Using a Paint Marker to Sign Your Paintings

Signing the Back of a Painting
An example of one of my paintings showing where I've signed it on the back, using a black, water-resistant ink pen. Photo ©2011 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to, Inc.

If you're working with mixed media or acrylics, there's an even easier way to sign your painting than using a rigger to do brush lettering. It's called a paint marker and all it entails is writing your name as you would normally, as with a pen.

Note that these are not ordinary marker pens, but ones that contain artist's quality acrylic paint—hence the name "Paint Markers", to differentiate them. The consistency of the paint is even thinner than fluid acrylics, but it's not as transparent as ink.

There are several brands available, plus various ones with craft-quality paint in them. You get the paint flowing by pressing down in the "nib" a few times. If you do it too often, you'll end up with a little puddle of paint. Once the marker's tip is loaded with paint, you can easily sign your name in paint.

I've used the smallest sizes of Montana Acrylic Markers and Liquitex. Liquitex comes in two sizes: 2mm and 5mm. What I like about the chisel-shaped nib of the Liquitex 2mm marker is that you can get a fine line as well as a wide one, depending on how you hold it. The 2mm Montana marker has a round nib, which isn't as versatile; I also found that the paint needed more encouragement to flow as I used it. Both brands are refillable, and replacement nibs available.

Don't think that paint markers are for small-scale work only as they also come in chunkier sizes. Don't be put off by any street-art marketing you might encounter with these products—they're awesome for traditional, canvas-on-easel painting, too.

Golden says their High Flow Colors (which replaced their airbrush colors in Summer 2013) work well in markers.

How long does one last? I don't know yet, but like everything it'll depend what you do with it. Could you use an empty marker with thinned oil paint? I don't know how the plastic might respond to solvent, or if oil-thinned paint would be sufficiently fluid. That's something I've added to my "to-try" list to experiment with at some point!