Anne Ulku


Sign Painting

Along with a few other courses throughout this past year, I took Sign Painting at MCAD as a continuing education offering.

Loved the opportunity of this course to explore something new. We learned some traditional sign painting techniques and practiced a lot of exercises to start getting the feel of the brush the paints and the strokes. 


I found it difficult to keep a consistent hand! This comes with many more years of lots of practice. Being that this course was only six weeks, it was really just a small introduction to sign painting. But I felt like I learned a nice introduction to the exercises to keep practicing and moving forward on perfecting the skill. 

Doing the lettering freehand has always been the biggest struggle for me. I've done a few murals that have allowed me to predetermine a design to then translate to a wall from a grid formation (Without Darkness), projection screens (Tunheim), or sketching in great detail beforehand (school).

I love the look and energy of freehand painted lettering and I think I'll start to feel more comfortable with it the more I work on it.


Our final project was to be a sign. I chose to frame it around an idea of a series that I'd like to continue working on.

In the past many months, I have been collecting pairs of words that have the same number of letters in them. They become very simple statements but the juxtaposition of them make them bold and powerful. 

My first in the series is WHOA NOPE. Wanted to explore some a unique color palette with this series as well. Sticking to a very structured grid with the letterforms to allow for a very symmetrical balance of space and color.

Check out the process video below.


I look forward to continuing this series on more of this masonite—which I just had cut down from the hardware store—and possibly other raw materials that I find. I like the unfinished juxtaposition to the clean and colorful lettering. I sorta want some of these embroidered or printed on hats or t-shirts as well:) Maybe next I'll do YES BUT or YES AND.