As well as 64 advertising-free pages of adventures in sign painting, there is something else inside Issue 03 of BLAG (Better Letters Magazine): a limited edition poster of The Sign Painter's Studio miniature by Danielle McGurran. This now ships, with the magazine, to all new members at the Blagger level and above.
Danielle published her work to social media as I was finishing off the BLAG 03 feature about artists working with signs and lettering in miniature. I rushed to interview her via email, and stole her 'magic in the minutiae' phrase for the headline—thanks Danielle!
We then got talking about the poster idea, a format I had been developing as an option for advertisers. This was finessed with the inclusion of a 'map' on the reverse, detailing all the work she recreated in miniature for the diorama. This credits sign painters, artists, and publications that have inspired her, in addition to her mum, a former sign painter.
Danielle is one of the Issue 03 contributors that you can hear from at the first ever BLAG Meet in October. The event is free and online, with tickets available now via Eventbrite.
More speaker announcements will follow in the weeks/months ahead. If you can't wait, then check out the other scheduled BLAG Events in the meantime.
The miniatures feature also made the front cover, with Carl Fredrik Angell (aka Frisso) peering through the window of his tiny sign shop. (Frisso's work has previously featured here, and BLAG 02 profiled his book, Frisso's Risso.)
BLAG 03 Contents
Each issue of BLAG has 64 internal pages, and the contents of these from Issue 03 are expanded on below. The magazine is kept free of advertising by paying members, patrons, and sponsors. This means that every single page is dedicated to our adventures in sign painting.
Paid members also get access to bonus content from each issue. There are 80 additional photos, a video, and two PDF downloads in the bonus material from BLAG 03.
On the Brush
There are a dozen projects profiled in 'On the Brush', the section of BLAG which showcases interesting and inspiring work from around the world. The pictures are accompanied by short texts that get under the skin of these, including lessons learned.
Inspired by the Past
This issue's 'Ghost Sign Corner' features the marvellous Marvel Cycle Co. sign in Bath, while 'Ye Olde Sign Shoppe' takes us to Turkey to explore the surviving work of Enver Yücebalkan.
There are even more vintage signs at the Old Signs of Amman museum in Jordan, and 'Inside Letterform Archive' profiles the output of Ross F. George, including his original artwork for The Speedball Textbook.
In contrast to the piece on working in miniature, the second main feature scales thing up with a look at artists and sign painters working on murals with blocks, shades, and trompe l'oeil techniques. The three profiled artists discuss the evolution of their work, how they go about projects, and the routes they took into this niche.
People, Past and Present
'Meet the Letterheads' is dedicated to one of the movement's founding members, John Frazier. It is a tribute from fellow Letterhead Mark Oatis, with more work from the collection shared in this recent bl.ag online article.
The new section, 'Shop Talk', introduces more people, with this issue profiling the partnership at Boston Painted Signs, and the gang from Bungo Sign Co. in Glasgow.
Reflecting on a year since her Burds of the Brush meet (see review in BLAG 01), Rachel E. Millar looks at the lived experience of women in today's sign painting trade.
Gustavo Ferrari's 'Secrets of Fileteado Porteño' column is a step-by-step for creating the acanthus leaf, while Timothy Maddox shows us how he uses paper signs to develop lettering and layout skills. There's even more to learn in Patricia van den Akker's piece on the benefits of owning your own website/shop and mailing list, versus complete reliance on social media.
Alice Mazzilli's 'Interowriting' column explores the notion of writing as art, and Justin Burns' piece about Tuscan letters places these in the context of his work on the typographic vernacular of English seaside resorts.
Alphabet and Sundries
Rob Cooper's third alphabet for BLAG is Ultra which he says he uses "a lot for punchy bar signs". The end of the magazine is then filled with various sundries, including: 'Wise Words' from Smart Alex Signs/Doc Guthrie; Jill Strong spelling it wrong; a response to the pangram challenge from Ben Arstad; another special pounce wheel; and much more.
More than 45 contributors from 14 countries made BLAG 03 possible, and it was once again a pleasure to collaborate with so many brilliant people around the world. Thank you all.