I spent about six years visiting Headway, a local brain injury clinic and recently offered to paint a welcome wall at their new center. I was ably assisted by Jeff Lang in far-off Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who made the pounce pattern for me. I did the painting--my first return to such tasks in a decade, and a most satisfying experience. The font is LHF Mystery by Dave Correll from LetterheadFonts.com and the bird vector image came from CanStockPhoto.com.
This was done from original black-and-white artwork by Edgar Church, a 1930’s lettering genius. Many of his designs were ads done for the Denver telephone book.
This was my first passable gild while relearning glass gilding using lettering by Norman Van Fossen.
I used Noel Weber’s Fargo font from CarmelType.Co here.
This garden sign for my sister was my first successful attempt to hold a brush, using a paint mask as an aid with the Studio Lettering font from House Industries
While visiting Bob Behounek, he asked for a word to letter. I gave him StumbleBee. Sinéad had used it to refer to me in a kindly way, because I was walking into her all the time. She might disagree, but I think this problem has improved.
Done on an old chest, done from old invoice lettering
The original lettering is from Broadside, the hand lettering journal Mac MacQuarrie published in the 1990s.
Making a few home decorations from Broadside lettering
A makeover on a Edgar Church phone ad, altered slightly for Jeff Lang’s birthday, hand cut, painted and touched up. It’s on my workshop door.
Peter McCullen lives in Sandymount in Dublin, Ireland.

Learning to hand letter for the second time

Bouncing back after a serious injury impairs lettering skills

By Peter McCullen

Posted on Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

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Nine years ago, I acquired myself a brain injury. In hindsight, I’d much prefer to have acquired a boat or small vacation home in Italy, but once such a thing arrives on your doorstep it has a tendency to stick around. I tried to run away a few times, but there it’d be, right where I left it. Best to just lean into the problem and learn ways to live together.

It took five years or so to cobble other injuries together and learn strategies for everyday living, but top of my list was the reinstatement of my ability to hand letter. From a sign painter’s point of view, I could no longer visualize letters, let alone draw them.

So, having originally learned the skill of signwriting from an excellent Dublin master, Mr. John Kane, in the mid-1980s, I determined to hark backwards to those days in an attempt to re-kindle the lost art. This might sound like a carefully thought-out plan but it mostly evolved over time with a degree of instinct.

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