in I'ed,
would serve to emphasize or give force to the inscription. Presuming that
all of these examples represent full sheets their commercial value would be
75 cts. each, and parts of sheets as previously quoted.
Poster Embellishments. — The pictures on the examples in Fig. 60
(including the "Auto" on the "Columbia" sign) were clipped from maga-
zines and newspapers. They not only enhance the artistic eflPect, but convey
a very clear idea of the inscription. The style of the "Columbia" sign
.suggests the use of black, white and blue only in order to obtain tlv cold
effect that predominates throughout. The center of the letters in the word
"Columbia" could, however, be shown in a bright red with effective results.
Blue would harmonize with the surroundings as it is a cold color.
EXAMPLES AND METH(_)Ln
THE ART OF SHO\Y CAKl) WRITING
EXAMPLES AND METHODS
THE ART OF SHOW CAKD WRITING
EXAMPLES AXD METHUUS
114 THE AKT OF 8H()W CARD AVKITIXG
The oruamental features in the "Toggery" sign, if done on a grej' ground,
should be either a light shade of grey or a very light shade of green. A
blue-green outline around the lower paiiel would look well, provided the
lettering is done in bright red. A pretty shade of light green can be obtained
by adding just a small amount of chrome green (light) to pure white.
IMue-grecn i.s a iiiixture of blue and green. This can lie toned with white
to obtain lighter shades.
The "Outing" sign should.be done in warm colors — these suggesting the
summer r.ionths — an orange letter outlined with white would look beautiful.
For the bhiek ornamentation shown in the example, substitute a dark brown,
and for the remainder of the ornamentation use a lemon yellow. Light green
is suggested for the small lettering. Lemon yellow is a mixture of chrome
yellow (light) and white. Brown is made by combining red and black.
These examples represent the first .step beyond simplicity. The addition of
the 1)0 -iter embelli.shment makes them worth a little more than the plain
variety; full sheets (plain poster embellishment"). -$1.00; halves, cjuarters and
eighths in proportion.
Figs. 76, 77 and 78 .show tlie extremes to Avhich the poster idea may be
carried. : Thc-e dc-igns are very elaborate, and therefore suitable only for
rare oeeasior". The pictures on these examples were also cut from news-
paper advertisements and ])astcd on the cards. The "Clothes" example
worild look very hnndsome if executed in various shades of grey, black and
white, or in other word^, exactly like the cut. Yarioi;s shades of blue could
be .substitr.ted •"ith equal effectiveness. The "Duds" and "Spring" signs
could be treat(Yl in a like manner. Signs similar to these are worth not less
than sf'LSO each. The example .shown in Pig. 59 is a very beautiful specimen.
The picture was clipped from a popular magazine. This example illustrates
the splendid effects that can be obtained by the use of appropriate posters.
Kaised Panels. — Raised panels give the woik a veiy artistic appear-
ance. Such panels may be either pasted onto the card or secured with brass
fasteners, as illustrated in Fig. 79. When a panel is u.scd. you should be
careful to combine the colors harmoniously. Two shades of the same color
are the most suitable. Thu.s a dark grey on a bliiek card wov.ld he a good
combination. Also a dark green on a light green: light blue on dark blue:
bright red on dark red, etc. Panels may be either very plain or ornamental
in design, as illustrated in Figs. 80. 81. 82. 88, 84 and 85. Rai.sed panel
cards are Avorth about the same as those decorated with posters.
Wall Paper Decoration. — Wall paper can be used in all manner of ways
for the decoration of cardboard signs. There is but one precaution that
sliould h:' olisci-vcd, and that is to to select light colors. Unless you are careful
to observe this precaution the ornamental work will overshadow the iu.scrip-
tion. The examples shown in Figs. 49 and 50 are thoroughly representative
of what may be nccomiilished by this method. In a previous article it was
explained 1'ow thr jiaper should Ite pasted onto the card. The prices you
EXAMPLES AND METHODS
THE ART OF SHOW CAED WRITING
EXA.AIPLES AXD AIETHODS
THE ART OF SHOW GAEL) WRITINc;
EXAMPLES AND METHODS
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EXAMPLES AND METHODS 121
should obtain for this style of work woukl be the same as those for poster
pmbellishmcnts, as the method is almost identical.
Blended triound. — The effect shown in Fi^- ^'i is called blended or
tinted ground work. There are several ways of producing this effect. For
fine work, the air brush is the most suitable. The ordinary way is to place
a little dry color on the card and then, with a wad of cotton enclosed in a
piece of cheesecloth, rub the color briskly in a circular, vertical, horizontal
or zig-zag direction, according to the style of decoration desired. If the
cardboard is smooth and the color is perfectly dry, it is possible to ol)tain
a very even, smooth effect. Some colors are much stronger than others. Just
a little experience will demonstrate the quantit.y to use. Another method
is similar to the spatter work method, which will be explained later. The
ground-work should always be very light ; in fact, it is impossible to make
it very dark by this method. You can obtain very beautiful effects by com-
bining several colors. Thus a combination of prussian blue, chrome green and
chrome yellow will make a very attractive effect. Tinted ground cards may
be classified with the poster variety, relative to price.
Mat Borders. — Figs. 87 and 88 illustrate the handsome eft'ect that may
be obtained through the use of heavy mat borders. The inner card is pasted
onto the back of the mat jind can, therefore, be removed from time to time
and other cards substituted. Mat borders make an excellent frame-work
for the card and give to it a very substantial and durable appearance. In
Fig. 88, the corners are decorated with raised work. This raised effect is
obtained by the use of the air pencil. This is another method that will be
fully explained hei-eafter. A proper combination of colors should always
be kept in mind the same as explained for raised panels. Some card writers
furnish mat frames to their regular cu.stomers without charge, or, in other
words, loan them only. When sold outright, add enough margin above cost
to give you a fair profit. If they are embellished or decorated, charge pro-
Spatter Work. — The dotted or spattered effects shown in Figs. 89 and
90 may 1>e obtained by two methods. You will notice that the backgrounds
of the examples are covered with specks or dots of various sizes. One method
is to use an old tooth brush. This you dip into color and then shake the
brush until it does not drip. Hold the brush with the bristle side within six
or eight inches of the card. Now draw a small stick (a match or a tooth-
pick will ansAver) acro.ss the bristles. You repeat this until the entire sur-
face, or such part of the sign as you desire decorated, is spattered. In Fig, 90
an old piece of lace curtain was fastened to the card with thumb tacks after
which the above method was used to ol)tain the effect illustrated. Leaves, let-
ters or any other design may be cut from heavy paper and laid flat on the
The other method is as follows : Use an old tooth brush, as .stated above,
322 THE Airr (_)F .SllUW L'AUO AVKlTlXtJ
EXA^MPLES AXD METHODS
T- rat /'jSosDc^ L^y
124 THE ART OF SHOW CAKL) AVKITIXG
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THE AKT UF SHOAV CAKD WKITING
EXAMPLES AXl) METHODS 127
ife_ . -
THE ART OF SHOW CAKD WRITING
EXAMPLES AND METHODS 12!)
but instead of a stick, substitute a piece of ordinary wire window netting.
Dip the brusli into the paint and then draw the bristles across the netting.
These methods are very inexpensive and the effect can be produced by anyone
after a little practice. The time necessary to execute a card in this manner
ought to be about the same as for raised panel and poster embellishments ;
hence, the price should be the same. The colors for spatter work should be
selected according to the foregoing advice referring to blended grounds.
Pen Knife Decoration. — The effect shown in Fig. 91 can be produced by
fir.st sketching the design desired on the cardboard with a piece of soft char-
roal, after which run the point of a sharp knife along the outlines of the
design very lightly. The blade should not be allowed to penetrate the card
more than the smallest fraction of an inch — just sufficient to lift the glazed
surface a trifle. This is a novel and very attractive style of decoration, and,
like the others previously explained, can be accomplished without much trou-
ble or time and with little preliminary practice. Cards of this style should
be quoted at the same rates as the raised panel variety.
Diamond Dust Decoration. — Fig. 48 is an example of diamond dust
decoration. You will observe that the letters have been done in grey. This
was necessary in order to give prominence to the diamond dust in the cut,
and not to obtain the best effect. Diamond dust will always show to the best
advantage if the lettering on which it is placed is pure white. The white
letter adds to the snow effect. Diamond dust on white produces the appear-
ance of erystalized ice. Blues and greens are the most suitable colors to use
in connection with this material for card work. This is because both are cold
colors and thei'efore harmonize with the general effect. Diamond dust deco-
ration may be classified the same as knife decoration and charged for
Fig. 92 shows a design for a Christmas card withoiit diamond dust deco-
ration. This card could be made more attractive by pasting a picture of
Santa Claus in the panel where the date is now shown. By edging the holly
leaves with diamond dust, the effect would be very realistic. A color com-
bination for this example is as follows:
Background Very light blue.
Holly Leaves Light shades of green tipped with diamond
Berries Bright red with high lights of pure white.
TH1-: ART OF SHOW C'AIM) WKITIXG
> \ .'« • < ^
EXAMPLES AND METHODS 131
Pig'. 93 illustrates a handy device for applying mucilage to cards that
are to be decorated with diamond dust, flitter, etc. The cut is just one-half
actual size. The instrument is a glass tube with a small opening at one end
through which the mucilage flows freely but slowly. The adhesive may be
a]iplied much quicker and more accurately with this instrument than with the
Air Pencil. — Fig. 94 is an example of the work that may be accom-
plished by the use of this simple little instrument. You probably have but
a vague idea of how the rai.sed letters are made. It is very simple after yon
know how, nuich like anything else that puzzles you. The air pencil is illus-
trated in Fig. 95. It is simi>ly a large rubber bulb with a nozzle (funnel-
shaped) attachment. You fill the bulb with a mixture of whiting and glue.
