Gnome sign step by step – part one

Designing a series of signs is always fun but also a challenge. Coming up with the first couple of clever ideas is pretty easy but then you have to start digging a little harder.

The latest idea had to be witty, a visual pun, have a unique shape and incorporate a fun welded steel bracket. But in the end, as always I simply began to draw – not really knowing what the result would be. There were a few false starts but eventually it began to come to me. The gnome was the first thing that gelled and made me laugh. The sign shape worked from the start. The bracket was next. I drew the top section and then simply copied and flipped it for the bottom. The wording on the sign changed a few times before the clever pun came to mind.  ‘Garden Variety Gnome Whiskey – anything but ordinary’

I did the quick drawing freehand on my iPad using it linked to my laptop and with Adobe Photoshop. That allowed for endless layers and edits as I went. This is going to be a fun sign!

Published by

Dan Sawatzky

Dan Sawatzky is best described as a creative force in the sign industry. He and his wife Janis are owners of Sawatzky’s Imagination Corporation – a small family company that specializes in the design and creation of dimensional theme signs and environments. They tackle projects of any size from small signs to entire theme parks. Their work has garnered numerous international awards and Dan’s articles appear frequently in the sign trade publications. Dan and his crew also host Sign Magic and Sculpting Workshops in their studio a number of times each year with attendees coming from around the world. For more information please visit

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