I know, I know, I know….

Believe it or not(and you would know if you follow me on insta @howtodrawletters), this page was done months ago.  The reason I haven’t uploaded it yet is because I was hoping to get a video set up to accompany it but I am having a hell of a time getting a good tripod set up that will allow you to see what I’m drawing.  Let’s hope I figure that out soon.

That being said, here is the second page of the fundamentals set and probably the best cheat sheet you’ll get anywhere when it comes to learning to design stylized graffiti letters.  If I had something like this available to me when I was starting out I would be prouder of the old photos of my early pieces floating around the internet.  Not much to say about it that I didn’t in the last post, but this one is a ton more focused on shapes you’ll be using in lettering than the basic shapes we focused on last time around.

If you give it a thorough look, this entire sheet is really one simple shape manipulated in a bunch of different forms.  You can literally make every letter, number and whatever add on that interests you out of this extremely basic shape.  My suggestion would be to start with the first one on the page just to get the hang of things.  Stretch it and turn it to make the most basic simple, non-curving letters like A, E, T etc..  Once you feel a little more confident, add a bend.  Insanely simple stuff and definitely not the be-all-end-all of creating graffiti letters, but it’s a big head start as you’ll soon find out.

 

Have a look at this piece for instance. Strip the 3d and the colors and focus on the simplest details of the letters.

 

 

There’s not a single part of these letters that use a shape not on the fundamentals sheet in one way or another. Everything else is just an elaboration on that very specific basic shape. To be honest, you can find this shape in almost every piece I’ve done over the past few decades.  It really is that ingrained into graffiti styles.  Again, don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot more to it and it’s not THE way to draw letters, it’s just MY way of drawing letters.  You will notice that these fundamentals carry over into so many peoples’ styles that it’s instantly recognizable.  As always, the real key is practice.  The more you use your pencil, the better you will become.  You will find that things start shaping up quicker and quicker the more you do it.  Before long you will start to notice things that are unique to you and your state of mind come through and that’s when the real fun starts.  When I was starting in this vocation there wasn’t an hour of the day that you’d see me without some sort of medium in my hands drawing on something.  That’s the key to any craft.  Make it an obsession. Give yourself a reason to do it and do it. All the time, at least once a day anyway.  It doesn’t matter if you have an idea in mind or not, just draw, the idea will come once the lines start hitting the paper.  Trust me.

In other news,  I’ve started some work on what is going to be a very interesting manga!  It will be called Pop Idol Interface and you can find the details as well as follow my progress at both my INSTAGRAM as well as my KO-FI(highres images available for download there too!!!)  As always, I appreciate the support everyone has given me over all these years and I am really happy that it’s been a help to so many of you out there!  I’m not about to put on the beggar’s hat or anything but if you do like and have benefitted from the page, please consider subscribing at my ko-fi page as during this covid nonsense it’s starting to look like that’s getting ready to be my sole source of income for awhile.  Regardless, even if you don’t want to or have the resources to contribute, I will continue to update this page as much as I can and I am forever grateful for your visits and hope that it helps you to move forward in your artistic endeavors!

     I’ve been sitting over here for the past week or so trying to figure out where a good place to start would be after we got through the letter studies.  I’ve been drawing in the blackbook(everyday) playing with my new instagram account, and racking my brain coming up with a way to get you making graffiti letters like a champ in the simplest way possible.  The thinking process for me happens pretty much the same way the drawing process does.  I put a pencil in my hand and just start making things happen.  Having decades of experience at this sort of thing does tend to make things happen faster as I’ve trained my eye to see things a certain way, but the beauty of it is that it doesn’t take any skill or experience to just pick up a pencil and draw things. So that’s what today’s drill is about but in a more structured way than just scribbling all over and anybody’s guess is what comes out of it(literally how I start almost anything but a letter piece). This study is in shapes.  The most basic building blocks of EVERYTHING you will draw in your lifetime.  It doesn’t matter how abstract or literal your work, it all comes down to shapes.  The beauty of graffiti style lettering though is that the shapes can take just about any form you like.  If you look at more mainstream typefaces in ads or on magazine covers, you will see that the letters are mostly formed with proportional, mathematically correct bars of one form or another.  Graffiti styles tend to work outside of that trend while still maintaining the strength and structure built into the letters.  I used to teach that learning to draw the letters on your keyboard or from magazine covers was the best way to learn letter structure and I still believe that, but if you haven’t figured that out yet, I’m not going to be the one to waste your time expressing the need for the basics.  I think we’ve come beyond that by now.

    Let’s dig into a better exercise. Something closer to our expressive side and what will eventually become your own personal style.  SO we know that letters(and everything else) are based in a series of shapes somehow interacting with one another.  It only makes sense that we should dig into creating shapes.  This one is more open than the letter studies because there is no real copying of the example artwork.  This is the part where you start to make it personal. There is no cheating because there is no right or wrong about it.  All you have to do is take the simplest primitive of a shape and draw it. Then maybe take that shape and draw it again in different proportions.  then do it again but maybe turn it or bend it some.  I have filled pages doing just this exercise and have come up with so many different ideas while doing it.  The only suggestion I have is that you make sure it’s a closed shape and that you limit yourself to three or four lines maximum.  That eliminates scribbles and things you will have a hard time working from. While you’re doing this, if you do it enough, you will start to notice how these basic shapes interact with each other what they look like when they touch, how they affect the negative space around them.  this is where the true value of this study lies.  If you do it right and really put yourself into it, you will start to notice where your letters are coming from.

