Think you've got what it takes to be an urban graffiti artist? Follow these steps to become da 'hood's next da Vinci.
: Do not graffiti public or private property without obtaining permission.
Step 1: Talk like a writer Master the lingo. A "writer" is a graffiti artist, a "king" or "queen" is a great writer, a "toy" is inexperienced, and a "crew" is a group who work together. A "tag" is a simple work of graffiti, a "throw-up" is more complicated, and a "piece" is a very complex work of graffiti.
Step 2: Develop lettering The foundation for all graffiti art is tagging your nickname on a visible space. Develop a nickname and lettering style that are unique to you. The style you create can be used for your tags, throw-ups, and pieces.
TIP: Use your influences. Look to anything from album covers to comics to consumer products for inspiration.
Step 3: Start a black book Start a black book, a hardcover sketchbook where you and other writers can develop ideas. Write tags, throw-ups and pieces in full color with pens, pencils, and markers. Contribute to other writers' black books, too.
Step 4: Practice spray-can techniques Practice techniques by painting on a large piece of plywood in a well-ventilated area. Use a variety of spray-can tips to control spray-paint flow. Consider wearing gloves and a respirator anytime you use spray paint.
TIP: Experiment with tagging techniques that don't involve traditional spray paint like putting up stickers, using fire extinguishers filled with paint, and etching on glass.
Step 5: Join a crew Learn the ropes from a crew. A crew will admit you based on work they've seen in public or in your black book. Joining one can help improve your work and get you involved in group projects.
TIP: Take time to learn the etiquette of tagging, like which tags can and can't be written over.
Step 6: Find legal walls Find places to write on by searching for "legal walls" online. Cities around the world have established legal spots for writers to craft their masterpieces.
Step 7: Go out and tag Go out and write! Express yourself as much as legally possible. With hard work and the help of a good crew, you'll go from toy to royalty in no time!
FACT: Tagging was popularized in part by a 1971 New York Times article about the graffiti artist Taki 183.