2 day and 5 Day Courses

UK's dedicated monthly lettering course

NGS Signsmiths, in the heart of London signwriting. Monthly ‘Painted Letters’ courses, for those beginning with paint again.


‘The New Beginners’ 2-Day weekend course has been developed month after month, to be perfectly relevant for you picking up the brush’.





Designed specifically for the new beginner – skills and fixes… it all works

The first question I am asked is usually about experience and suitability and forms my primary consideration. Having no experience can be an asset.

This course is designed for new starters and all levels of lettering enthusiasts and aims to develop authentic letter painting skills. It will also focus on signwriting brush control, letter structures, type design, sound design layout techniques and building all-round confidence for the new creative writer.

Because my main concern was to build a course that delivers skills that work immediately, it is based on an the working parts of a project from start to finish. Each section consecutively feeding and adding up to the next.

 ‘Yes it’s fun and I know some courses push that side… but it is a course that also flags up to the student, common practical considerations and ‘curved-balls’ that only happen on site and how to solve them.  It’s no fun outside in the cold not knowing how to fix it up and move on.

Getting to the end of a challenging project in great shape is where it is really at for any beginner with the ambition to go-pro. The satisfaction of achieving that, for a new writer, is often overwhelming and immeasurable. Then the fun can really begin!’

 Training the new, truly modern traditional signpainter

You will be shown the correct methods of how to:

  • Create designs and layout patterns
  • Set up tools and projects on site
  • Create beautiful, sharp lettering
  • Create correct letter-spacing
  • Peripheral Pro-Practices that count

Attention to detail from the very first which makes a big difference.

The cross-section of our students

The beginner: ‘I have a houseboat’

The chalk artist & set painter: merging skill sets into a clean brush technique

The new signwriter: refining precision, shape and typographic history

The student or creative pro: invaluable crossover skill sets for a wider pro practice

Course Times:  

Friday evening meet up – 7.00pm – 8.30pm

Saturday 10.00am – 5.30pm

Sunday 10.00am – 5.30pm


NGS, Unit 205, Regent House Business Centre,

291 Kirkdale, London SE26 4QD


Signwriting practice usually starts with learning the correct structure of block letters. Understanding sign writing also benefits from a close, permanent study of classical forms of lettering: Roman lettering (Trajan) if you are aiming to be the complete writer.

While I hold true to authentic lettering origins I also seek out new methodology and tools to roll projects through more easily… without losing the truly hand made process.

Here you are learning ‘couture; approach to the cutting of letter shapes with the pencil and the brush. From the start you will be shown and encouraged to follow your instincts and desire for excellence.


Above, Trajan: The ‘sketch’.

BelowThe final painted form.

Lettering detail R Original Features Hornsey London NGS signwriters

Below: An ‘Ornamental’ Roman letter gilded onto glass. By understanding the primary Roman letter, all variations fit and retain the very best qualities and legibility.

NGS Signsmiths carvnival letters Learn to paint letters London 012

NGS Sign Crew days with clear objectives

On the weekend course we will look at the important influence of foundation letter styles, such as ‘Gothic’ sans serif and Imperial Roman lettering. We will hold the learning mantras as a continuum over the weekend and you will likely carry the thread for your rest of your career.

We will also focus on the value of maintaining professionalism in such areas as costng and even SEO management. Best of all we shall explore the emerging workings of trend leading, pro-writer set-up skills, as they happen, directly from the NGS Crew coal-face.

The Weekend schedule

We will be learning:

  • The key broadlaws of ‘retro’ sign typographic design and lettering styles
  • How to set-up your first kit
  • Brush practice: Painting all day focusing fine control mechanics
  • History of the Roman letter, London sans-serifs and cursive 
  • Using software for design: Photoshop
  • 4 solid ground rules of spacing and kerning

DAY 1: *Unit 1

  • Intro talk about going-pro from the start
  • Useful tips: How to set up on site, kit preparation
  • Drawing Romans and sans-serif: 2.5 hrs
  • Brush Technique, mixing, palleting: secrets of loading the brush correctly
  • Painting practice – 4-6 hrs

DAY 2: *Unit 1

  • Painting practice: Strokeplay, sans-serifs
  • Re-cap Structure of Edward Johnston classic sans-serif, 
  • Crucial Letter Spacing Techniques
  • Painting the S, O and ‘magnetics’ of brush-stroke guides
  • Painting Block letters – Comparing NYC, Italian and London styles
  • Painting medley of letter styles
  • Drawing script/cursive letters
  • Essentials of Trajan Roman
  • Adding shades


Essential skills like how to trim a brush for example… and

Bones of letters signwriting course by NGS of London 4

...how to swing the strokes correctly.