A little experience will demonstrate just the proper consistency to have the
mixture. If too thin, it ^V'ill run or spread: if too thick, it will refuse to
flow from the point of the funnel.
After the bulb has been filled with the mixture, screw on the nozzle, and
it is ready for use. First mark out the ornamentation and the letter lightly.
You then hold the bulb in the palm of the right hand and regulate the flow
of the composition by the pressure on the bulb. Signs made in this mannei'
are exceedingly attractive and excite considerable comment. The composition
may be decorated In a variety of ways. When this is done, diamond dust,
flitter or bronze, etc., should be applied before the composition dries. After
it is dry, dust ofi^ the superfluous material. The air pencil should be thor-
oughly cleaned with warm water after using.
Various tints or colors may be made by mixing dry colors with the com-
position. The work may be done on wood or glass or any other surface. The
air pencil is manipulated almost exactly the same as an ordinary pen or
lead pencil, the letterinnr being produced wholly by pressure on the bulb in
the hand of the operator. The work is fascinating and may be executed vei\v
rapidly. The air pencil is u.^ed for other styles of decorations, such as raised
work on flower pots, vases, picture frames, etc. The material is very inex-
pensive. Whiting (the compound) can be purchased at three to five cents
per pound. This .style of work is worth about the same as plain cards.
Atomizer Decoration. — The examples shown in Figs. 96 and 97 repre-
sent work produced with the aid of the atomizer. By comparing these exam-
ples with Figs. 102 and 10,3 (air brush work), you will notice a decided dif-
ference. As previously stated, the atomizer will not begin to produce the
THE ART OF SHOW CAKD WRITING
results that, may be obtained with the air brush. The method of procedure
is exactly the same as for spatter work, i. e., cut out the design desired and
secure it to the cardboard, after which spray the backgrouud with ink. Card>
made by this process are worth about double the plain or average kind.
Perforated Signs. — Perforated signs may more appropriately b(
"tranpsarcnt " signs. They are designed especially for night display
will, however, serve the purpose of the average card for day display.
of this kind are made as follow^ : First letter the card in the usual manner,
just the same as though it were intended for ordinary purposes. When it is
finished and dry, punch holes in the letters, through the cardboard, as illus-
tratetl in Fig. 98. Dies of various sizes are used for this purpose and may
be obtained from any hardware dealer. The card should be placed on a solid
foundation while the holes are being cut.
When the perforations are made, you then paste colored tissue paper
over the back of the card. Foil paper in various colors may also be used.
The sign is placed in a conspicuous positimi and a strong light put back of it.
At niuht the i>erfoi-ated letters and figures will appear to be illuminated.
EXAMPLES AND METHODS
Full sheet cards with an ordinary amorint of reading matter are worth $2.00;
halves, quarters, etc., in proportion. It is not advisable to perforate all the
letters; simply those that represent the display or important part of the
inscription. (See Fig. 98.)
Artificial Flowers.— Figs. 99, 100 and 101 illustrate, better than can be
described, the very beautiful effects that may be obtained through the use of
artificial flowers. The examples speak for themselves. Artificial flowers are
very inexpensive. In the examples, a bunch, or nearly a bunch, is used to
decorate each of the specimens. This, however, is unnece.ssary. A bunch
can be used to decorate several cards, thus reducing the expense. It is super-
tluous to add that they may be used effectively on any style of card. This
being the case, simply add the cost of the flowers and the time required to put
them on, to ascertain the price.
Air Brush. — The air brush, illustrated in Fig. 44, is still in its infancy.
Its growth has been slow on account of its novelty. It is now used for all
classes of designing. The air brush handles all liqi^id colors and distributes
on every surface. In addition to card signs, it may be used for coloring maps
or geological .surveys ; also in decorations on silk, china, porcelain, glass,
albumen, etc. It is recognized as a legitimate tool for the artist. The me-
chanical contrivance will furnish a constant, uniform current of air for
carrying the liquid color, and the means of controlling this current is oper-
THE AET (.)F .SH()W CARD WEITIXG
EXAMPLES AND METHODS 135
atea by the slightest pressure of the thumb and tlio least movement of the
hand or wrist of the artist.
The color is thrown on the surface with the rapidity of a jet of com-
pressed air. The air brush has heretofore been used almost exclusively by
portrait artists and for applying lithographers' ink to stone. ^There is no
liquid pigment which cannot be applied with it. The work done" by the air
brush possesses diffusive qualities, naturally inclining to soft outlines, and a
shadow produced by it, however deep, is transparent in itself, being illumi-
nated b.y minute interstices. The air brush, by its wonderful rapidity, ren-
ders practical and immediate results possible.
Figs. 102 and 103 are excellent examples of plain air brush work. To
obtain similar eft'ccts, it is first necessary to cut out a pattern of paper or
cardboard and attach it to the surface in the manner described for spatter
work. You are then ready to use the air brush. There is scarcely any limit
to which the shading may not be carried. You will observe that the letiers
appear to stand right out from the background. Delicate shading may be
accomplished with the air brush much quicker and more effectively than by
any other method. It is a very difficult matter to give an adequate idea as
to how to charge for work of this kind. All depends upon the design.
Flower Designs. — Fig. 101 illustrates a large number of practical flower
designs. It will require but a glance for you to note that they are not by
any means exact nor correct floral specimens. They are designed with but
one object in view; i. e., speed and effectiveness. You will note also that there
is an entire absence of detail and shaded effects. A spray of flower decoration
always adds to the appearance of any piece of work. Fig. 105 is a plain
example of flower decoration and Fig. 106 a more elaborate design, showing
how some of the examples may be used for decorative purposes.
Ribbon Designs. — Ribbons are used very frequently in the work of the
card writer. To have the greatest artistic and commercial value they should
be devoid of straight, accurate lines to a certain degree. The examples show-n
in Fig. 107 give an excellent idea of the effect that may be obtained without
shading. Ribbons may be twisted and curled in endless shapes and designs.
Have them graceful to an extreme. Avoid straight severe-looking lines.
Fancy Capitals. — The fancy letters illustrated in Figs. .57 and 58 are
surrounded with ornamentation of a practical sort. The word "practical" in
this sense means easy to duplicate and execute^. It is unnecessary to state
that any of these lestters may be transposed, or their position changed, with
equal effectiveness. Thus the A, if placed on the panel whereon B is now
shown, would look fully as well. Fancy capitals may be used with good taste
in most inscriptions. By softening, or .subduing, the colors used for the
background or ornamental work, the effect will always be equal to the example
shown in Fig. 108.
THE ART OF SHOW CAED WRITING
EXAMPLES AND METHODS
THE AKT OF SHOW CARD AVKITING
JilXAMPi.Ji,tS AND METHODS
Cuts on this pacie ftirnishrd hii courtcsii of Pnasclie Air Brush Co., CMcacio. III.
Ml illustrations made entirely with the Air Brnsh and Aid of Stencil.s.
Pigs. 102 and 103.
THE ART UF SHOW CAl^D WlJlTiXU
EXAMPLES AND METHODS
142 THE ART UF SHOW CAKD AVKITIXG
EXAMPLES AND METHODS
144 THE AKT OF SHOW CARD WEiTiXG
The cai-d writer who uses good taste and judgment in the selection of
colors, embellishments, etc., can depend upon his efforts being appreciated and
liberally rewarded. Few card writers seem to have a comprehensive under-
standing of what "seasonable" decoration implies. To make this perfectly
plain, we will call attention to a poor example observed some time ago in
connection with an elaborate display of hammocks. The window in wliicb
the hammocks were displayed was very tastefully decorated. The arrange-
ment of the articles was designed to create a feeling of contentment and ease.
In the window were several card signs calling attention to the goods displayed
and giving prices. .In the center of the window a very large card had been
placed bearing the inscription "KEEP COOL." AH of the cards were a
very bright red. The effect was, therefore, paradoxical. Red is a warm, in
fact, it would be more fitting to say a "red-hot" color. The skill and art of
the window trimmer w-as, therefore, completely ruined by the poor judgment
of the card w-riter. The card should have been white, light green or Ijlue,
thus being in keeping w-ith the feeling suggested by the goods and the word
ing of the sign.
Examples of bad judgment similar to this can be seen daily. You should
make it a rule to have your ornamental work and colors symbolical. In the
following pages and examples are pointed out and explained various kinds
of deconative work and colors appropriate for the seasons.
January. — In northern latitudes Januaiy represents tlie montli of snow,
ire and low temperature. The decoration should harmonize with existing
conditions. Note the effect in Fig. 109, where the design is so simple that
the time consumed in executing did not exceed twenty minutes. The land-
scape effect is produced with white exclusively, ilany suitable pictures can
be obtained from magazines and newspapers, especially during this season
of the year. Clip them out and reproduce them, being careful to select
those that are simple and easy to duplicate. The coloi's most suitable are
white, black and various shades of green and blue.
February. — February is not unlike January with i-egard to general
conditions. This is the month of all /months with wliicli we should be familiar.
The 22nd day of February commemorates the liirtli of the illustrious George
THE ART OF SHOW CAED WEITING
THE ART OF SHOW CAED WEITING
150 THE AET OF SHOW CARD WRITING
152 THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
Wasliingtou. All have heard the story of the ill-fated cherry tree. The deco-
ration at the bottom of the example in Pig. 110 is thus quite appropriate.
