A VINTAGE fairground owner went from carousels to page as his self-published book has helped his business survive the pandemic.

Joby Carter, of Maidenhead, who owners Carters Steam Fair, is celebrating 6,000 sales of his book, Signwriting Tips, Tricks and Inspiration.

The 142-page creation features advice on hand painted lettering and colour photographs of traditional fairground art.

And because of these book sales, Mr Carters fair has gained much-needed funds to survive the pandemic.

Royal Borough Observer: Joby Carter, of Maidenhead, runs a vintage fairground called Carter's Steam Fair. Picture: Carter's Steam FairJoby Carter, of Maidenhead, runs a vintage fairground called Carter's Steam Fair. Picture: Carter's Steam Fair

Mr Carter said: “In a typical year, the fair goes on tour from March to October so I’m too busy running the fair to write a book.

“Although it was a devastating blow that the fair was grounded because of the pandemic, in hindsight I can now see that it was also a great opportunity to work on this project.”

He added he’s always been passionate about keeping these traditional skills alive.

He said: “I’m not a fan of computers and at the fair we avoid modern methods and like to take time to do things the old way whenever we can."

Royal Borough Observer: Mr Carter said his book sales have helped him keep his fair on the road throughout the pandemic. Picture: Carter's Steam FairMr Carter said his book sales have helped him keep his fair on the road throughout the pandemic. Picture: Carter's Steam Fair

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He said he knew there would be interest in the book.

“I’ve taught signwriting skills to over 3,000 people online and hundreds in person over the last few years, but I have been blown away by the continued interest and the number of reprints we have done,” he explained.

“I’ve even had lifelong signwriters contact me to thank me for writing the book and sharing this knowledge which is so hard to find elsewhere.

“They said it has become their signwriting ‘bible’.”

More than 6,000 copies of the book have been sold in 13 months in 50 different countries.

Created with the help of illustrator and graphic designer Scarlett Rickard, the book will mean 100-year-old skills, which were recently at risk of dying out because of technology, will now be accessible to a wider audience and future generations.

And it’s apparent on social media there’s an interest in learning how to design and paint letter the old-fashioned way.

Royal Borough Observer: Worzel Gummidge holding Mr Carter's book. Picture: Carter's Steam FairWorzel Gummidge holding Mr Carter's book. Picture: Carter's Steam Fair

Ms Rickard, who has worked alongside Mr Carter for over 10 years, said: “We wanted to create a useful, inspirational and beautiful book which would be equally at home on a workbench or a coffee table, and which would encourage people to have a go at drawing and painting letters the old-school way.

“Collaborating on this book was great fun, and it gave us something to focus on during lockdown – it represents friendship and positivity during a difficult period.”

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Ms Rickard added the mood in which they put it together seems to have flowed into the pages.

“We wanted to make a book which we would have loved to own when we first started painting and exploring letters, and we hope that it’ll still be in use in people’s workshops and studios in 100 years’ time,” she said.

Mr Carter is now reaching out to independent bookshops to range the book to ensure these traditional skills reach an even wider audience.