I participated in the Tipo Brda workshop for the first time in the winter ’14. Intensive one-week long type design workshop opened my eyes and made me fall in love with the letters. Spending the whole week in the house full of nerdy font developers, talking about letter shapes only is an experience, which is difficult to explain to the outside world.

Throughout the past years, I became an active member of the Tipo Brda organisation and got the opportunity to (co)organize the workshops since ’17.  I (we) am daily spending (too much) hours in front of the computer, polishing the outlines. Therefore, when planning the summer ’17 workshop with Krista (co-organizer) we decided to take a step away from the digital design. We invited Jakob Engberg (Copenhagen signs) for mentoring sign painting workshop. Which was a blast! Only a thought of the last year’s workshop makes my heart go crazy!  We couldn’t resist inviting Jakob for another edition of the sing painting week. 

Tipo Brda holds two workshops per year – winter and summer edition. Summer ones are normally located in the middle of wine growing hills above the Adriatic sea. This year we accepted 15 participants, which was almost the maximum a studio house can take. Some people also decided to sleep in the tens outside the house.

We gathered on Sunday afternoon, get to know each other and got ourselves into the “summer camp” mood. As an intro to the workshop, everyone made his/her own handmade “mahlstick” from the wooden stick, piece of cotton and glue tape. 

Day 1

After breakfast, Jakob introduced us to basic block letters. In other words, how to draw mono-linear sans with a ruler and pencil.

We sketched the outlined alphabet of uppercase, grotesque-looking shapes, which are in sign-painting terminology called as block letters.

After the lunch, we moved on the basic shapes made with the brush and acrylic colour. We were working only on verticals, horizontals and rounds – basic strokes, which may sound super easy, but in fact, it was not. Getting used to the sign painting brush might take a bit more than expected.

Day 2

We started the day 2 with “filling” up our block letters. Using brush nu.6, black acrylic colour and mahlstick.

Block letters that we sketched previous days served as an example of lettering. We used the same technic for our signs as well – sketching the letter and then filling them up with the paint. 

Later on, Jakob introduced us to the basic sign painters script called casual. This style of the letters tends to lean on the right side, which gives the letter movement. Depending on the angle you use, the faster it appears. Of course is not only about slanting the letters. What makes the script looking great is the ending of the stroke. It is done by twisting the nib of the brush either on the right or left side (depending on the letter).

Day 3

We took advantage of a great summer-ish weather and moved our workstation outside.  As an intro to the day 3, Jakob explained different ways of shading the letters.

The plan for the day was sketching the design for the signs. Some of the participants already finished the design. They applied the shape of the sign on the wooden MDF panel and cut it out with a jigsaw.

Before putting the first coat of the primer on the panel, we had to send the surface in order to get that smooth, glossy look. When having it polished, we primed the panels with white acrylic colour. 

For our background colour, we used sprays. For having the everlasting sign, oil-based paint is used as the base. Since it takes a few days to dry,  we used sprays instead.

While waiting for colour to dry, we continued with sketching the design of our signs. 

Other preferred to put the isles outside and work on their brush script for a little longer.

Afternoon, some of the participants took a few hours off for swimming in the sea. I noticed people being more relaxed when coming back from the beach. Jump in the sea brought smiles on the participants’ faces. First few days, we were a bit “tight” – new people, new place. But after jumping in the water, the mood really loosened up.  It also relaxed the atmosphere which got a bit tense because of sketching the design. 

In the evening we gathered for a movie night – screening the Sign painting movie :) 

Day 4

Those who already finished with the sketches transferred them on the panel with pouncing technic. With a help of seam roller, we made small holes into the paper – pounce pattern. 

With bags full of pounce powder, we pounced on the paper in order to transfer the sketches on the panel! 

It was about a time for opening the Oneshot colours!



Day 5

Fridays are always the most “stressful” days of the workshops. We need to finish fonts/sign for the Saturday’s exhibition. Some of the participants were super productive and manage to work on already second sign. 


Day 6 – Exhibition

In the morning we still had some time for finishing the signs or exploring some new painting technics. 

But the afternoon was reserved for the exhibition.










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September 16

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