How to design highly original type

How to draw and paint London and New York Gothic block letters, Romans, and Cursives

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Kind Words

I can see you’re a prolific human being. The world needs good souls like you.

Noel Weber, Signmaster USA

Nick, you certainly put in the dedication and the great thing about your workshops is that they look professional and everything you teach looks so spot on… you have the passion that the old timers had, I can see it in you.

… and the skill.
David A. Smith, UK


2 Day Course

The Painted Letters course fee aims to be fairly priced.

235.00 with all materials.

Group or pair bookings discounted 10-25%


10%  for Full-time students – Part time workers – Pensions.

Securing a place

Deposit of 100.50 followed by payment in full to Paypal account secures your place.

BOOKING by Bacs or PayPal Deposit

Paypal acc address is



*Double check it is a GBP Pounds Sterling payment thanks


N J Garrett



Nationwide Bank

Free Book

‘Bones of Painted Letters’

Nick Garrett

Product description

A book introducing the London New York and Milan sans-serif letter techniques to the lettering enthusiast.

Available at Amazon for pre-order.

Front Cover bones of letters book 1 NGS copia

Signwriting as an art, a trade and a craft going back 2000 years. Having come back from the brink of extinction in the eighties, today the young designers and artists across the world are taking up the brush and re-kindling this fine artistic trade in ways the inspire the older generation of signmasters.


Backed up with a historical perspective and cornerstone modern day project application, the renowned sign masters, Noel Weber and David Smith frame the pages and join Nick in leading the way to the next generation of the craft. The first of 4 Books full of the Bones of Letters from the London Signsmiths’ lettering school of NGS.




  • Paperback: 86 pages
  • Publisher: NGS Signsmith Signwriting Publications; First signed limited edition (16 June 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0995784019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0995784017
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.2 x 20.5 cm


Price £29.99 (pounds sterling)


If you need any additional information just call or email me – I will get back to you by return. Look forward to meeting you and if you can’t make this next date, stay in the loop and join our mailing list, or hit the follow us Facebook button.


+44 (0) 7960113799



DAY 1: *Unit 1

  • Design and detailing
  • Kit preparation and brush care
  • Materials and supplies 
  • Drawing Romans and Sans Serif
  • Painting practice & Letters

DAY 2: *Unit 1

  • Strokeplay Sans Serifs
  • Re-cap Structure
  • Painting Block letters – Comparing NYC, Italian and London styles

Weekend course finishes.

DAY 3: *Unit 2

  • Romans – 3 classic types of Roman letter
  • Drawing Painting serif letters
  • 3D Blended Shades, Mock Blocks – how to


DAY 4: Long Day *Unit 2

  • Option when weather allows:  On Site – part of day
  • Drawing and Painting 3 styles of Cursive Scripts
  • Circus letters!
  • 3D Shades, Mock Blocks Outlining, Inlining, Blending, Gilding.


Day 5: *Unit 2.5

  • Scripts 
  • About Paint Effects
  • Fine Composition
  • Final piece

*NVQ vocational Diploma

Fees on Application


PAYPAL Deposit to:  nickgarrett2828@yahoo.co.uk

BOOKING by Bacs or PayPal Deposit

Paypal acc address is



*Double check it is a GBP Pounds Sterling payment thanks

*Surface gilding does not include glass gilding

Useful Links 



All the courses 2017

LINK https://signsmithscourseslond.wordpress.com/courses-2016/

Where we are:







+44 (0)7960113799  




Unit 205, 291 Kirkdale, Sydenham London SE264QD


For Beginners and all levels - all paint materials inc. Gold leaf supplied at trade cost