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How to Sign an Oil Painting?

how to sign an oil painting

Signing is a formal sign of authenticity done by the artist. It can be used to prevent forgery and validate your work as an original painting.

To sign an oil painting, you first need to clean them thoroughly with paint thinner or turpentine on a rag. After cleaning, let dry overnight before signing because liquids will blur the ink. Then, you can leave your signature on your painting to claim ownership of the artwork.

Let’s see below how people sign their work to get some inspiration for yours.

How do Artists Sign their oil Paintings?

Signing your Painting by Hand

You can sign your painting by hand. Get a pen that won’t bleed through the paint layer. We recommend using permanent marker pens instead of ballpoint pen inks since they are more resistant to oils than other types of ink. Sign it with permanent ink so you can trust your signature to stay for a long time.

Then, sign it clearly on an unnoticeable part of your painting, like at the bottom or behind another object in the scene.

Stamping your Oill Paintings

Stamping using oil paints is also acceptable as long as other precautions are taken to prevent forgery.

The painted-on logo should be covered up unless you want people to think there’s something underneath. You could take off all paint except around the edges of where you’ll sign (the artist has chosen not to do this). Or use white gouache instead of oils if authenticity is super important to you.

Using Label for your Paintings

Sign your painting using a label or other small piece of paper glued onto the backside of your painting once it’s fully dry.

Make sure glue doesn’t come into contact with parts of the work where paint has been applied since moisture could damage part of the painting.

You can use either a stable adhesive like Mod Podge or an archival quality one if this is going in an art collection somewhere forever and ever. Take care not to get too much on so none seeps under the edges around the outermost area around the sign, which will ruin everything underneath.

The label size should be proportional to how large scale your oil paintings are, smaller for smaller works, larger for larger ones, etc.

Other Tips to Sign your Artwork

how do artists sign their oil paintings

When signing a painting, sign it legibly and boldly. Make sure that your signature doesn’t take away from work itself or cover any of its parts.

Make sure to sign your name legibly and in an inconspicuous place. Also, consider using a pseudonym if you’re shy about putting your real name out there

If you are using an oil paint pen, shake it well before use and test the ink on a piece of paper first to make sure it’s dark enough

You can also sign on a canvas stretcher bar if there is enough space. Be sure to use waterproof ink, so it doesn’t fade over time

If you’re signing the front of the painting, make sure to do it before you frame it. This way, the signature will be protected from damage. If you’re signing the back, wait until after it’s framed to make the signature visible.

Don’t sign your paintings in haste! Take your time and make sure your signature looks neat and professional.

Don’t sign paintings that are unfinished or not yet ready for sale. Wait until the painting is complete before adding your signature.

Try to sign your painting in the bottom right-hand corner, as this is generally seen as the correct place to sign artwork.


There are many reasons why artists should sign their works: authentication (for insurance purposes), copyright protection, professional identity/branding, and simply as a sign of quality. By following the tips in this article, you can be sure that your signature will add to the beauty of your painting, not take away from it.

Also, there are many ways to sign your paintings to make them memorable to your audiences. So choose one that once again shows your colors.

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