Again, this doesn’t only apply to letters.  It’s all about ideas and training your hand to draw freely while still retaining some type of form.  If you practice for a good solid 15 or 20 minutes a day you will improve weekly at whatever it is you’re trying to draw.  No joke.

Like always, do me the favor of sharing this post and the page in general.  Follow me on instagram if you wanna see what’s up in my world and catch sneak previews before they get here.  Just interact.  It’s good to see some people really getting down to this stuff and hopefully making shit happen out there on the streets.

Well hello 2020!

Hope you all had a great New Year!  Here it is as promised.  The final installment in the first alphabet of our letter studies series, the letter “z” in a few different graffiti styles!  Took us 10 long years to get here but here we are!  I hope you are as happy as I am to have gotten to this point.  I know from the many who have communicated with me over all this time that some have been eagerly awaiting the collection to be completed.  Sadly though, there are many who love to hotlink my work and give no link or credit.  A pretty shitty practice as I do put some work into doing these drawings and I share them with you freely.  To my loyal learners and appreciative followers I applaud you and thank you for your ongoing attention. I do hope this site has brought encouragement and inspiration to you over all this time.  I really enjoy hearing from people that come here and use it as the tool it was meant to be.  You have all my love. Always.  You are why I do this and will continue on into 2020 with more studies and the next stage in the process of putting all these letters to use!  I’ve finally set up an instagram(https://www.instagram.com/howtodrawletters/)and that is where you can find sneak previews of what is coming up on the site and also follow the ups and downs of the life of Gone84( I do not promise anything too interesting but who knows). Follow me there or chase me down at my twitter which is mighty uninteresting(@gone84) as well.  Naturally, share the bloody hell out of this page to all your friends, family and followers as I appreciate those of you who have already been.  I’ve seen sooooooo many pinterests with these studies on them. It really makes me happy.  As for the future, I won’t spill any plans just yet but I will say that if I can manage to pick up a cheap gopro or something there will be a youtube channel.  For now, enjoy the latest installment, share the page with your buddies and most importantly, practice practice practice.

Okay troops.  At long last I will deliver as promised 🙂  So now we have before us the 25 letter study of our alphabet, the letter Y in all it’s nasty graffiti glory.  I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to get back in the swing of things and put this one together but I went ahead and finished the series directly after so I’d say the regular postings should start happening again and a new path ahead is being forged for 2020!  Y can be a very challenging letter in that it’s really easy to slip up and make it look like a lowercase G.  With imagination anything can work though.  That’s really the ongoing theme in these studies.  Mind the structure, it’s important that a letter can hold its own in a word.  Style does still matter, but outside of that just do what comes naturally.  Not all of the letters on any of these pages are great or even good for that matter.  What they are is the natural flow of ideas.  Get some good drawing habits.  Beat up the technique with the simple stuff until you can do it without thinking about it and the rest will come naturally.  The reason I started posting these is because they represent the way I’ve been coming up with styles from the beginning.  Just draw without thinking and choose what you like and develop it into a style.  It all really starts with experimentation.  I do these with xerox paper and an old felt tip flair pen(I don’t like the plastic ones). It’s inexpensive and shouldn’t be insanely time consuming.  Use a pencil with an eraser(until you get confident in the technique side of things) or just shoot straight for ink and have fun with it. Innovation is key as any trained monkey can copy what they see.  Be on the lookout for the 26th and final installment of this group of letter studies sometime around the new year.  Until then, enjoy the latest! I hope it inspires you to do great things with your art.

Hello again. Been a long year! Yes I know I haven’t posted the last two of our letter studies just yet but things have been a bit mad on my end. 2019 started out rocky and only got crazier as the year went on. But like it’s always been I refuse to lose so I’ll be up and running and back on my bulllshit for 2020!

That being said, I’m kicking my comeback off with an opportunity for you to own original and custom art by yours truly in order to make up for the year’s losses. It’s just a simple Fiverr gig but it’s a start. I haven’t been able to do much in the way of selling my art as it’s been tough trying to make ends meet(literally a year long story), and I have enjoyed hearing from some of you and your opinions of the site. It really makes me happy to have been helpful to so many people. So this is my way of putting myself out there and offering something personal for my fans and friends. Naturally you could also just hit the contact page and make requests, but the fiverr gig makes it a bit easier for some.

