Section I. LETTERING AND SIGN PAINTING
Before beginning any painting-related activity, read Chapter 1, Section II, Safety
The directions given in this section are designed to acquaint the painter with the basic principles of lettering and sign
6-2. LETTERING STYLE
The lettering style suitable for all military requirements is known as the Vertical Gothic Style, illustrated in figure 6-1.
There will be times when stencils and decals are not available, requiring the soldier to utilize hand lettering. The types of
brushes required, and lettering and painting techniques used, are described in the following paragraphs.
Rough Surfaces. Painting brick, concrete, stucco, rough plaster, and boards that have been painted before will
require a flat bristle brush. The size depends upon the width of the letter. Brushes for these surfaces are classified as
fitches, angular fitches, and cutters.
Smooth Surfaces. Painting metal, glass, vehicles, boards, hardboard, and cardboard, will require a softer, flat
bristle, artist-type brush, or an oval wash brush, to obtain a finer degree of finish. These brushes are classified as single
stroke, lettering brushes, and come in a variety of soft bristle combinations. For beginner's use, a flat oxhair-and-sable
combination is suggested. This type of lettering brush has a knifelike precision edge and will hold a large load of paint,
which feeds evenly and accurately to the surface; it is also easy to control.
6-4. LETTERING TECHNIQUE
Preparation of the Brush. Dip the brush into the paint until all the bristles are immersed. Raise the brush straight
up until all excess paint drips from it. Stroke the brush back and forth on a smooth, flat surface in razor strop style until
the paint is worked well up into the bristles and until the end of the bristles form a sharp chisel-like edge (see figure 6-2).
This makes it possible to form a sharp, uniform stroke.
Basic Strokes. For lettering, an oval wash brush should be used because of its rounded end. Three basic
strokes form the basis of all Vertical Gothic Lettering. The three basic strokes are: straight (vertical, horizontal, slant), left
curve, and right curve. The basic principles of these strokes are demonstrated in figure 6-3. To differentiate still further,
the basic strokes can be separated into nine subdivisions: vertical, horizontal, left slant, right slant, left curve, right curve,
top curve, bottom curve, and "S", as shown in figure 6-3.
Direction of Brush Strokes. The appearance of a hand-drawn letter depends, to a very considerable degree, upon
the direction given to each brush stroke. It is therefore important to closely follow the standard directions shown in figure
6-4 using the oval wash brush.
Right and Wrong Ways of Lettering. Avoid the mistakes indicated in figure 6-5, and follow the right methods
Spacing and Balance. It is particularly important for the less experienced sign painter to pencil-in the letters upon
the working surface before painting, making sure that they are accurately spaced and balanced and of uniform size and
relationship. It may be necessary to letter under difficult conditions, at times, and with limited materials. In this event, the
following method should be used.