Blood, Sweat and beers – a non aca article by Nick Garrett – keep it real.


Q: can I really paint letters?


The question has to be gone!!

Dreams weaken chains –

If you’re really feeling it at work/home/uni and are intrigued by signwriting the next move might just involve some paint, attitude and serious personal style. The seeds are down… 

Important to know that even a complete beginner comes into the studio with no pre-set ideas or skills and by the end of the weekend they can paint sharp letters and know how to create layouts – I see it all the time and it’s what this course structure is about. With a little dedicated practice anyone can take up this art and make a decent living.

Change doubt for out, now… do this thing.


It’s really important to sack doubt and fear (scared parenting incapacitators!) and get yourself into creative space situations that challenge you and take you higher.

It’s not scary and even if it is so what… scary doesn’t block the way. Not anymore.

That’s the deal you have to subscribe to in order to be good at this type of work.


Bullshit avoidance? – Innovate and avoid mediochre

Apologies for the vernacular but hey!

I regard myself as an innovator because that’s been my headspace ever since I left Art college in 1981. Notice Art with a capital.

Why innovation in/on tradition? TBH I can deploy all the tricks as needed no matter the situation on site but for a newbie it’s gotta be a distilled version that problem solves consistently. As a result I have developed a thinking that is always dedicated to the practical result and guides the student to the next challenge clearly, without nasty shocks etc!

The course structure is very well sussed out. The way you execute proper brushstroke practice develops on day 1, feeds day 2.

Even overnight a lot of skills configure themselves in downtime. When the guys come in on day 2 they are amazed at how something just clicked and they made the jump. It’s the way we learn by being fully focused on and complete switch of so that the mind can defrag info and lock it in. Hands free!!

Summarising: it is important to set your headspace as you start out in this game. Innovation is one of the main pillars and must be thought about and allowed to germinate originality in the background constantly.



The most important thing I’ve learnt… how to avoid the shit! Problem avoidance.

Once you understand how preparation is far more important than any amount of so called ‘talent’, you’re on track to open the way for solid learning and good professional practice.

So much of this art is all about nuts and bolts – it really is. How to set up a sheet in the wind on site, dead level. How to load the brush – how to clean it. How to make your site kit safe. How to chalk down. How to post-letter clean up… how to warm up, start the day’s writing with a clear run and logical easy entry point. How to pace yourself over the day, or year one.

These are all gold dust strategies that anyone can learn and do a lot of positive things for you. Firstly they make you execute work in an organised way. Secondly they allow you to attack the day always from the point of strength. Sound strategy.

Mind clear, solid mechanics (technique), job done.

When it goes to shit it also teaches you how to trust yourself, grind it out, take breaks, dig deep and make it happen.

It’s a killer course built on solid Minds, Mounds and Mountains.

GROUNDWORK IS DONE! Background to foreground


Above: Rome is where the Art is

You’ve probably been having a good look at the art and got yourself hooked on it! That’s great because it is a genuine opportunity to wire in a lot of independence and freedom into your life. Nothing to stop you going from one canal to the next throughout summer painting boats is there?

So keep ideas swirling in the background and literally watch them pop up in front of you on the road ahead. Research and look up. Travel and see great art.

”You know what Nick I was starting out and needed some big jobs to get me going and I literally had a word with the man up there and asked him to get me started… next day I got 1000 vans to decal up…!”

David Cannon, Evoke Studio

The beer tastes sweeter.

The info and Course Summary
This course works for ALL levels.  

Contact me if you are concerned and need to chat.

  • For the complete beginner: a clear cut correct method and sign business overview
  • For the chalk artist & set painter: merging skill sets into a clean brush technique
  • For the signwriter: refining precision, shape and typographic history

For the creative pro: invaluable crossover skill sets for a wider pro practice


You will need a journal – I have freebie note booklets for you.

  • Drawing letters component
  • A drawing practice to include an hour of solid block letter drafting.
  • Design and Spacing
  • A new method adding a better spacing system and sound design mechanics.
  • Morning Talk Talk
  • Defining Tradition – can it survive the modern world?
  • Painting Letters
  • Understand the brush and how it plays from pallet to letter. Clean shape formation, crisp finishing, honed technique…
  • Heads-up Sign project set-up.
    Set up practice – how to tackle cold weather, wind and rain.
    Set up practice – Which tapes work and which fail.
    The secret of super hot Brush skills – spend focused time on the priceless skill builders. Learn the NGS sharpening skills.
    Painting great letters – techniques and styles you will learn:
    Brush and Kit care – how to clean and preserve great brushes
    Drawing and trace practice – analysing structure of blocks and Romans
    Brush skills development sets – specific NGS refinement practices
    Dom Casual USA style – understanding the brush sequences
    Block/Roman – developing the essential skills
    Casual Script – Boston and S American style characteristics
    Shades – how to mix and blend flowing shades
  • A fabulous weekend planned again to keep the brush loaded and get you all rolling.
    Finish 5.30pm 17.30hrs

For all levels – all materials inc.
Book your place now

If you need any additional info just let me know. Please forward any questions by email and I will get back to you by return.

Nick Garrett