The snow and ii-e effect is appropriate for this month also.
March. — Thi> weather conditions in March are much the same as the
preecdins nimith. This month is characterized by severe windstorms and
heavy rainfalls. The examide shown in Fig. Ill is very fitting, and illus-
trates a very eonunon occurrence.
April. — Like most of the months of the calendar year, April is con-
spicuous because it brings to mind a period in the world's hi.story with which
all civilized people are cognizant, i. e., Easter, commemorating the Resur-
lection. The Easter Lily (or Davis Lily) may therefore be used for decora-
tive purposes. Chicks peeping from bur.sted shells and egg designs in bright
colors are also appropriate and legitimate for this season of the year. Purple,
lilac, violet and white are Easter colors. Fig. 112 is a handsome example
of Ai)ril decoration.
May. — The ceremonies that are universally ol)S(n"ved in this month, are
looked forward to by every patriotic citizen of the United States. The 30th
of Hay (Decoration Day) is the day on which loyal Americans pay tribute to
their departed heroes. Flags, bunting, wreaths and other national emblems
may, therefore, be used for decorative purposes after this month. The colors
should be patriotic, i. e., i-ed, white and blue. The design in Fig. 113 is fairly
June. — June is known as the month of roses, therefore the style
of the design illustrated in Fig. 114. Roses and, in fact, flowers of any kind,
are exceedingly difficult to duplicate in natural colors. For card purposes,
we eliminate details and shading and obtain harmonious results through the
use of broad, effective strokes. June is the month when nature begins to take
on new clothing. The trees bud and the grass begins to shoot from its winter
quarters. At this season of the year, nature may be appropriately represented
by a medium shade of green. Later on, the folia.ge, grass etc., assume a darker
shade of green. Green is the complementary color of red. Jlost roses are red.
Therefore, red and green may be used very appropriatly for the month of
July. — "We all know what happens in July. Some of us know to our
sorrow. July in most parts of the United States is given over to a general
celebration of a great national event with which all of us are familiar. The
shield, the eagle (the national bird), the American flag, all sorts of explosives
(firecrackers, torpedoes, etcl, such as are used to give vent to our enthusiasm,
may be classified as legitimate decorative designs for the month of July. The
colors must be in harmony with the decoration, red, white and blue. Fig. 115
is an appropriate example.
154 THE AKT OF SHOW CARD WRITING
THE ABT OF SHOW CARD WKITING
THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
SEASONABLE DECORATION I5f)
August. — August has been appropriately termed "vacation month."
This and the following month represent the time of the year that is usually
devoted to recreation b.y those who can aiford it. Boats, giuis, fishing rods,
books, hammocks, fans and other articles that conduce to rest, recreation,
pleasure and similar enjoyment may be used to exemplify thi.s season as shown
in Pig. 116. Cool colors are most appropriate, i. e., blue and green.
September. — September marks the beginning of the cooler months.
This is the month when Nature begins to disrobe. The foliage turns from
a bright green to a light yellow, and from this to an orange, and then to
bright red. This is the season designated as the most beautiful time of the
year; the time when Nature is at her very best. In Fig. 117 is shown the
effect of falling leaves. In all the designs exemplifying the various seasons,
we have avoided detail and studied, laborious effects, the object being to make
each example as simple and as easy to duplicate as possible. The work should
he suggestive rather than exact. This idea is fully carried out in the design
representing the month of September.
October. — October is very similar to the montii of Septciiil)rr. The
apple design in Fig. 118 is very appropriate. Of course, all beginnei's arc
not competent nor capable of executing a correct drawing of fruits gathered
in the fall months. Here, again, is an opportunity to call attention to the
value of poster embellishments. If you cannot duplicate the fruit decora-
tion in color, select and cut out an appropriate design from your collection
of posters and paste it on in an artistic manner. Grapes or any other late
fruit will answer. Colors for the fall months should be those given in the
preceding article, i. e., various shades of brown, yellow, orange and reel.
November. — November offers an opportunity for several styles of em-
bellishment. In some parts of the United States, it is known as "Foot Ball"
month. It is universally known as Thanksgiving month. You, therefore,
have your choice between pennants, football, turkeys, cranberries, etc. This
montli usually marks the beginning of winter in earnest, and, therefore, an
entire absence of all bright colors in nature. Combinations of cold colors arc
thus seasonable. Fig. 119 illustrates some of the features mentioned.
December. — December is the month that brings joy to the youngster
and more or less pleasure to all. As it is entirely unnecessary even to men-
tion the style of decoration most appropriate for this month, we will simply
call attention to Fig. 120, which will suffice. The most suitable colors are red
In naming the colors appropriaite for the various months, we have made
some statements, such as "combinations of red and green." which may be
misleading. Where certain colors are designated (red and green, for instance,)
as appropriate, it is not meant that you .should confine your combinations
to these t,wo colors exclusively: neither is it meant that you should shade a
160 THE AKT OF SHOW CAKD WRITING
red letter with green nor that you should show a red letter on a white card
with green ornamentation. The colors suggested should predonmiate. Never
lose sight of the fact that all ornamtntal colore should be subordinated. The
combination suggested in connection with Pig. 92 will give you an exact and
comprehensive undei'standing with regard to this matter.
Autumn Decoration. — The example illustrated in Fig. 121 is a good speci-
men of seasonal lie decoration. Here you will notice a pleasing combination
of grajies and [lunipkiiis and also an absence of detail, thus rendering the
execution simple and rapid.
Panels and Tickets
Fig. 122 illustrates some very handsome and attractive panel designs, all
of which may be classed among the practical kind. Panels, either painted or
cut out and pasted onto the card, serve many purposes in the work of the
card writer. They may be used for display words or to carry the unimpor-
tant part of an inscription with equal effectiveness.
Price Tickets. — Price tickets exist in almost endless variety-. Thei'e is
scarcely any limit to the style or design that may be used for pricing various
commodities. The many examples shown in Figs. 123 to 127 offer ample
opportuuitj" for the study of various effects and methods. Those in Fig. 123
illustrate the extremely plain and simple models. Blank cards, in fancy
designs, such as 1, 3 and 8, can be purchased ready made. The others in this
figure may be cut by hand with reasonable speed. When a large quantity
is desired, however, it is not advisable to attempt to cut fancy shapes with a
pair of shears. Examples 5, 6 and 7, you will observe, have a stem. These
stems are used to fasten them to the article displayed. This may be done by
passing the stem through the band of a hat, for instance, or in the hollow of
a shoe. The illustrations are about one-eighth the size of the average price
ticket. Price tickets range from a very .small size up to 12 inches square.
The average size is about 8 by 4 inches. To give you an idea how price
tickets may be decorated in various ways, we will suggest a combination for
each (Pig. 123) in their numerical order:
No. 1 Edge line, gold ; border line, gray ; letters, black.
No. 2 Edge line, light blue: lettering, dark blue.
No. 3 Border line, gold ,■ lettering, black.
No. 4 Border, gold ; lettering, bright red.
No. 5 Edge line, light green ; letters, red : shade, lisxht green.
No. 6 Edge line, red : lettering, blaek.
No. 7 Edge line, gold : lettering, dark blue.
No. 8 Border lines, gray; shade, gray: letters, black.
No. 9 Border line, lilae : letters, purple.
No. 10 Border, light green; letters, dark green.
No. 11 Return, light green, border line, light green: letters,
bright red ; shade, gray.
THE ART OF SHoAV CAKJ) AVEITING
PANELS AND TICKETS
THE AET OF SHOW CAED WEITING
^ — /^i ,f.
'-i^'- i.. *' Ai.,.Ala». »
PANELS AXI) TICKETS
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PANELS AND TICKETS 167
Fig-. 124 .shows a variety of odd sliapes. Pleasing color L-ombinations art
as follows :
No. 1 Border, silver; lettering, blaek.
Xo. 2 Border, gold; scroll, light green; lettering, black.
No. 3 Border, old gold; lettering, brown; shade, gray.
No. 4 Background and stripes, light blue ; lettering, dark
blue ,■ shade, white.
No. 5 Edge line and border line, gold; spray of flowers,
several shades of green ; lettering, olive green.
No. 6 Border, lilac; figure, purple; face shade, blue; let-
No. 7 Edging, green ; lettering, blue ; scroll, gray.
No. 8 Edging, gray; lettering, black.
No. 9 Edge line and border, light blue; lettering, black.
No. 10 Border, gold; rosettes, light blue; lettering, dark
Nell Border, gray; lettering, red.
No. 12 Edge line and border, old rose; lettering, dark red;
Fig. 125 illustrates several artistic effects obtained by the use of wall
Xo. 1 This is a plain white card with a very light tint of
green wall paper pasted in the center. Letter-
ing, dark blue.
No. 2 Dark gray card, black ornamentation ; black letter.
No. '^ Light gray card ; wall paper, dark green ; letters,
white,- outside .stripes, white; inside stripes, gold.
No. 4 Light gray card; variegated wall paper; outside
stripe, light gray ; lettering, black.
No. ."> "Wall paper, two shades of olive green ; lettering,
white ; numerals shaded with dark green ; letters
underlined with bright red ; border line inside,
light green ; outside border line. gold.
No. C> Light gray card ; w-all paper, two shades of red ; let-
tering, white : letters underlined with gold ;
numerals shaded with black; border lines, gold.
Xo. 7 "White card : wall paper, lemon yellow ; lettering,
dark blue ; numerals shaded with old gold ; let-
ters underlined with old gold ,■ border line, gold.
