When we see a neon sign, we realize how wonderful it is but we don’t think about the process to make it. Now that we have the opportunity to find out, what is the methodology you follow when you are creating?
You always want to start with a line drawing of exactly what you’d like to see in glass, true to size. I do this digitally, which allows me to match my line width to the thickness of the glass tubing I plan on using. I then print my drawing onto heat resistant bending paper via a vinyl plotter that I jammed a marker into, (as opposed to the normal blade it would use). After you have your layout ready, the bending process can begin. This consists of taking your glass tubing and heating sections of it over a torch until it’s pliable and can be bent into the same shape as the lines that make up your layout. You’re basically tracing your image in the glass when it’s soft.
Which rules do you have to follow when you’re creating the layout?
Making neon sets a lot of limitations on your design, you really have to keep it simple. I draw a lot of full bodied figures and I purposely choose only one or two strong features to highlight in the face. If you try to do everything –the eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, etc.– the bending of the glass has to be tweaked in order to fit all of those lines into a small amount of space and your person can start resembling the creature from the black lagoon. WORDS BY ÁLVARO ESTÉVEZ
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Posted by Andrew