I’ve always struggled with signing my name.
It took years to feel “worthy”—after all, if you sign a piece of artwork, you ARE an artist, and who are YOU to call YOURSELF an ARTIST, and so on and so forth till you realize, finally, after years, that it’s O.K. -really, -to sign your work -AND let it be seen -in PUBLIC. (It really is a psychological growth issue, not uncommon to lots of creative types.)
And while all that was spinning in my psyche, I was wrestling physically with my signature, which, like my handwriting, is about as out of control as my drawing and painting is under control. I prefer pencil on paper or illustration board with tooth. Don’t give me some skinny pen to slide across some slickery piece of paper—I feel like a duck on ice.
Signing my name became a painful task. I had to contrive ways to make it work, or close my eyes, sign, and tell myself I didn’t care that it looked hideous. I could spend hours dredging up the courage for the attempt, and hours trying to “de-hideous” it.
And especially when I was painting in oils, signing my name began getting seriously tedious: my name is loooong and starts with an "S", which is a real mess to do in oils. I remembered back to my childhood, watching "Zorro" as the masked, caped hero in black silks deftly sculpted an effortless "Z" into a drape, a wall, or the bad guy's shirt, and thought, Hmm... "Z"s are soooo much easier.
And yeah, there was college:
I have a fabulous friend from college who (because she is highly creative herself) always played with people's names. So, instead of Sue, I became "Zoo". And it didn’t take much to transform “Ellen” to “L N” among my college friends.
– So-- I sign the oil paintings (and just about all of my work now) as ZooLN (Sue El-len). Its quicker, less angst-ridden, and, most important of all, it looks cooler.