The examples shown in Pig. 126 are much more elaborate than those
previoiisly illustrated. They are specimens of raised panel effects :
No. 1 Light blue card; ]ianel, white; edge on lower card,
gold ; edge on panel, gray ; lettering, blue ; shade,
THE AET OF iSHUW CAKi) AVKITING
PANELS AND TICKETS 169
No. 2 Under card, dark gray; panel, light gray; border
lines, silver; numerals, raised and decorated with
gold ; lettering, white or blue.
No. 3 Light green card ; border and scrolls, gold ; panel,
covered with dai'k green wall paper; letters,
white ; border lines, black.
No. 4 Lower card, white; panel, dark gi-ay; letters, blue;
outside border line, black ; inside border line,
No. 5 Lower card, lilac; panel, dark blue; ornaments and
border lines; gold; lettering, white.
No. 6 Lower card, dark red; panel, covered with light
green wall paper ; scroll and border, gold ; letter-
ing, dark green, outlined with white.
No. 7 Lower card, dark blue; panel, white: border, light
blue; lettering, dark blue.
The examples in Fig. 127 consist of air brush and embossed specimens.
Those in 2, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are specimens of pure air brush work, while 1, 3, 4
and 5 are combinations of embossed and air bru.sh effects. These cards can
be purchased in quantities from the makers at very reasonable prices. The
lettering on all of these examples was executed with a No. Vs solid marking
pen. The numerals were executed with a No. 10 lettering brush.
Price tickets are sold from one cent upward. The price depends solely
on the quantity. The plainest kind of a price ticket, in small quantity lots,
is worth about five cents. The average charge for plain price tickets is fifty
cents per dozen. Elaborate cards must be priced proportionately. The price
you pay for the embossed and air brush variety must govern your charge
Book Cover Desig-ns.— The designs that are illustrated in Figs. 128 to
L39, inclusive, may be appropriately termed book cover designs. Of course,
they are too elaborate for average card purposes. They may be used, how-
ever, for special occasions when the customer is not particular about the
price. These designs are worth from .$3.00 to ,$5.00 each, depending on the
THE ART OF SHOW CAED ^\■K1T1NG
PANELS AND TICKETS
172 THE ART OF SHOW GAEL* WRITING
PANELS AND TICKETS
174 THE ART OF SHOW CAKD AVIJITIXG
PANELS AND TICKETS
176 THE AET OF SHOW CARD WEITING
PANELS AND TICKETS
THE ART UF SHUAV CAKl) WRITING
PANELS AND TICKETS
THE AL>T OF 8HUW CARD WRITIXO
PANELS AND TICKETS
THE AKT OF SHOW CARD WEITING
Show Card Phrases
Some lines of business will stand for flippant ad-talk; some demand
dignity of style; some, convincing argument. In the selection, good ad-sense
is demanded. "Light humor," like fire, is a dangerous thing to handle. The
fellow who tries to be witty is often only foolish. Sensible talk appeals most
to sensible buyers. Therefore and wherefore, study your customers; then
study your ads; and finally, studj- them over again before posting your ad.
Don't write ads over the meaning of which people have to puzzle. It's
ad-space wasted. Only idle people have time or inclination to guess conun-
drums or study riddles, and usually they haven't the price.
Under Poster EmbeUlsInncnls we referred to the practice of up-to-date
card writers of clipping pictures, cuts, etc., from magazines, newspapers and
periodicals from which ideas can be obtained and improved. This same idea
can be applied to "catch phrases" or "headings" .suitable for card signs.
Watch the work of your competitor. Look over the advertisements in the
daily papers. Observe the headings used to attract attention. Clip out the
good ones and save them. "While, as a rule, the merchant will supply the
inscription or reading matter, at times you will be asked to prepare "copy"
and you must be ready for such an emergency. To help you to this end, we
have selected a large number of witty phrases — all .short and to the point —
from which you will be able to select something appropriate for most any
occasion. These phrases are not all original.
Men's Clothing'. — Manning Modes for Little Men.
Paj' .$13.50 for one of these Suits and Congratulate Yourself.
Next to Your Ability Comes Your Appearance — These Suits
Make You Look Smart.
Coats That Have Been Built for Fine Taste.
To the Other Virtues of These Suits We Have -Just Added
an Extremely Low Price.
Suits That Will" Easily Prove Their Intrinsic Worth— Re-
duced in Price for Logical Reasons.
Suits to Fit Perfectly all Planner of Men — Normal or Ab-
normal in Girth or Chest.
All Our Clothing Is as Good as It Looks.
184 THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
Blow-on-Your-Fingers Weather Ls Coming. So Be Overcoat
Contrary to What Anyone jMaj- Say, a ilan Is Judged by
Comfort Clothes for Hot Weather — Prices Just as Liglu as
Extraordinary Values in Seasonable Clothing.
Good Clothes Are Tools of Advancement.
Help Out the Old Coat and Vest with a New Pair of
High and Low Trousers — High in Quality and Low in
If Nine Tailors Jlake a Man, We Have the Best Nine
Tailors in the City.
Just the Kind of Suits That Will IMake You Look Like a
$40 Tailor-JIade Man.
No Investment Pays Better Than Good Clothes. See Our
Suits at $
Ready-to-Put-On Suits That You'll Not lie Ready-to-Put-Off
Till the Last Stitch Gives.
Men's Furnishings. — Collars That Fit the Season, the Shirt, the Fash-
ion and the Pocketbook.
At This I^opular Price Our Assortment of Cravats Is Con-
Socks With Clocks That Are Right Up to the IMinute.
Worn Particularly by Particular Men.
Here Are the Sort of Fancy Vests You Have Been Looking
for All Over Town.
Are You Troubled With "Holy" Socks? These Are Wholly
Our Store Is the Capital of " Scarf dom."
The Man in Search of a Touch of Newness Will Find It in
An Ounce of Good Underwear Is Worth a Pound of .Medi-
An Underselling Sale of Summer Underwear.
Pine Furnishings for Fastidious Fellows.
Medium and Heavy Weight.s — Soft, Fleecy Garments.
Sightly! Worn Nightly. Made Rightly, Priced Sliuditly.
(Men's Night Shirts.)
Ladies' Wear. — Favorite Dress ]\Iatei'ials for Summer End-of-Season
The Miss WHio Wants White AVill Be Well Ph-ased With
SHUW CAED PHKASES 185
For the Girl Who Wants to Be Prettier, Here Are Suits to
Take You '"Out of the Crowd."
Stylish, Ship-iShajie Sailor Suits.
Women's New Autumn Suit.s to Put Rigiit On and Ue Com-
Waists That Have the Secret of Good Simplieitv and Good
Tailorish Silk Shirt-Waist Suits.
Women's Suits of High Degree — Low in Price.
A WHIRLWIND of Bargains in Dress Goods Tliis Week.
Exquisitely Tailored Suits.
No Lady's Wardrobe Complete Without These Dainty Rust-
Noisy Silks at Quiet Prices.
There is a Superior Grace and Character to Our Tailor-
Ma de Suits.
Men's Hats.— Here's a Straw Without a Flaw.
Stylish Straws — Sensible Shapes — Smart Styles.
Soft Hat Comfort for Hard-IIeaded Men Who Appreciate
Style, Quality and Good Values.
Here Is the Hat You Had in Mind.
No Headaches in These Hats.
Boys' Clothing.— Suit Your Boy, Y'ourself and Y'our Pocketbook With a
Clothes to Please the Lads — Prices to Please the Dads.
Clothing Is Cheaper for a Healthy Boy Than Doctor's P.ills
for a Sick One.
He'll Never "Play Hooky" if You Dress Him Like a Gen-
Nothing Too Good for Mother's Boy.
Shoes.— A Paradise of Rest for Weary Feet.
No Trouble to Show Shoes — No Shoes to Show Trouble.
It's Oxford Time. Let Our Shoeman Take Care of Your
A Shoe With Every Mark of Correct Style.
It's Time to Step Into New Spring Shoes.
Shoes Tliat Are On tlie Tip-Toe to Get Out of the Store.
Shoes as Y''ou Like Them for Less Than You I'sually Pay.
We Sell Shoes— Not Our Customers. New Shoes Sold— Old
Ease and Comfort Combined— Comfort for the Feet. Easy
for the Purse. .>|^2.00.
Easy Shoes for Tender Feet.
186 THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
Fit Well, Feel Well, Look Well; Are Well ilade and Well
Worth the Price.
For Your Foot's Sake Lend Us Your Ears.
Low Shoes at Low Prices.
Xot Only Gnod Shoes for Perfect Feet, but Perfect Shoes
for All Feet.
Real Leather — Real Workmanship — Real Style.
Shoe.s — Good to Buy Because They Are Good to Wear.
If the Tongues in These Shoes Could Speak. They'd Say
Right Shoes in All Varieties.
Character Is Told by the Shoes One Wears— II(i\v Ahout
Shoes Shaped to Satisfj- Comfort and Style and Stayed Not
to Yield to Pressure.
It's No Feat for Us to Fit Feet.
An Ea.sy Shoe at an Easy Price.
A Shoe "That Fits the Foot and Feasts the Eye."
Be Sure of Your Footing, Then Go Ahead.
Calf Lined, Double Soled to the Heel.
Common Sense Heels, Extension Soles and Goodyear Welt.
Storm Slippers! Wherever It Rains It Reigns Snprenie.
Springy Shoes for Spring and Summer.
The Kick of the Boy and the Skip of the Girl Are I'rovided
for in Our School Shoes.
