How to Make an Artist Signature for Paintings | Signaturely (2022)

An artist’s signature is the finishing touch on a piece—the culmination of hours of work. Different mediums require different considerations for placing the all-important signature on a final product. Signaturely is not only an industry leader in online signatures; we also have helpful tips and tricks for signing your fine art pieces.

Here’s how to make an artist’s signature for paintings, drawings, and more.

Why an Artist Signature is Important

Regardless of the medium, an artist’s signature is a vital conclusion to their work. All artists should sign their compositions, so if you’re an artist who doesn’t consistently sign your pieces, now is the time to start.

A signature on a piece of art, first and foremost, is a marker identifying your work as your own. Signatures can even help paintings, drawings, and other forms of fine art to increase in value over time. As an artist grows in popularity, their signature becomes more and more valuable.

Signatures also tie bodies of work together. Even disjointed, separate sets of work can have a sense of cohesion when one consistent signature is used for them all.

(Video) 5 quick signature tips to brand your paintings with authority

How to Make an Artist Signature For Different Mediums

As we mentioned, different mediums have different considerations for creating an artist’s signature—from the materials used to the signature placement. Let’s have a look at how to make an artist’s signature for different mediums.

How to Sign Paintings

How to Make an Artist Signature for Paintings | Signaturely (1)

Signing paintings can be tricky, as paint behaves very differently depending on the material you’re painting on, let alone the type of paint you’re using. Let’s focus on three common kinds of paint: oil, acrylic, and watercolor.

Oil paintings are typically thick and often include multiple layers of paint before the piece is complete. As a best practice, it may be easiest to scratch your signature into the paint simply. Once you have a dry base layer of paint, scratch the signature into a semi-wet top layer of paint. Use the end of a brush or a paint knife to make a clear signature.

Acrylic paintings are similar to oil paintings, but the paint dries much faster. You need to be a bit more intentional about when you sign the acrylic painting (we’ll talk about when to sign later in the article). Using paint thinner with some acrylic paint makes the medium easier to manipulate. The result is a smooth, clean signature.

Watercolor paintings dry even faster than acrylic paintings, but the thinness allows for very easy signatures. Most artists use a high-quality archival pen or even a paint pen to sign their watercolor pieces.

Regardless of the medium, be sure to sign your painting before you varnish it.

Where to Sign a Painting

It’s important to consider where you place your signature. Traditionally, signatures are written on the bottom left of the painting’s front side. This is where most art collectors will expect a signature, although that doesn’t mean you must sign there. There are no rules of where to sign, just best practices.

Other artists prefer to hide their signatures on the back of the painting. Some might not enjoy their signature, or they don’t want to take away from the art, but of course, they still want to put their name on the piece. Remember that consistency is key; stick with it once you find the right placement and style.

How to Sign Drawings

How to Make an Artist Signature for Paintings | Signaturely (2)

As is the case with paintings, you need to consider your drawing medium when thinking through how you’ll sign the piece. Drawings can be done in traditional mediums such as graphite and artist-quality drawing pencils or more modern mediums such as ink.

(Video) Quick Tip 147 - Signature Painting

There are two stylistic considerations for signing a drawing. While signing a painting inherently results in contrasting the signature vs. the piece of art, it’s easy for a signature to get lost in a drawing. Whether you’d like it to stand out or be hidden, it’s important to consider what you use to sign the piece.

For example, signing a graphite drawing with graphite may not make the signature stand out. Signing with ink or something as drastic as making your signature white will make a bold artist statement and ensure that viewers see your signature. What you intend to say with your signature will help you decide what tool you should use to sign your work.

Where to Sign a Drawing

Signatures on drawings are similar to signatures on paintings; traditionally, signatures are placed on the front of the piece on the bottom left. Again, thinking about the intent of the signature can help you make your decision. Want to claim your work boldly? The front of the drawing is the right place for your signature.

