Sign & Digital Graphics

March '18

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • March 2018 • 87 4th Street Mural The designer sent me the complicated vector file as a huge collage. If you stop reading now and reflect on how you would organize this project you might get a sense of the many options and head-scratching round-about thoughts that are unavoidable on a huge "color- ing-book" project like this. I decided to plot the entire design onto 28" horizon- tal strips that would fit on my plotter. I like to break up the tiles myself with the cleaver tool rather than let the sign software overlap the tiles automatically so that I always know how the artwork overlaps and registers. For the graphic shapes I pounced everything for hand painting. As for the text blocks which could have been very time consuming and very difficult to do exactly; I built guidelines into my pounce pattern so I could position multiple paint masks. Tips for making my paint mask sys- tem go smoothly: 1. Use a high-tack paint mask such as Platinum/Hexis Labrican. 2. Gain control of the background color by painting it yourself or acquir- ing the actual wall paint used in a fairly recent (non-faded or chalking) paint job. A clear-coat can also be used as a pre- bleed if necessary. 3. Pre-bleed the mask by painting over the whole stencil with background color. Two-coats of pre-bleed are almost always better than just one. Plotting chart for horizontal tiles. 4. Roll on two coats of letter color. It is ok to put up to four coats of latex over the mask in rapid succession but the crucial step is to wait a good while after the last coat before peeling it up. With oil enamel on glass you want to peel up the mask right away or it will tear. It is the opposite with latex; it takes a while for the individual layers to stick to each other so you can yank on the mask. Do not use a strong bonding primer for the bleed-coat because it can stick to the mask and likely will not peel cleanly. Paper patterns also serve as a guide for placing the paint mask. High Tack Platinum/Hexis vinyl mask is adhered in position over the previously hand-painted shapes. The paint mask comes off. Notice that I forgot to "pre-bleed" the yellow part. Without two coats of pre-bleed all of the mural would have been like that. 4th Street Mural completed.

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