That Boy Will Find His JIatch in Our School Shoes.
The JIan of Taste Never Allows His Taste to Fall Short of
Miscellaneous.^ — A Saving Worth Making.
Short Prices — Long Values.
Pretty Patterns at Petty Prices.
:Millinery That Is a Treat to the Eyes.
Distinctive Styles at Distinct Savings.
Smart Followers of Fashion Will Endorse These Styles.
Practical Silks for Economical Women.
Small Prices That Bear a Heavy Burden of Quality.
June, the Wedding Jlonth, Finds Us With Plenty t-i Inter-
est Those Who Contemplate Making Gifts.
Things to AVear for Men Who Care.
Faultless in Fabric. Finish and Fit.
Hang Up a Hammock — The Season Is in Full Swing.
Wash Suits That the Tuli Will Prove W^orthy.
Just a Little Different— Just a Shade the Best.
Here Is Cool Gray Comfort Combined With Style.
What You Buy— We Stand By.
8HUW CARD PHEASES 187
On Alany Stocks We've Put a Price That's Sure to Move
Spring Is tlie iMohair Season— Blue Is the Jlohair Color—
This Is the Mohair Opportunity.
We Are Earliest With the Latest Things.
IMoving Pieture-s- Low Prices Are .^loving- Them.
For Judges of Value, a Glance Will Pe Salesman Enou-h
lhe.se Prices Keep People Coming In an.l Goods Going Out
Fa.shionable, But Not Too Fancy.
It's Lace Curtain Time for Wise Housekeepers
Here Are Veils— Avail Yourself.
Pure Foods Economically Priced.
This Price Is a Libel on the Value.
Satisfaction Goes Where These Go.
These AA^ill JIake the Most E.xacting Happy.
The Price Is as Low as True Jleri't Will Allow
These Are the Fabrics for Which Pasliion Is Makin- Such
Quality Gained and Jloney Saved.
Good to Look at and Better to Wear.
We Feature Fashion's Fairest Fancies Here.
The Quality Is as Substantial as the Saving.
Little Things Most Necessary in Evei-v Household
Now Is the Time— Here Is the Place— This Is the Price
You Can Safely Buy Them With Your Eves Closed at -This
As Fashionable as They Are Seasonable; as Serviceable as
They Are Reasonable.
Pretty Pieces at Persuasive Prices.
Sample Trunks That Want to Go Travelino'
Comfortable Bedding for These Chillv Nights
The Latest Hatchings from Fashion's' InculMtor
Heavy Walking Gloves That Are Under Marching Order..
Throw Them ni the Tub and Wash Them to Your Heart's
Content— You Can't Wash Out the Fact That This
Price Is Only Half Their Value
Turkish Bath Towels That Are Soft. Thick and Thirstv
AVhatever Is Needed for Coolness and Appearance Is Here
Every Seam, Every Plait. Every Hem Shows Perfection of
Soaring Quality— Falling Prices.
Rain_ Rattles Off These Rain Wraps.
Fashion's Favored Fancies in Furs.
TIci'e's a Chance to Save by Spending.
Stirring Economies on Good Housewares,
188 THE ART OF SHOAV CAED WRITING
A Harvest Festival of Good Things to Eat.
The ]More You Like Comforts tlie ]More You'll Like These.
The Tailoring and Fabric Are Better Than the Price
Summer Cottons for Winter Tourists.
Prices That Tell the Tale— Qualities That Make the Sale.
A Profitable Loss — Turning These to ^Money.
Window Space Permits of But a Small Display — Step In
and See the Full Line.
Comfortable But Not Clumsy.
Good Razors at Price Shavings.
As Good as Any — Better Than Most.
These Prices Rarely Buy Such Qualities.
A Happy Blend of Comfort and Style.
The Price Gives No Hint of Their Real Value.
Things You Want — At Prices You'll Like.
If Your Pocketbook Is Your Guide, Walk In.
Hammocks Fall — These Have Dropped from .$5 to $3.
Just an Instance of What Our China Section Is Doing.
Such a Splash! When These 225 Bathing Suits Go to Sea.
They Look Fine and Well IMade, and Will Prove So in the
Get a Notion of This Humming Notion Sale — It's Near the
Cut to Insure Comfort Without A.sking Your Vanity to Pay
A Dull Knife Tries the Temper — Here Is the Finest Ameri-
can Table Cutlery.
Good News of New Goods.
Prices of Powerful Popularity.
Prices Reduced to the Laughing Point.
Worthy Silks — Worthy Savings.
.\fter These Are Gone, No ]\Iore: It's Just Changing ^loney.
A Harvest of Furniture Fancies.
A Trumpet Call for Bargain Seekers.
l^argains — Not Remnants.
Come Again and Gain Again.
Doing Beats Promising.
It Will Be Our Fault if Yon Don't Return.
It Takes Sense to ]\Take Dollars.
It Takes Nerve to Sell at These Prices.
Alade on Honor — Sold on IMerit.
Our Patrons Wear Smiles.
Our Clerks Are Here to Assist — Not to Insi.st.
Quality Costs, But It's the Surest Guaranty.
The Eailv Buver Gets the Choice.
SHOW CAED PHEAtSES 139
The Key of Wealth Is Right 13uying.
We Have Been Looking tor You — Now Listen.
We're Out-Talked Often— Outdone Never.
We Originate— Others Imitate.
We Do Everything to Sell Our Goods Except to Misrepre-
W^e Give Lessons in Right Buying by Examples in Low
Don't Worry About the Pit— We Attend to That
Don't Let Cigars Get the Best of You; Get the Best of
If You Don't Decide To-day, You Will Find Us Here
Leave Your Thirst at This Fountain, 5c.
Now You Get the Pick- Later You Get the Remnants
Quality the True Test of Cheapness.
Take Your Clioice From This Choice Lot.
Talking About Strikes. How Do These Prices Strike You?
To Have Been Fir.st Proves Antiquity— To Have Become
First Proves IWerit.
W^e Can Make It Warm for You if You Need Blankets
We Have Trunks That Will Laugh at Any Bag<ra<re ITan
We Don't Follow the Leaders; We Lead the Pollowe'rs ' '
W.^'re So Far Ahead That We're Lonesome.
Theory and Practice
Scope of the Subject. — 8igii painting includes all classes of work, that
is, any piece of work executed with a lettering brush is classified as sign paint-
ing. Thus the show card writer is really a sign painter. As stated, sign
painting embraces all work done with lettering pencils, from the very plain-
est black lettering to the most elaborate design in gold, silver, pearl, etc.
To be worthy of the name, the sign painter should be able to execute all kinds
of designs, for any purpose, wherein lettering forms an essential part. It is
not necessary, however, that the sign painter should be qualified to excel in
every branch of the trade in order to succeed or command a high wage. This
is the age of specialism, and as a consequence we have the card writer, the
glass workman, the wall painter, the bulletin painter, the banner painter, etc..
each of whom is especially adapted to one particular branch.
Qualifications Necessary. — The all-round, up-to-date sign painter should
be a master of the art of designing, for, under this head is embraced a
knowledge of all that is considered artistic. The sign painter should be thor-
oughly familiar with the use and application of coloi's, color harmony and
contra.st, also the many effects that can be produced with color. He should
have a thorough knowledge of the preparation of ground work and the treat-
ment of the nu\terial on which lettering is to be placed. These and many
other things in the work of the sign painter must be thoroughly understood
to insure sueeess. You will find it rather dry reading. You must not, how-
ever, overlook the importance of the theoretical branches. Try and commit
the various recipes to memory. If the formulas are closely followed the
results are sure to be perfect.
Experience and Theory. — Theoretical knowledge is the basis of all
])roficieney in the arts, yet there is a great deal still to be learned through
experience. Perplexing and unlooked-for results are constantly occurring,
and they can he met and overcome only by a course of actual experience. In
the following pages the instructions will be devoted exclusively to the prac-
tienl branches, in order to fit you to apply the knowledge you have received.
Brushes Required. — Before beginning with your practice work study
the rules for brush numipulation in the portion of this book devoted to the
THEORY AND PRACTICE 191
subject. A good quality of manilla wrapping paper will answer for practice
purposes. You will need two camel's hair lettering pencils (Nos. 1 and 3)
for the execution of the drawings. For larger work use Nos. 6, 8 and upward.
The small sizes will execute all letters from one to two inches in height. For
one-stroke lettering you will need one or two flat camel hair lettering brushes,
about one-quarter and one-half inch size. Other brushes used in sign paint-
ing will be fully explained as we proceed.
Card-Black. — This is a color that may be used for practice work. It
is also an excellent preparation for card signs, from which it gets its name.
If mixed properly it will flow freely from the brush. It is intensely black
and dries with a glossy finish in a veiy few minutes. It may be prepared
as follows: From your local paint dealer purchase a small can of Drop
Black ground in japan. If you cannot obtain this, Lamp Black in japan
will do as well. Remove a small quantity of the color from the can and
place it in a cup or other vessel that can be kept covered. Add aboiit one-
third liquid asphaltum. Asphaltum can be purchased from any paint dealer.
It is sometimes called asphaltum varnish or black varnish. Asphaltum is
a very rapid dryer and is the ingredient that gives the color the gloss to
which I have referred. Mix the black and the asphaltum thoroughly. Next
thin the color to the consistency of thick cream. Keep the color well covered
when not in use. If too thick or heavy to flow freely from the brush add
more turpentine. Be careful not to use too much turpentine as it has a ten-
dency to diminish the gloss.
Do not use colors ground in oil or mixed with oil for practice work.