How to Sign Prints

How to Make an Artist Signature for Paintings | Signaturely (3)

Prints are duplicates of the same piece of art, but it’s important to differentiate them from one another. Without a clear way to differentiate them, they may not be as valuable – and without a unique marker for limited editions or limited runs, someone may fraudulently duplicate your art. First, ensure your print is on high-quality material. The better the material, the easier it will be to sign.

Second, choose the right medium for your signature. Size, placement, and style are all important. Consider using ink on a high-gloss print. Matte finishes can be signed with a pencil and sealed with a light varnish spray. While consistency is important, the subtle differences in your signatures can help make each print unique—a bit of variation adds to the signature’s authenticity.

Finally, consider numbering your limited-edition prints. For example, if there are only 10 prints available, number them with 1 through 10. This shows the rarity of the piece and can make it more valuable. Knowing the prints are limited-edition can motivate collectors to pay more for your work.

Where to Sign a Print

Where you sign a print can also make the piece unique. Most prints are signed near the edge, but buyers may request a signature elsewhere.

How to Sign Digital Art

The popularity of digital art is on the rise, so it’s important to have a simple, effective way to sign your digital artwork. While the method of signing digital art may be different, all the same rules apply; the placement and style of the signature are important. Signaturely can help you create the right signature for all of your digital art.

Whether it’s a stagnant, consistent digital signature that you simply place on your work or a hand-drawn signature, signatures on digital art are just as important as those placed on traditional works. Here are some tips on how you can digitally sign a drawing or painting on your iPad.

(Video) Alternative Ways How to Sign Your Artworks Create A Simple Symbol Signature in Signing Oil Paintings

Where to Sign Digital Art

Digital signatures are found on the ‘front’ of the piece, as there is no back to sign. While digital art is often tied to an online profile or is presented on a website where clear credit is given to the artist, a digital signature can help give a piece that finishing touch.

Tips for Making an Artist Signature

How to Make an Artist Signature for Paintings | Signaturely (4)

Now that you’ve got some best practices for signing various art pieces let’s take a look at tips on creating an artist signature.

1. Make Sure It’s Legible

First and foremost, your signature should be legible. Unless you’re already a world-famous artist, chances are people don’t yet know your name. A legible signature not only claims the art as your own but also gets your name out there.

The size of your signature is also an important factor—too small, and the signature can’t be read. Too large, and it distracts from the art. Finding the right size for your art may take a bit of practice. To help you get the right proportions for your signature, use tracing paper to test out a few sizes before committing.

2. Using Your Full Name vs. Initials

Again, a signature is all about name recognition. It’s best to use your full name instead of your initials, especially if you plan on selling your paintings and building a brand for yourself.

Your full name allows potential buyers and collectors to connect with you online easily, so don’t leave potential customers guessing by only including your initials.

3. Sign At the Right Time

As a best practice, sign your work as soon as it’s complete. If you’re signing a painting, be sure to sign before the painting is varnished. Varnish is a clear coat that protects paintings from dust and other external factors. It also makes colors more intense and creates a consistent look for the painting. Once varnish is applied it’s difficult to sign the painting in a presentable way.

We’ve already mentioned the benefit of signing an oil painting early as the top layer of paint is drying; it also makes sense to sign a drawing shortly after it’s complete. Waiting may make the signature look out of place as the graphite or ink may fade over time.

4. Keep Framing in Mind

Placement is not only an important visual consideration when it comes to signing your piece. It’s also a matter of practicality if the art is going to be framed. It’s important not to sign too low or too close to any edges.

(Video) Make your acrylic painting signature look great with this tool!

Make sure you account for the space the frame will take up on the piece before you sign. If you don’t yet have a frame, it may be worth waiting to sign your piece until you know how much space will be taken along the edges.

5. Use a Straight Edge

A straight edge is a simple, effective tool that allows you to line your signature up with the bottom edge of the art. It also helps create consistency across your signatures. Signatures don’t have to be perfectly straight, but a straight edge gives your signature a professional look.

