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I'm drawing a picture that I want to dedicate to a friend of mine. What's the proper way to write the dedication if I want to point out that I'm the author?

I'm thinking: "To {my friend's name} by {my name}.", but I'm not sure if that's correct.

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This question appears to be more of a question about professionalism as an artist, rather than English Usage, and you might find better assistance once area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/1924/graphic-design goes live. –  mfg Nov 18 '10 at 13:43

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As a Painter, I find that it is a good thing to have a standard signature that sets the piece apart as distinctly yours. I take this cue from Egon Schiele; check out his paintings and look at how he signs/endorses his works. As to writing a dedication, writing it on the work itself seems like it would take away from the piece itself. Giving a gift of art, and ensuring its value seems to be important to professionalism.

That said, if you properly mount or mat the piece, I would think that the surrounding border would be fair game to write whatever you want. An elegant signature on the piece, and a "To {la la}, {yada yada message}" on the framing sounds like a professional solution that reinforces the personal meaning in gifting the art.

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I suggest separating the dedication from your signature. As for the dedication itself, you could mirror book dedications with something like, "To John Smith, who was always there for me," or simply, "To John Smith."

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