Secrets to Success: Adding to your Repertoire

Learn by doing
We can all learn new skills from the experience of others.  Replicating designs through the use of how-to books and step-by-step tutorials are the perfect conduit for building your skills whether the materials are scrutinized for personal study or simply followed while painting just for fun. For example, tracing patterns may seem to be tedious, busy work. In reality, each pattern that you trace becomes a drawing lesson. By tracing the patterns instead of photocopying them onto tracing paper, you will become familiar not only with the original arrangement but also with the various elements that make up that design.

Adapting designs
Perhaps you have purchased a pattern and would like to use on a surface besides the one shown in a book or tutorial. To adapt a pattern begin by tracing an outline of the surface you would like to use. The outline will establish the boundaries for the design. If the pattern is the proper size, you can simply arrange the various elements as desired and trace them. To facilitate arranging the elements it is helpful to have extra copies that you can cut apart in order to position each element separately.  If the surface is ether larger or smaller than the original pattern, you will need to adjust the size on a copier.

Resizing patterns
The easiest way to determine the percentage at which the pattern will need to be run is to divide the final size by the original size. For example, if you want to take a pattern that is 6” wide and enlarge it to 12” you will begin with the final size (12”) divide it by the original size (6”) and the result is 2 (200%). The same formula works for reducing as well. If you want to make a 12” pattern fit a 6” surface begin again with the final size (6”) divide it by the original size (12”) and the result is .5 (50%).

Finding the Center of the Surface
You may find that your chosen surface does not come to a measurement that is easily divided in half such as the one that measure an odd fraction i.e., 4 7/8”.  To find the center, begin by placing your ruler at an angle across one end of the surface so the measurement is easily divisible by two. In this case I would angle the ruler so the overall measurement is 6”. Mark the halfway point, which in this instance is 3”.  In the same manner, angle the ruler at the opposite end of the surface.  Again, mark the halfway point. The number shown on the ruler is irrelevant; it simply must be readily divisible by two.  Draw your centerline by connecting the marks. You will find this process pictured on page fifteen of “Elegant Lettering for Your Home”.

Draw from your own experiences
Elegant Lettering for Your Home
Before becoming a professional designer, my experience was as a technical illustrator and prior to that, sign-painting, which provided me with some noteworthy practical tips & tricks. The preceding are examples of the great tips you will find in the book “Elegant Lettering for Your Home”.  ELH is not a font book, but a practical guide to working with text presented in the context of easy painted projects for your home, which help you to create an artful atmosphere to enhance your artful lifestyle! Techniques found in "Elegant Lettering for Your Home" include etching on glass, establishing focus with upper and lower case letters, enhancing furniture, creating and embellishing a lampshade, adapting text to flow on a banner, painting custom labels, balancing lettering with a descender, lettering on fabric, creating a portable border and more!  Read more regarding this book and the special bonuses offered to all retail customers who purchase this book from

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