How to Sign Your Painting: The top 3 Things to Know and Why It Matters!
1. The design of your signature
Spending some time ‘designing’ your signature is worthwhile as it your logo. I chose capital letters with playful dots replacing the cross lines on the ‘A’s and to join the R and J in my first name. Unless you are Cher or the like, it is better to sign with your last name. Alternatively use your first and last names, or an initial for your first name. On big paintings I use both my first and last name. For smaller ones I use my last name only. If you use your initials hopefully it won’t be a rude acronym! Initials make it makes it harder for buyers to know who the artist is. If you have a readable signature on the back of your work, this is a moot point.
2. The colour of your signature
Our signature is an element of the overall painting design. Personally I prefer signatures that blend. However, some artists with short names can successfully use a bright colour. Long, bright signatures can be distracting, especially if rendered too large. I once overheard a potential buyer decide not to buy a piece they loved for these reasons.
3. The placement of your signature
Place your signature where it looks best: the bottom left or right, sideways along a vertical edge, or like some of the old-time painters, along the top. Abstract artists might only sign the back or outside edge of a canvas to allow flexibility in choosing which edge is at the top. It is fun to rotate abstract art to see which view is most pleasing, though the creator may have firm ideas on this. Fun can be had by signing a street sign within a painting or an item in a still life and so on.
Avoid having your signature being covered when using a back-loading frame, which can cover an 1/8th to a 1/4 inch around the edges. (Be aware of this when painting small as the design can be impacted by the trimming effect of the frame.) There is no issue with trimming when using a front loading frame.
Other things to consider
Make sure to use a medium compatible with your painting when signing. For example, some artists use acrylic paint pens on their acrylic works. Do not use sharpies or any kind of felt pen. We want to maintain the archival quality of your work. I use a small, round brush with a good point for signing. When mixing the paint, I thin it down with medium for better flow. Try different types of brushes to get the look you want. Depending on your medium, a stamp can be used to sign as well. On a totally different topic, cursive writing is no longer taught in schools, so may become unreadable in future!
You can use a pencil to sign the back of your painting, along with the title. If you have a website, you could also write this on the back edge. Add a business card and/or documents of authentication as well.