6. Create a Digital Signature that Can Be Reused

All of the above points can be adapted into a digital signature. Creating a digital signature that can be reused ensures consistency and makes your signature easily recognizable to buyers.

Signaturely can help you create the ideal digital signature for your art that can be used time and time again. The simple, easy-to-use platform lets you quickly generate a signature in various styles. The signature is verified and can be used on all of your digital art. When creating a signature on Signaturely, the signature is unique to you. With timestamps and verified ownership of the signature, using Signaturely ensures signatures are legitimate.

Artist Signature FAQs

How to Make an Artist Signature for Paintings | Signaturely (5)

How do I create an electronic signature for art?

With Signaturely, you can quickly and easily create an electronic signature for digital art. With various plans to choose from, Signaturely can be your partner on your digital art journey by helping you create a consistent, professional, recognizable signature to use across all of your digital art pieces.

Is there an app for artist signatures?

There are many applications to create digital signatures, but none that are specifically tailored to artist signatures. Artist signatures should be unique to the artist and consistent with the artist’s brand. Signaturely can assist in creating a recognizable and uniform signature across your works of art.

What to Remember About How to Make an Artist Signature

However you create your artist signature, remember: consistency is key. Whether you’re signing an oil painting or creating a digital signature, the placement and style of your signature should not vary.

Check out Signaturely’s industry-leading signature features today, and let them be your trusted partner for your artistic endeavors!


How do I put my signature on a painting? ›

Traditionally, the signature is placed in the lower left corner on the front of the work. This is where a collector or buyer will look first for the signature. Some artists incorporate their signature into the painting, hiding it in a bush or tree so it doesn't interfere with the painting.

How big should a signature be on a painting? ›

To date, Hattas Public Murals has painted nearly 5,000 commissioned works of art in homes and commercial and public spaces. Make your signature large enough to be seen, but not so large that it's incredibly noticeable. People should be able to find it, but it shouldn't be in their face.

How do you research a signature for a painting? ›

Look in the corners of the painting to see if there is a signature or monogram. If the name is easy to read, simply search the artist's name up online to find the painting. If it's harder to read, look carefully to see if you can break down the letters and read them.

How do I figure out my signature? ›

Use the following steps to write and choose a good signature:
  1. Decide what you want your signature to convey. ...
  2. Analyze the letters in your name. ...
  3. Determine what parts of your name you want to include. ...
  4. Experiment with different styles. ...
  5. Think outside of the box. ...
  6. Choose your favorite signature.

What should an artist signature look like? ›

Your artist's signature should be consistent. If you choose to sign with your first initial and last name, then have that be a harmonious part of your work. Changing the name on your paintings often will make it difficult to identify your work. A first name or initial and last name usually does the trick.

Is a painting worth anything without a signature? ›

Any work of art can be appraised without a signature. There are so many factors that go into properly appraising a work of art that a signature, just like autographs, is NOT the holy grail when it comes to demonstrating authenticity or value.

Is there an app for artist signatures? ›

It can't get any easier to use the artist signatures identification app feature. It's available on your mobile devices as well. Install the signNow application for iOS or Android and manage your custom eSignature workflows even when on the go.

Does a painting have to be signed to be valuable? ›

Artwork will be valued mainly based on the artist, provided it can be authenticated. Despite the lack of an official signature, the Mona Lisa is included in the Guinness Book of World Records as having "the highest insurance value ever for a painting in history."

How do you identify an illegible artist signature? ›

Check the back of the canvas. In some cases, information about the painting – such as the title, year created and artist's name – is printed on the back. If the work is framed, remove the protective backing paper – you may find the artist's printed name underneath.

Are Signed artist proofs more valuable? ›

Artist Proofs are generally valued higher than other prints in the edition, due to the rarity and small quantity of them. Oftentimes the Artist Proof are altered from the final edition, creating a uniqueness to them that is very desirable.

