In the beginning I filled in letters that my Dad outlined for me. I cut out hundreds of vinyl letters by hand, then mounted them on another piece of vinyl to add a narrow border, and then I cut them out again. I cut out hundreds more changeable letters with an ex-acto blade. In essence, by repetitive action I learned the shapes and contours of fonts most used in commercial signage.
When it was decided the time had come for me to start lettering signs on my own, I distinctly remember throwing the yardstick I was supposed to use to guide my hand across the floor shop. I used some choice words to let everyone know I wasn't happy. I remember my Dad saying something about how my work looked great and there was no rush....And then he exchanged one of those looks with another of the guys in the back shop and left me to it.
At some point I must have picked the yardstick up and continued on, but that part is foggy. I am sure though that I continued to throw things and swore more than my share as I learned to relax and trust my hands to create what they now knew instinctively. To breathe.
Today I still love the feel of the brush, the flow of the paint and the pleasure in executing a perfect line of beauty.