Art Workshop By Cy: Signatures

Why, When, How & Where does an artist sign her or his artwork?



EVERY piece of art created should be signed.  Below are the three main reasons:

#1  The signing by me, of one of my Paintings, Drawings, Pet Portraits, Murals etc… indicates that the piece has been finished, and work has stopped.  Simple as that.  Collectors, critics the public etc… want a finished piece.  This signature tells everyone that no more work or revision is necessary in the eyes of the artist.
#2  Pride, yes pride! Being proud of what you do is a must.  ANY art ANYONE creates is unique, special and important.  Art moves people, someone out there will always be moved by what you do, and they want to know that you approve of what you do as well!  Stand up and shout it out with your signature!  This is very important.
#3  The signature on a piece of art shows everyone who owns it. Once anything is created and is signed it is protected under copyright law and cannot be used by others without the artist’s permission.  This is simply put, and copyright issues can take up another whole Blog post, but for now just realize that your signature protects your ownership of the images you create.


Sign your piece when it is finished.  When you are done revising and touching up.  WHEN WORK HAS STOPPED.  I know sometimes this part of the creating process, the finishing, is hard and seems never ending, but when the time comes…Sign it!  Then move on!!

p.s. Make sure you sign it BEFORE you put your sealers, isolation or varnish coats on.  Your signature needs protection too!*


I believe in using a signature that is unique, readable and recognizable. I use my full last name (Unique), I print it very simply, (Readable)  and it is ALWAYS the same (Recognizable). People know there is only one “Hundley”  that was created by me. 
I always wished I had a beautiful signature but unfortunately my writing and calligraphy skills are not quite up to par with my artistic abilities.  It is all good however, if you do suffer like me, from D.W.S  “Doctor’s Writing Syndrome”, as long as the above 3 objectives are met.


“By any chance are you left handed?”  A client of mine made the comment that most painters sign on the right side of a painting. “You, however, signed it on the left corner leaving us debating whether you were right or left handed:)” – Owner of Whimsey,  (The painting above)

This is my response, and the inspiration for this blog post:
“Interesting observation.  I am right handed.  The location of my signature on a piece is dependent on where it best suits the composition of the artwork.  However I do believe signatures should be located in the bottom third of a piece as a matter of tradition, weighting, and less prominence.  If you look at most paintings or charcoals of mine, you will see I have signed them in many different places.  And in some cases at an angle, or actually as part of the composition itself.  I believe my signature is important but should not stick out to much.  To put it simply I sign every piece where it fits in the best. I do not concern myself as to where I will sign, until I am finished.  The piece itself will let me know the appropriate spot.  The signature however, basically has remained unchanged since the 1980’s.
 In Whimsey’s Portrait we had that space to the left … The perfect spot to sign, which in fact works with the rest of the  composition to balance out the darkness and shadow on the right.”
Sign your piece where ever you want, just do not let it take away from what you are trying to say with your art work.  Maybe WHERE you sign can be the “Uniqueness” in your signature!
I hope this has been informative, interesting and useful to you.
Want to see examples?  Want a “HUNDLEY” signature of your own :)?
Follow the link to my etsy store or main website below:
Thank you, Have fun and SIGN YOUR FINISHED ARTWORKS!