Signed. . .Shady Lady

Dear Arrighi,

Can you tell me how to do shadowing on letters, and what materials are used?


Shady Lady

Dear Shady Lady.

Shadowing or shading is an old engrossing technique and very prevelant in sign painting. According to sign painting literature, shading is added to improve the appearance of the letters, and make them stand out. The shading is done with the idea that light is casting a shadow from a raised object. In sign painting, shading is usually done on the bottom, to the left. This is less detailed and uses more straight lines. But for script style lettering bottom right is used, because it flows better.

Engrossers usually shadow to the right bottom. For calligraphers, either way is fine. We usually use diluted ink and a brush to do shading. But a pen can be used. A nice touch is to use brush markers on coated paper stock and use a grey brush marker to shade a running script style.