 

w25Well boys and girls,  here we have the next installment, the letter W in graffiti styles!  Here is a letter that you would think is as simple as turning the letter M upside down and sometimes that might be true, but somehow usually not.  The letter W, you will find, is very worthy of your practice as it will present a challenge that you may not have expected.  It’s very easy to lose the character of this letter entirely if you aren’t careful, but done with form and function in mind you will find yourself in charge of a very effective and powerful letter!  The trick is keeping your head in the game and not just blowing it off for the next letter in whatever word you are working on.  Don’t limit yourself to the standard on this one.  Extend the middle to be higher than the two lines on either end,  round off one or all three points,  incorporate some overlapping.  The point is to let yourself go a little while still keeping the form of the letter intact.  It’s tough and will require more practice than most of the other letters did, but so very worth the effort.  I promise.

 

 

Update:  I’ve accidentally deleted the post for Letter X. So I am posting the image here. I will dig through the archives and see if I can find a copy of the post somewhere but I don’t want to skip the continuity so the image will be on this post for now 😛

Letter Studies #21+1 Graffiti Style letter V

On February 12, 2014, in Letter Studies, by The Gone 84

v25I told you I’d have it up for you soon 😛

Well here it is.  The letter “V” in multiple graffiti styles.  How hard can it be? It’s two lines that meet at an angle, right?  Well you will find that this one is going to require some serious practice to get right!  Sometimes the simplest letters are the hardest to put style on without making a mess.  In my opinion, its best to stick with the simpler style of it and I usually do.  But plenty can be done with it if you work it for awhile!

As always, the rule here is practice.  Lots of it.  Don’t copy, draw inspiration.  There’s a huge difference.  Keep in mind that the name of the game is RESPECT and you’ll get none of that showcasing someone else’s artwork as your own!

Graffiti Letter UHello again!  We are so close to the end of this series I can almost taste it!  Here we have the last of the vowels in our simple styled graffiti alphabet.  I’ll admit to this being one of the tougher letters in the series.  Not because it’s hard to draw, but coming up with so many different styles in one sitting for such a simple letter can be very taxing on the brain!  The letter U is a very simple and easily defined letter, but it has it’s drawbacks.  Where it’s very easy to do convincingly in its most basic form, stylizing it can easily go astray to the point that it looks like other letters in the alphabet.  If you put the top parts too close, you have an “O”. Don’t define the bottom properly and you’re looking at a “V”.  A little too much freedom with the base of the letter and there’s a “Y”.  I’m sure I can add to the list, but these are the most obvious pitfalls in trying to create this letter.  If you think about it though, it’s also a blessing because being so close to those other letters makes a consistent style pretty easy to come by.  At this point in the series, if you’ve been practicing, elements of your own style should start popping up in your work.  The transition from one letter to the next should be easier to come by than when we started this adventure.  Whole words can start taking shape and innovation will start to happen as your studies become more frequent and are able to be completed in less time.  Keep in mind that I won’t give you wildstyles.  I keep these letters simple so that you can have some examples to work from.  The rest is an extension of yourself onto these building blocks.  I hope by now that you are noticing how much easier this is with practice than you may have originally thought!  So practice practice practice!  Don’t forget to share this page with your friends and enjoy this installment until I can deliver the next one!

Letter Study Graffiti Style THello again!

Here we have the 20th installment in our Graffiti focused Letter Study series which means we’re almost ready to move on to newer and more in-depth lessons!! We haven’t even started yet, believe it!  Today we have the graffiti styled letter “T”.  On this one I would like to add a side note that while there are a million ways to make any of these letters to include this one, letter “T”‘s real versatility comes when attached to other letters and the way that you choose to attach it.  At this point in the alphabet I’m confident that most of you have at least enough examples to write your name so I would suggest that while still practicing your letters and developing a style that you work toward multiple letters at a time.  No need to make words at this point, but seeing how certain letter combinations look together will go a long way toward developing typography skills in any type.  Keep in mind that even as a street variety of art, graffiti art will always adhere to certain design elements.  It’s not as easy as slapping a bunch of letters together like i do in these studies.  More on that later. Enjoy!

I’d also like to thank everyone who takes the few seconds to click the social buttons and share this page over facebook, tumblr, twitter…all that good stuff.  It makes all this effort worthwhile knowing that you are interest enough to share the page with your friends! Keep it up 🙂

Letter Studies: The Graffiti Style Letter S

On March 5, 2013, in Letter Studies, by The Gone 84

Graffiti Style Letter S Letter Study

Graffiti Style Letter S Letter Study

Hello again fellow travellers!  Today we have for you the 19th and VERY much awaited installment in our letter studies, the ever popular letter S in graffiti style!  I don’t think I have had as many requests for a single letter so far as this one.  The funny thing is, it’s probably one of the easiest letters to make!  Very simple shapes, very simple structure, the letter S is another of those many favorites that a graffiti writer just LOVES to spend time on.  Don’t believe me?  Just take notice of how many writers’ tags start with this fine letter!  Not much else to say about this one really.  The freeform structure and effortless flow of this letter allow it to stand alone from all the rest.  So much fun to be had with this one so, like every other letter I’ve shown you so far, practice it like mad until you get something that you can call your own.  It is so easy to manipulate this letter while still retaining it’s value and identity that almost anything goes…… almost.

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