When oil or color ground in oil is applied to any surface of a porous nature
it will spread beyond the outline of the letter and show a yellow blur. Japan
colors are the only kind that should be used for practice work.
Principal Tools and Materials. — The principal tools necessary in the
work of the sign painter are given below:
One No 6 camel hair lettering brush.
One No. 8 camel hair lettering brush.
One No. 10 camel hair lettering brush.
One 14 iiich flat camel hair lettering bnish.
One 1/2 inch flat camel hair lettering bi'u.sh.
One V2 inch flat sable lettering brush (for lettering on muslin).
One % inch flat sable lettering brush (for lettering on muslin).
One 11/4 inch sable brush (for lettering on muslin).
One set French bristle lettering fitches.
One set filling-in brushes.
One water-size brush.
One camel hair tip.
One badger hair tip.
THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
One wooden eoni])as.s.
One palette knife.
One tracing wheel.
One box water size.
One crayon holder.
One box eremnitz white.
One box cliarcoal.
AVith these tools you are prepared to execute all ordinary signs within
or without the shop. Work on the sides of buildings and bulletins require
the use of trestle hor.ses or a swinging stage, with tackle, blocks and ropes.
The .sign .shop should be equipped with several uprights, having holes
about six inches apart, with strong pegs to fit therein, on which to place
large heavj' signs, as shown in Fig. 140. Several wooden horses of the pat-
tern used by carpenters are also very convenient on which to lay finished
work, or work that is to be coated or varnished. These should be about three
feet high and four feet wide, and the legs should spread sufficiently to pre-
THEORY AND PKACTICE l!i3
vent them from tipping. A draftiiiR- table is also veiy eonveaieut. This
may be used for designing or card writing and should be eonstructed so
that it is not necessary to stoop when working over it. One of the very
essential things in the sign shop is a large smooth surface on which to fasten
large cloth signs that are to be lettered. In the absence of a surface of this
kind, an adjustable frame work ma.y be constructed. Racks are exceedingly
handy, also. These may be used for glass signs, wood letters and all kinds
of unfinished or finished work. A gasoline paint-burner (painter's torch),
which is used to remove paint from old signs, is also a necessary part of the
All sign shops should be fitted with a solid table or bench, in the center
of which is placed a smooth slab of stone, marble, or a piece of plate glass
about eighteen inches square, to be used for mixing dry colors. Dry colors are
ground with a spatula. This is a long, broad knife with a double edge. The
colors are first mixed to the consistency of thick paste, with either oil, japan
or varnish, as desired, and then placed in the center of the slab. It is then
rubbed between the slab and the spatula until very fine and free from grit.
The colors should be ground very fine to work well under the brush. It is
advisable to purcha.se colors read.y ground, if possible. A light, portable
table or stand, about thirty inches high and twelve inches square on top,
covered with zinc, is a great convenience to the workman. It can be easily
moved from place to place and may be used as a palette if desired.
Improved Appliances. — There are many other tools and contrivances
used in the sign shop, all of which are more or less serviceable at times, and
which an inventive brain can improvise, such as receptacles for smalt, flock,
etc. Sieves are used for distributing .smalt. In the absence of a sieve a
piece of wire netting will answer. Japainied tins, cardboard, muslin, etc.,
should be kept under cover. Your aim should always be to facilitate the
work of the workman. You should surround yourself with everything that
you can possibly invent or buy that will conduce to speed.
Selection of Brushes. — Great care should be exercised in the selection
of brushes for anj- class of work. Camel's hair brushes are used almost
exclusively by all first-class letterers. They are soft and pliable and there-
fore easily controlled, making them desirable in every way for all kinds of
work. They are very inexpensive as compared to the sable variety, but not as
dtirable. They are especially sei'viceable for lettering on glass, tin, or any
smooth surface. Camel's hair brushes range in all sizes, the length of the
hair and the diameter of the quill varying to a great extent. There is a vast
divergence of opinion among sign painters with reference to lettering pencils.
Some use a long .slender brush, while nther.s prefer a long stout brush, still
others prefer a .short thick bru.sh. We shall not attempt to advise you as
to the exact length of the brush, as it will require but a short time for yon
to judge for yourself.
If you find that yon can accomplish better results by usino- a short
194 THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
brush, or vice-versa, do so. We stronglj- recommend, however, the use of
large brushes; that is, alwa\-s use as large a brush as you possibly can. The
more color the brush will hold the more rapid your progress will be. The
more color the brush will carry, the broader the stroke, and therefore less
Camel's hair bru.shes cannot be used in water color. The instant the hair
comes in contact with water it loses its elasticity and becomes "wabbly."
They are also unfit to use in "heavy color." Heavj' colors are those con-
taining a large proportion of white lead. White lead is made of lead and is
therefore very heavy. The soft hair in the camel hair brush will not bear
up under the weight and the effect is the same as though the hair had been
placed in water, i. e., it is lifeless. Black or red sable or ox hair are the
only kinds of brushes strong enough to use in white lead colors. There are
many different sizes and styles of camel's hair bru.shes. The purpose for
which each is particularly designed will be fully explained in connection with
the subjects that follow.
Red sable brushes ai'c used exclusively for lettering on cardboard and
for heavy color work. These also range in all sizes. They are extremely
durable. I'ndci' proper cai'i' tliey will outlast several of the camel hair
Camel Hair Brushes. — Camel hair brushes should never be allowed to
stand on the end or point of the hairs. Always lay flat or stand with the
brush end up. Great care should be taken to keep the hairs straight. After
using, clean thoroughly by rinsing in benzine or turpentine, after which oil
or grease the hair with lard, lard oil, vaseline or any other non-drying oil.
Thi.s will prevent them from becoming dry or hard. Be very careful to
remove every bit of the oil before using them again. Carelessness in this
respect will cause you a lot of trouble. Grease may be removed by washing
the brush in benzine.
Sable Brushes. — Sable In-ushes used in water coloi's should l)e cleaned
with water only. Tho.se used in oil or .iapan colors should be cared for the
snme as canirl hair bru.shes.
Bristle Brushes. — Bristle brushes are used for lettering on rough sur-
faces such as l)rick and stone walls, bulletins, etc. They should be cleaned
and oiled well after using. Wall and bulletin workmen sometimes wrap the
bru.sh with manilla paper without cleaning and then immerse the hair in a
can or cup partly filled with boiled linseed oil. This is a good plan when
the brushes are used in the same color day in and day out. When the brushes
are wrapped or protected with the paper they may be stood on end without
fear of injury.
Water Size Brush. — These brushes are made of camel's hair and used in
watei- only. As previously stated, the water destroys the spring in the hair.
THEORY AND PRACTICE 195
This is just the effect desired for the purpose designed. Tliey are the only
kind of a brush suitable for applying water-size over gold leaf. Gold leaf
is very sensitive and easily effaced. Thus the brush that is used must be
very soft and pliable, hence the use of the camel's hair variety. These
brushes have been frequently used for poster work. Thy have, however, been
replaced to a great e.xtent by the black sable, which is designed primarily for
work of this kind. Size brushes .should be cleaned thoroughly in clean water
after using and placed so that the hair will dry out. If allowed to remain
in water they will soon rot and the hairs will fall out, causing con.stant
Gilding Tips. — Cxilding tips should be kept very clean. In gold work
for which they are used it is absolutely necessary that all tools should be
free from foi-eign substances .such as oils or dust. The least speck of dirt
in the water-size will destroy the burnish of the gold, and dust on the tip
will adhere to the gold and affect the finish. The hair in the tip should be
kept straight and smooth.
The T-Square and Striping'. — This instrument can be used to good
advantage on all signs having either a straight top or bottom, either for mark-
ing out the letters or for guiding the hand. For this purpose a square with
a movable head is i^referable as illustrated in Fig. 141. The adjustable
head permits the blade to be brought parallel with any desired angle. It is
especially serviceable in marking out script lettering. The manner in which
the T-squai'e is held and the position of the hand and brush are shown in
The method i.s much the same as explained under Bi'iish Manipulation.
The brush is held between the thumb and first finger, the handle pointing
downward, allowing the other fingers to guide the hand along the blade. All
fingers should be held in a perfectly rigid position as previously explained.
The left hand is used to hold the T-square in position. This may be done
by grasping it firmly by the head if the sign is narrow, or by the end if the
.sign is very wide. With the T-square and this method of striping you can
execute all vertical, horizontal and angle lines. If the sign is too long to
permit the use of the T-square for all horizontal lines, substitute the rest
stick as illustrated in Fig. 143. Letters that are cut in can be executed very
rapidly and accurately in this manner.
THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRITING
Another method of striping often employed by the sign painter is illus-
trated in Fig. 144. By this method a fine, perfect line can be produced with
the point of the brush. The ditt'erence between this method and the method
illustrated in Fig. 142 is that in the latter the brush is placed at right angles
with the surface. Allow the hair to rest on the point only. The pressure
should be very uniform, i. e.. just sufficient to prevent the hair from spread-
ing beyond the thickness of the stroke desired and producing an irregular
line. Practice this method with a straight edge laid on a sheet of paper or
cardboard. The brush should be large enough ti
execute the stripe without recharging.
liold sufficient color to
Use of the Rest Stick. — We strongly recommend the use of the rest
stick. It possesses several splendid qualifications to recommend it. The let-
tering fraternity numbers a great many members who do not use the rest
stick, but this is no reason or argument against its use. The rest stick
THEOEY AND PRACTICE
(sometimes called mahl stick), as its name implies, is used as a rest and to
steady the hand and is held as shown in Fig. 145. Through the \i.se of the
rest stick the hands of the workmen do not come in contact with the surface
or background of the sign. Delicate grounds, such as gold work, should
not be touched b.v the hand of the workman, as the least mark will show and
cannot be era.sed. This is one point in favor of the stick. Letterers using
the rest stick have more freedom with the hand holding the brush. They are
given a greater scope in the sweep of the hand and are not confined to such
a limited area as is the workman using his hand for a rest. The rest stick
may also be used in many ways to splendid advantage, among which atten-
tion is called to Fig. 143.
