Graffiti Pencil Drawings
14 May 2018 | 8:19 pm

Learning to draw great graffiti art requires lots of skill and practice. There are several genres of graffiti art, but usually, graffiti art will mostly:

-- be painted in vivid colors, to create emotive images and grab attention

-- include graffiti style lettering with letters that overlap and are drawn in 3D

In particular the use of the bold style lettering is really distinctive to graffiti art. The images themselves will usually be hard hitting, and be painted in stark colors utilizing strong shadows and outlines to add depth and definition. Images usually depict social or political issues close to the artist's heart.

Before you start a piece of graffiti art, you should draw a small scale version of the large piece you want to create first, then when you begin your actual piece, its a simple task of just scaling up your graffiti sketch.

If you need ideas for a graffiti font to use, there are plenty of sites online that have examples for you to copy. For the outlines, use a fine marker pen. In order to produce a 3D effect, shade around the letters you've outlined with a different color. Then use permanent markers to color in your letters.

Once you are ready to paint your sketch on to your larger canvas or wall, you need to draw a reference grid over your small drawing. Sketch a full size replica of the grid on to your wall or canvas that you are using for your scaled up graffiti piece. Use either chalk, charcoal or diluted paint to draw the large grid. To make marking the grid out easier, the simplest thing to do is to use a piece of string.

Use chalk or charcoal to transfer your small drawing on to you larger canvas. Use an aerosol can to paint the background in using diluted paint, keep the layer thin and allow it to dry before you start your coloring. When you've finished the outline and the background, it's time to add the colors and detail. Again use aerosols to add the colors. Start with the lightest colors first and the largest sections, and then move on to the detail and the smaller areas last.

When you've colored your work in, you can add the fine definition with a brush to enhance the fine lines and borders around your figures and letters. You can preserve it for years to come with a thin layer of varnish.

These are all the steps you need to master if you want to paint impressive graffiti art.

Graffiti Art
14 May 2018 | 8:16 pm

You can travel almost anywhere in the world, and you will probably see graffiti. Although graffiti art is usually more common in big cities, the reality is that it can occur in almost any community, big or small.

The problem with graffiti art is the question of whether it's really art, or just plain vandalism. This isn't always an easy question to answer, simply because there are so many different types of graffiti. Some is simply a monochrome collection of letters, known as a tag, with little artistic merit. Because it's quick to produce and small, it is one of the most widespread and prevalent forms of graffiti.

Although tagging is the most common type of graffiti, there are bigger, more accomplished examples that appear on larger spaces, such as walls. These are often multicolored and complex in design, and so start to push the boundary of whether they should really be defined as graffiti art.

If it wasn't for the fact that most graffiti is placed on private property without the owner's permission, then it might be more recognized as a legitimate form of art. Most graffiti art, however, is only an annoyance to the property owner, who is more likely to paint over it or remove it than applaud its artistic merit.

Many solutions have been put into practice around the world, with varying degrees of success. Paints have been developed that basically cause graffiti paint to dissolve when applied, or else make it quick and easy to remove. Community groups and government departments coordinate graffiti removal teams.

In some places you can't buy spray paint unless you're over 18. Cans of spray paint are locked away in display cases. In a nearby area the local council employs someone to go around and repaint any fences defaced by graffiti. A friend of mine has had his fence repainted 7 times at least, and it took him a while to find out why it was happening! Certainly the amount of graffiti in my local area has dropped substantially in the last year or two, so it appears these methods are working to a great extent.

But is removing the graffiti doing a disservice to the artistic community? Maybe if some of the people behind the graffiti art were taken in hand and trained, they could use their artistic skills in more productive ways. It hardly makes sense to encourage these artists to deface public property, and so commit a crime. But perhaps there are other ways to cooperate with the graffiti artists rather than just opposing them. Graffiti artists can create sanctioned murals for private property owners and get paid for it.

Maybe we need to start at a very basic level, and find a way to encourage the creation of graffiti art on paper or canvas, rather than walls. After all, who would remember Monet or Picasso if they'd created their masterpieces on walls, only to have them painted over the next day? Finding a solution to such a complex situation is never going to be easy, but as more graffiti art is being recognized in galleries around the world, we do need to try.

Cool Graffiti Alphabet Styles
14 May 2018 | 8:10 pm

Originally linked to gangs, hip hop and street culture, graffiti is now beginning to take its place in the art world as well. Some critics out there undoubtedly still see graffiti as 'waste of space' vandalism, but for many others it is a way of life. We learn to graffiti to express ourselves and leave our mark. But a huge part of learning to graffiti is learning about graffiti style.

The tools and materials used are largely a part of the writers choosing. You can learn to graffiti with markers, spray paint, pens and pencils - practically anything you can write or mark with.

One essential thing all graffiti writers must have is a graffiti blackbook. As you learn to graffiti your blackbook will be the place where you will practice your graffiti writing style, practice writing your tag name and sketch and plan your future graffiti pieces.

Here are a few tips to help you start with your graffiti writing style and learn to graffiti yourself:

- Start out in your blackbook writing the alphabet copying any graffiti lettering styles you like. Just write the letters over and over so you get an idea of the movements for each letter.

- Write with fluid motion and don't over think it as you write. Keep lines smooth and write with a flow. Graffiti is about freedom of expression, big gestures and experimentation.

- When you have the letters down on a new page write your tag name in big letters in your graffiti style. Add shading, line depth and shadows or 3D effects to make the writing stand out.

- You might want to add colors and shading, sharpies and alcohol based art markers are the best types of markers to use in your blackbook.

- Create your own symbols or characters. This isn't really about writing style, but it can be fun to create your own characters or find symbols to include with your tag.

- Don't be afraid to give any new ideas a go, that's how you will develop your own graffiti style.

When you're first starting to learn to graffiti you will spend a lot of time developing your writing style and copying tags and pieces from other writers. Everyone starts out this way, that's how most graffiti artists learn to graffiti, by copying other more experienced writers. But remember as you're working in your blackbook you need to be developing your own style. You can't go around copying other writers work and then start using it as your own. That's a mark of serious disrespect and 'toy' writers.

To learn to graffiti these days doesn't mean vandalism or illegal writing. An increasing number of graffiti artists are making a career for themselves as professional artists creating canvas works and commissioned murals. As you learn to graffiti the choice is yours as to what you can do with your skills. But no matter how experienced you may get, your graffiti blackbook is one thing you should never be without!

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