How do I find artists for GCSE art? ›

gcse artist research
  1. Tate Website. Artist and art work search. ...
  2. National Portrait Gallery. Portrait search - paintings, prints and photographs of people.
  3. Lens Culture. Contemporary photographers. ...
  4. ArtNet.

What do you call an artist's signature on a painting? ›

Artists may use their actual signatures or they may use what is called a monogram. A monogram is a symbol an artist adopts as a signature. Signatures or monograms can be found at the bottom margin of the painting or on the back of the canvas.

Do art prints have artist signature? ›

We often have artists ask us how they should sign their prints. The ultimate answer is it's up to you. You're the artist. So, generally speaking, as long as your signature doesn't distract from your print then it should be acceptable.

Why do artists put their signature? ›

'It's a way of saying, “That piece is complete, don't rework it”. It's an honest, personal mark that stops them endlessly returning to a piece. ' Signatures are also commonly used to keep a record of time, place and medium, as much as they are a signifier of a completed work.

How do I create a custom signature? ›

Add or change a signature
  1. Open Gmail.
  2. In the top right, click Settings. See all settings.
  3. In the "Signature" section, add your signature text in the box. If you want, you can format your message by adding an image or changing the text style.
  4. At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.

What makes a good signature? ›

Your signature should be easy to write and reproduce. It should feel good coming off of your hand, and it should be simple enough that you can dash it off in a matter of seconds. Your signature should suit your purpose and personality. If you want to show your dramatic side, use a signature with flair.

How do you make a unique signature? ›

How to make a signature
  1. Think about what you want it to convey. ...
  2. Look carefully at the letters in your name. ...
  3. Choose what parts of your name to include. ...
  4. Try out different styles. ...
  5. Choose your favourite signature. ...
  6. Practise writing your signature. ...
  7. Seek inspiration from others. ...
  8. Learn some calligraphy.
30 Nov 2021

What do you write on the back of a painting? ›

When a gallery or museum displays a work of art it often attaches a label to its back that indicates the artist's name, the picture's title, and usually a date, inventory number and address.

Can a signature be a scribble? ›

Per definition, a signature is a person's name or mark symbolizing a name used with intention to authenticate a document. A signature is simply a unique mark of identification. This can take the form of scribbles, a squiggle, an X or even a picture.

Who can tell me if a painting is worth anything? ›

Consider finding an appraiser to determine the value of your artwork. Appraisers are trained specialists who work for a fee. They evaluate your piece and give you a written statement of its value.

Is it better to sell original paintings or prints? ›

Original art will sell for much more and holds a much higher value than a print. Prints in no way devalue the original artwork because there is only one original no matter what! In many cases the opposite is true.

Is there a website that will figure an artist signature? › makes it easier to determine the indentity of an artist even when their signature is illegible or unrecognizable. Our powerful character match search engine allows you to enter vague details such as one or two letters in the artist's signature or monogram and returns all possible matches.

Is there a free signature app? ›

Yes, the DocuSign mobile eSignature app is free to download. Current customers can log in with the same email and password to access to their account. New customers can sign up for a free account directly within the app.

Is there an app for recognizing paintings? ›

Smartifiy is an app that allows users to instantly identify artworks and access information about them, by simply scanning them with a smartphone. Smartify is available for free to download on iOS and Android devices.

Do signed prints increase in value? ›

Signatures count for a lot at a print market since they add to the artwork's authenticity. The value of a signed print is usually two or more times higher than the value of an unsigned print, so if you have a choice, it's always better to go for the signed version.

How do you authenticate an unsigned painting? ›

How to Evaluate an Unsigned or Unidentified Painting
  1. Rotate the Painting. The first thing I do is to flip a work of art 180 degrees. ...
  2. Try the Index Card Test. ...
  3. Look at Placement of Artist Signature. ...
  4. Observe the Quality of Brushwork. ...
  5. Get a Quick Impression.
7 Jan 2020

How much should you sell original paintings for? ›

Multiply the painting's width by its length to arrive at the total size, in square inches. Then multiply that number by a set dollar amount that's appropriate for your reputation. I currently use $6 per square inch for oil paintings. Then calculate your cost of canvas and framing, and then double that number.