The hand that holds the brush should be placed on the stick and nllowed
THE AET OF SHOW CARD WRITING
to rest firmly, while the hand that holds the stick acts as its guide, moving
the stick in harmony with the stroke of the brush. The head of the rest
stick should be kept in a stationary position until as many letters are exe-
cuted as is possible, after which change the position of the stick and proceed
aarain with tlie work.
Rest sticks, to be serviceable, should be about three feet long and one-
half inch in diameter and perfectly smooth and straight. The diameter
.should be the same from end to end. The head should )x' covered with a
piece of chamois .skin or other soft material, stuffed with cotton, and should
be kept very clean. Fig. 14C illustrates what is called a jointed rest stick.
THEORY AND PRACTICE
This stick is designed to carry in a kit or tool box, as it can be taken apart
and put together again almost instantly. Do not overlook the importance of
the rest stick. If you learn to use this essential tool you will have a great
advantage over those who do not. In addition to its good qualifications it is
the emblem of the artist.
The Ea^el. — The work rooms of all modern sign establishments are
equipped with one or more easels. These are handy and ine.xpensive fixtures
and greatlj' facilitate the speed and add to the convenience of the workman.
Easels are made in a great many different styles, some of which are not
.suitable for the work of the sign painter. The sign painter's ea.sel should
be very strong, substantial and heavy. They are generally constructed to suit
the fancy of the individual. A simple variety is illustrated in Fig. 147.
Work that is to be lettered should always be placed in a position so as not to
be easily jarred, otherwise footsteps or other slight disturbances will cause
considerable annoyance. In designing easels for the sign shop it is necessary
to observe the previous precaution, i. e., make them very solid and
The Compass. — The sign shop should be supplied with two compasses:
one a German silver instrument which is used for small work, and the other
a wooden compass illustrated in Fig. 148, which should be capable of an
expansion of at least two feet. Large circles with a diameter of more than
four feet may be drawn with a piece of string as ]H'eviously explained.
The Palette. — The palette is another inexpensive ai'ticle that may be
classified as a tool, and which if used will greatly facilitate the work oi" the
letterer. The general use of the palette is too well understood to need an
extended description. In the work of the letterer it is a great time saver, as
it keeps the color within easy reach and obviates the necessity for placing
the cup holding the color on a chair or box, as is often done by careless or
thoughtless workmen. Palettes may be easily cleaned and kept ready for
instant use. In order to manipulate the lettering pencil to the best advan-
tage it is neces.sary to place the brush on a smooth surface of some kind and
■work it back and forth as explained. The palette provides an opportunity
to do this in addition to keeping the color at your finger tips. In the absence
of the palette a piece of glass, oil cloth, or tin will serve the purpose. But
do not substitute. A palette can be made from an old cigar box in less time
than it takes to explain it, and thus there is no valid excuse for not having
one. It is held in the hand as illustrated in Fig. 149. They may be pur-
THE ART OF SHOW CAED WEITING
chased in several sizes and styles. For sign painting purposes we recom-
mend the pattern shown in Pia;. 150, size about 7 inches by 9 inches. They
should l)e o-iven two or three coats of good shellac, applied about thirty min-
utes apart, after which they may be cleaned with turpentine or benzine with-
out fear of destroying the finish. Be careful not to allow paint to become
dry and hard on the palette.
Palette Cups. — Palette cups are just as serviceable and indispensable
as the palette or the rest stick. Tlie bottom of the cup is fashioned so that
it may be slipped over the edge of the palette and will remain secure. Palette
i are made in several styles. The round cup is recommended for general
for the reason that it may be cleaned much easier than the square cup.
351 illustrates the round and square varieties.
Palette Knife. — The palette knife is made in various styles and sizes,
two of which are illustrated in Fig. 152. It is a very handy tool and is used
THEORY AND PRACTICE
principally for mixing and grinding dry colors. When it is desired to mix
dry colors the powdered pigment is placed on the stone or glass as explained
under I'rincipdJ Tools <md Materials, after whii-li enough liquid ingredient
is added to make it the consistency of paste. The mixture is then rubbed
between the stone and the palette knife until it is ground to the required
fineness. Quite a litt](> ki
this may .soon be acquired.
re(|uired to deftly luindU' 1h.' knife, but
Gilding Tip. — The gilding tip is made of camel's hair secured to a
hea\T piece of cardboard. The hair is from li/o to 21/2 inches long. It is
used to apply gold leaf to glass principally, but may be used to apply the
leaf to any surface. The badger hair tip, which is identical in size and style
with the camel hair tip, is used exclusively to apply silver leaf to glass.
Tracing--Wheel and Pounce-Bag. — "Whenever it is necessary to letter
several signs bearing the same design or inscription, much time can be saved
by first making a pattern for same. To do this, we first draw the inscription
on a sheet of manilla paper the exact size and style desired. This is then
perforated with the tracing wheel, the result being, when finished, a series
of small holes that follow the outline of the letters and ornamentations, as
shown in Fig. 153. A pin or needle secured in the end of a small wood
handle may be used for very short lines and curves where the use of the wheel
i.s impracticable. After the pattern is perforated the back should be lightly
sandpapered to remove the roughness, after which it is fitted to the surface
202 THE AET OF SHOW CARD AVEITING
to be lettered and the pounce-bag is used. This is a small bag made of cheese
cloth OX' other porous material, tilled with whiting, charcoal or any other dry
color that will show distinctly on the background, and tied securely with a
stout string. This is now rubbed lightly over the pattern just suffieieut to
allow the powder to sift through the holes in the paper. If the pattern is
now removed an exact fac-simile of the design will be seen, which may be
easily removed with a feather duster. .
Another method of transferring a design from a paper pattern, used
almost exclusively in connection with gold leaf work, is as follows : First
draw the design on the paper as before, after which saturate the paper with
linseed oil, using a cloth or wad of cotton, until it becomes transparent, or
until the design can be distingui.shed on both sides of the paper. Tlie ])attcrn
must now be allowed to become tlioroughly dry, which usually requires from
twelve to fifteen hours. When the pattern is dry rub the face or front of
it with chalk or whiting. Now fit the pattern to the sign (if glass) face down
and carefully trace over the design with a lead pencil, taking care not to
allow the pattern to slip or move. On removing the pattern a perfect dupli-
cate of the design will be seen.
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Advertising, phrases for 183
Air brush, fountain 62
uses of 133
Air pencil, how used 131
Alphabet, antique hali block Plate IX
antique Roman 24, Plate XIX
architect's pen stroke. .. .18, Plate XXIV
Bradle.v text 15, Plate XXVI
church te.xt Plate XXVIII
draftsmen's Plate XXIII
Egyptian 26, Plate III
engrossing Plate XXV
French Roman Plates, XI, XII, XIII
full block Plate II
ha* block Plate I
heavy script 16, Plate XXII
italic script 18, Plate XXI
lower case Roman Plate XIV
modern full block 12, Plate XVIII
modern italic... 12, 28, Plates XVI, XVII
old English Plate XXVII
Roman Plate X
round full block Plate IV
Spencerian script Plate XX
spur Egyptian Plates VI, VII, VIII
Tuscan block 20. Plate V
Tuscan Roman Plate XV
Antique half block alphabet Plate IX
Antique Roman alphabet. .. .24, Plate XIX
April, decoration for 152
Aqua water colors 57
Arm rests 37
Architect's pen stroke alphabet
18, Plate XXIV
Artificial flowers 62, 133
Asphaltum, use of 60
Atomizer, decoration with 131
use of 67
August, decoration for 15!)
Autumn, decoration for 160
Bands, examples of Plate XXXII
Blended ground 121
Book cover designs 169
Borders, uses and examples. 81, Plate XXX
Boys' clothing, phrases advertising. .. .185
Bradley text alphabet 15, Plate XXVI
Bristle brushes 104
Brocade, flitter 60
Bronze powders 67
Brush, air 133
camel hair 104
care of 30
holding properly 33
kinds required 100
manipulation of 31
methods of handling 41
position of 35
proper functioning of 43
selection of 193
water size 104
Camel hair brushes 194
Capital letters, fancy 135
Cards, plain 101, log
Card-black, color 191
Cardboard, uses of 61
mounting on 04
Care of brushes 30
Charge for work, how arrived at 104
Church text alphabet Plate XXVIII
Circles, how drawn 95
Clothing, phrases for advertising 183
Color, Aqua water 57
show card 56
Compass, use of 100
Control, value of 42
Correcting errors 78
Cost, what to charge 104
Cover designs, book 169
Cup palette 200
Cut-outs, making and using 101
December, decoration for 159
Diamond dust, use of 72, 129
Distemper colors 57
Draftsmens' alphabet Plate XXIII
Draftsmens' Old English Alphabet 18
Dry colors 56
Easel, use of 10!»
Egyptian alphabet 26, Plate III
Engrossing alphabet Plate XXV
Errors, how corrected 78
February, decoration for 145
First letters, fancy 82
Flitter brocade work 69
Flower designs 135
Flowers, artificial 62. 133
Fountain air brush 62
Fountain shading and marking pen.
