Santa Claus Custom Banner

A custom hand painted banner reading Season's Greetings done in enamel paintI always liked doing custom banners and I still do. I use scaled artwork converted to a transparency and hand letter my banners with one shot enamel. When I had my shop in Anaheim I could do 40’ banners if necessary. Most of the time they were around 8’ in length. Today there is the option of digital print and vinyl letters to use instead of hand lettering. The banner material has greatly improved from the ‘drill’ cloth that I used when I first started out in the sign business.

I’ve always loved the Coca Cola Santa done by Haddon Sundblom and all the work he did for Coke.

I wanted a Christmas banner to display over my girlfriend Anne’s garage door for a Christmas party we were having in 1984.

As with all my hand lettered work at the time, I made a pattern using a transparency and the overhead projector.

I did the script on paper with a marker until I put together the right combination. You can use a marker, charcoal or brush. It is a method I learned from a book on Graphic Design and because it’s done with the natural flow, when it is enlarged it looks like it was hand scripted.

This was a lot of fun to do. I had my daughter Amy help me paint the background with bulletin enamel. The banner has worked as an invitation for Christmas parties for many years and is still in good shape. My wife Anne and I have had Christmas Sing Alongs yearly since that first banner.

Faux Painted 1940s Jukebox

A faux painted prop for an interior 50’s set
This is the final painting of the faux painted juke box prop for RWB Party Props in Orange and was painted about 30 years ago. The sign is done on a 4’x8’ plywood panel and was used extensively on the 50’s sets that Bob put together for corporate parties. This is only one of many signs and props I did for RWB. The ‘jukebox’ was a lot of fun to do and I had help from a fellow sign painter, Kenny Leisure, who worked out of Whittier. I also did all of the exterior signs that are on the old Citrus Building that houses RWB Party Props.

Custom Disc Jockey Booth

A disc jockey booth built for a dance club and hand painted and letteredCustom disc jockey booths are not new. This custom disc jockey booth was done in the 1980s when there was a resurgence of 50’s music and there was a club in Irvine that was built called ‘Happy Day’s’.

They may have spelled it different from the TV series. Anyway the owner asked me to design and letter a disc jockey booth that would reflect the era.

At that time I had an expensive ‘morgue file’ as we used to call a collection of reference material. From that I got ideas about what to use for this 1950’s job. I made color sketches for the presentation using pen and markers. I would do rough sketches on tissue and then combine the good parts to make a working comp. I also did the working drawings for the booth itself.

The contractor did a great job constructing the booth and after it was completed I hand painted everything with enamel paint. They added Tivoli lights for effect. It was a pretty neat addition for the club, and became a popular place to dance and party.

Coca Cola Vintage Sign

This sign was restored using hand painted and hand lettered techniquesThe contractor who brought me this sign is a collector of vintage Coca Cola memorabilia.

Steve bought this sign from a local dealer and it was totally thrashed. The sign face was barely readable and we figured it to definitely be a vintage Coca Cola sign.

What I thought to be one of the finer points of the sign was the metal border. It was tiered stamped metal and had rounded corners. The separate border was about eleven inches wide and had junction pieces that acted as decoration on the border.

I made traced over what was left of the artwork and then researched Coca Cola signs to try to find a similar looking sign.

Steve brought me a Coca Cola vintage sign book and we found artwork that was used on signs like this one. I had purchased a book with Coca Cola art also. He cleaned the metal and got it ready for priming and then I did the background and border in Fire Red. The most difficult part was duplicating the illustration from the picture in the book, but after several trying attempts it started to have the look of an old Coke sign. I painted the illustration with acrylics, Mann Bros. to be exact.

Once completed, I made brackets for the tiered border so they could be mounted on the old sign and then aged the sign to have that ‘vintage’ look.

Steve was happy with the finished sign and it now has a place at his home.

Chili’s Big Mouth Burger Interior Sign

Interior sign hand painted enamel
This interior sign was done for Chili’s Restaurant in Aliso Viejo back in 1997. I believe they contacted me from the phone book.

I did all the interior signs for this store and they were all on brick walls. At the time they furnished the patterns but the technology wasn’t good enough to get a clean pattern. The pen work had too little detail and there was no flow to the lines as I remember.

I requested a picture of the logo and enlarged it, then I did a trace over for a transparency to use with the overhead projector.

I used a large hand held pounce wheel to make the transfer holes. I used felt as a backing for the wheel on pattern paper. Whenever I’ve worked on brick or any rough surface the need for larger holes is imperative because of the rough surface. I had an electric pounce machine but the holes were not adequate.

The brick was also brutal on my fitches but the job was finished in the time frame given. A ‘fun’ job!