Is your signature supposed to be legible? ›

There are no laws that indicate that the signers must sign legibly. The law generally regards any scribble or scrawl of a person's name as a valid signature. Confronted with a tricky notarization?

What does an unreadable signature mean? ›

“An illegible signature,” Beck counters, “shows a person who is usually very secretive and likes to keep others guessing about who they really are. They can talk for hours — but still give nothing away about themselves. An illegible signature may also indicate someone has something to hide, although not in all cases.”

What does AP on a painting mean? ›

A/P stands for 'Artist's proof' and is a small number of prints that are the first ones printed deemed good enough by the artist. Usually the number of A/Ps is about 10% of the size of the main edition, and this mini-edition can be numbered or not.

How much do artist get signed for? ›

Per IFPI, a record label will typically invest anywhere from $500,000 to $2,000,000 in a newly signed artist. That's a wide spread to be sure, and a large amount of money from the perspective of most. What is this?

What does pp mean on a painting? ›

A Printer's Proof (PP) is similar to an artist's proof. They were originally designed to monitor the progress of printing. They are a print or object that the manufacturer or printer receives as proof of their work.

Is it hard to get an A in art GCSE? ›

GCSE Art is a very popular subject but is tough and requires a lot of hard work. Although there won't be any written exams, you will have a great deal to do over the two years and it can take up a lot of time.

Is an art GCSE useful? ›

You'll develop problem solving, creative thinking, investigation, research, communication and teamwork skills, and gain the ability to develop, refine and present ideas. Employers and universities regard all of these highly.

How do solo artists get signed? ›

  1. Make the Best Album or Demo You Can.
  2. Build a Fanbase and Build Momentum.
  3. Consider a Publishing Deal First.
  4. Build Music Industry Connections.
  5. Improve Your Sound.
23 Jun 2022

What does an artist's signature reveal? ›

It reveals much about the artist

A signature can be surprisingly insightful, uncovering personality traits and inspirations that would otherwise remain secret.

Is an unsigned painting worth anything? ›

As an artwork's value is traditionally established with a history of previous sales records for art by the same identified artist, these unsigned or illegible paintings unfortunately will typically have limited value in the marketplace, despite their aesthetic appeal.

Are signatures just scribbles? ›

They don't. Most signatures in the USA are quite readable. The signature is a conscious gesture. It is a graphic way of telling others who you wish to present yourself as, not who you truly may be.

Is it better to be signed or independent artist? ›

Artists who want to retain the master rights, keep 100% of the profits, have complete creative control, and are music business savvy may consider going independent. Artists who want more freedom to work on music, don't mind fewer profits, and want more exposure may consider signing with a record label.

How much do new artists get signed for? ›

As a quick reference, record labels can keep a cut anywhere from 50-90% of your earnings. It is an industry norm for a new artist to only receive 10-16% of their sales.

Are artist proofs worth more? ›

Artist Proofs are generally valued higher than other prints in the edition, due to the rarity and small quantity of them. Oftentimes the Artist Proof are altered from the final edition, creating a uniqueness to them that is very desirable.

Why is an artist's signature important? ›

'It's a way of saying, “That piece is complete, don't rework it”. It's an honest, personal mark that stops them endlessly returning to a piece. ' Signatures are also commonly used to keep a record of time, place and medium, as much as they are a signifier of a completed work.

What do you put on the back of a painting? ›

When a gallery or museum displays a work of art it often attaches a label to its back that indicates the artist's name, the picture's title, and usually a date, inventory number and address.


1. Q and A: How to find your art Signature.
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3. How to paint your signature and lettering made easy tips and tricks
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4. How to design your own amazing signature
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5. selling your art decide on a signature style
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