French Roman alphabet
Plates XI, XII, XIII
Full block alphabet Plate II
Gilding tips 195, 201
Ground, blended 121
Half block alphabet Plate I
Hats, advertising phrases for 185
Heavy script alphabet 16, Plate XXII
Index hand, example of Plate XXXII
Initial letter, fancy 82
Ink, show card 56, 60
Inscription, laying out 77
Italic script alphabet 18, Plate XXI
Japan colors 93
January, decoration for 145
July, decoration for 152
June, decoration for 152
Knife, decoration with 129
Ladies' wear, advertising phrases for.. 184
Laying out the inscription 77
Letterine, color 58
Lettering, mirror, with soap 100
Letters, lower case, use of 11
Lower case Roman alphabet. .. .Plate XIV
Mahl stick, use of 196
March, decoration for 152
Mat borders 121
Materials and tools 61
Materials, principal ones used 191
May, decoration for 152
Mirrors, soap lettering on lod
Modern full block alphabet. 12, Plate XVIII
Modern italic alphabet
12, 28, Plates XVI, XVII
Monograms, examples of Plate XXX]
Mounting on cardboard 94
November, decoration for.
Numerals, show card
Oblique lettering 36
October, decoration for 159
Oil colors 93
Old English alphabet Plate XXVII
Ornamentation, examples of. ..Plate XXIX
Ornaments, raised 67
Palette, cup and knife for 200
use of 199
Panels, examples of Plate XXX
Payzant pen 55
Pen, kinds used 45
solid marking 48
Wold shading and marking 51
Pen knife decoration 129
Pen work, methods of 50
Pencil, air, how used 131
Perforated signs 132
Photographer's cardboard 62
Phrases, advertising for show cards... 183
Plain cards 101, 108
Position of brush 35
Possibilities of lettering brush 39
Poster embellishments 88, 108
Pounce bag, use of 201
Powder, bronze 67
Practice work, how handled 88
Price, how arrived at 104
Price tickets 161
Raised ornaments 67
Raised panels 114
Rest, arm 37
Rest stick, use of 196
Ribbon designs 135
Roman alphabet Plate X
Round full block alphabet Plate IV
Ruling pens 48
Sable brushes 194
Scrolls and examples 81, Plate XXX
Seasonable decorations 145
Selling force in show cards 74
September, decoration for 150
Shading, principles of 99
Shading and marking pen. Wold foun-
Shading pens 48
Shoes, phrases for advertising 185
Shop equipment 191
Sign writer, different fi'oin show card
Size, water, brush for 194
Slanting lettering 36
Soap lettering on mirrors 100
Solid marking pens 48
Spatter work 121
Spencerian script alphabet Plate XX
Spur Egyptian alphabet
Plates VI, VII, VIII
Stencils, making and using loo
Stick, mahl or rest, use of 196
Striping, methods of 195
Strokes, classification of 31
Tickets, price 161
Tip, gilding 195, 201
Tools and utensils 36. 61. 191
Tracing wheel, use of 201
T-Square. use of 195
Tuscan block alphabet 20. Plate V
Tuscan Roman alphabet Plate XV
Wall paper, decoration with 114
Water color. Aqua 57
Water size brushes 194
Make Every Poster-Sign or Show Card
a Forceful, Attractive, Artistic Silent Salesman of
Value to Your Customer or to Your Store
for Reason of
Its Pulling Power
This Means Recognition and Big Money for You
PAASCHE FAMOUS S-IN-l AIR BRUSHES
Are Better Liked and Most Used for Reason of Their
GREATER DURABILITY, SPEED AND EFFICIENCY
1249 Washington Blvd.
CHICAGO U. S. A.
Made in Many Sizes
To Meet All Requirements in Any Shop
Write Us Today for Catalog
g €Mi4>^tVft<h<ft»efci><l>»Ai^B^ |
for Bill Boards. Wall Signs
Large Work. Ask for Portable
aintin? Machine Catalog
For Sign and Scene Painters , Card Writers and Designers
A Complete Line Covering the Whole Field of Painting
ING AND BUL-
LETIN ART. By
Frank H. Atkin-
son. About 250
pages, size 9x12.
in Five Colors.
"A SHOW AT" SHO' CARDS. A
Practical Guide to Show Card Writing.
By Atkinson & Atkinson. 300 Pages,
120 Designs, 35 Alphabets, Size 9x12,
Decorative Cloth Binding. Price $4.00
THE ART OF SHOW CARD WRIT-
ING. By Chas. J. Strong and L. S.
Strong. 1922 Edition. 250 Pages.
Cloth, Price $4.00
NEW HARDWOOD FINISHING, In-
cluding Wood Manipulation, Staining
and Polishing. By Fred T. Hodgson.
l2mo, 320 Pages, 117 Illustrations.
Cloth. Price $1.50
THE AMATEUR ARTIST, or Oil
and Water Color Painting Without the
Aid of a Teacher.
By F. Delamotte.
Large I 2mo, 1 60
cloth. Price. .$1.50
PAINTING. By F.
l2mo, 200 Pages,
STRONG'S BOOK OF DESIGNS
J. and L. S.
Designs. Leatherette, Gold Stamping.
THE SIGNIST'S MODERN BOOK
OF ALPHABETS. By F. Delamotte.
Large Octavo, 200 Pages, 100 De-
signs. Cloth. Price $1.50
MODERN PAINTER'S CYCLO-
PEDIA. By F. Maire. I2mo. 464
Pages. 106 Illustrations and 8 Plates.
Cloth, Price $2.00
SIGN PAINTING. By Frank H. At-
kinson. Large quarto, 3 70 Pages,
Cloth with Cover Design in five colors.
NEW STENCILS AND THEIR USE.
By F. N. Vanderwalker. 148 pages.
Cloth, 12mo. Illustrated.
Painting and In-
By F. N. Vander-
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Pages, 14 Illustra-
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Any or all of these books will be sent postpaid upon receipt of price
Write for Descriptive Catalog
FREDERICK J. DRAKE & CO.
Fighting the Hidden
Enemies That Daily Attack
SUN light, gases, fumes, moisture and de-
composition are constantly attacking
your work; attempting to rob the color of its
heaut}', the lettering of its grace.
In the Devoe laboratories, ceaseless experi-
ment is going on to minimize or eliminate
the changes to which pigments are subject.
\Mien you use Devoe Show Card Colors, you
are assured of four things: the results of
scientific ingredients, extreme care in com-
pounding, and inimitaljle skill that comes
from our 167 years of experience.
SHOW CARD COLORS
New York Devoc & Raynolds Co., Inc. Chicago
EVERYTHING IS IN THE
"Art of Show
That is, if you are equipped with the proper
tools, you can put real ART into your work
—increase your efficiency, save valuable time.
Always use —
BRUSHES AND SUPPLIES
These nationally known sup-
plies are recognized as superior
equipment. They give day-in-and-
day-out service — always to be re-
lied upon. Get my latest Catalog
No. 8, which contains the complete
Daily's Show Card Writing System
A compact volume, con-
taining a world of valua-
ble information. Postpaid
BERT L. DAILY
Entire Fourth Floor, 126-130 E. 3d St.
<^Ke Little Wizaid of LeUercrafL
Gordon &Geor<;,ePaien.i improved models aie
now made of specially prepared steel ?fittecb
w^iih flexible bras5,double resei-voir bmntaininK
retainers whidi auiDinatically control the flowfi
spread the color evenly over tlie entire "workinif
tip r insuring a faultless nonfloodiag flow of
eitlier black or white inks or thin opaque water
colors at aiiy speed r UAz,new style'C model
is desig^ned for Eomitalic lettering and movie/
title work- rcquiring^ the use of extra heavy inks
Ihe new Sludent Edition of the Speedball Text
Book, contains KEW layout features r decorative
stunts aad simplified nxethods for movie titles
and Comm.ercial lettering r^ Compreheizslve^
C.HOWARD HUNT PEN COMPANY
Ji^anu/actwej-s - CA M DE N - N . J. - 'Distn'huiors
I want to send
FREE a copy of the most^
valuable book published for the ' _ ''
show-card writer and sign-painter. it is
really a gold mine on hints and suggestions for
the man who makes his living with the lettering pencil.
We cater exclusively to the lettering fraternity, and
in this book I speak of, you will find a most complete
line of modern, up-to-date tools and materials.
My goods are not the kind you have been getting —
not the "store" variety — not "selected at random" sort.
My goods are not on sale elsewhere, except through my
authorized agents, because they are my own design,
and made to my order exclusively. They are designed
for a specific purpose; thus, if you have a particular
piece of work to execute, I have just the kind and size
brush for it. "Your brush problems have always been
1 have made the brush question a life-study. I know
and you know, that good lettering brushes cannot be
obtained from the average dealer, and I also know why
it is, because few dealers are practical men. They do
not know^ what you require. Goods to meet your
requirements should be designed and selected by a prac-
tical man. My 20 years' experience is back of every
brush. Furthermore, I guarantee everything I sell to
give complete satisfaction or I will expect you to return
it for a refund.
I can't begin to tell you all the good things originated
for you, so I invite you to write for this big book of
supplies. IT'S FREE. Get acquainted with a house
that made it easier for the sign-painter to make money.
Ask for catalog B.
L. S. STRONG, Manager
Supply and Service Department, Dept. L
DETROIT SCHOOL OF LETTERING
"OldeBt and Largett Dealers catering excluaioely la 'he letlerine fraternity"
. f !'•"
ill 013 972 909 2*