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.

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 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.

Letter Studies: Graffiti Style Letter R

On February 4, 2013, in Letter Studies, by The Gone 84

rSorry for the delay, been out and about being an artist! HAHAHHA.  Anyway, here we have the eighteenth installment in our graffiti letter studies, the amazing letter R!  This is another of my all time favorite letters because it’s so fun to mess with.  Very simple when done simply but can be really turned out when tweaked and twisted.  It seems to me like most writers I know really get into drawing this letter for the same reasons I do.  The most commonly used letters in the alphabet often become signature letters of the artist creating them and this one is no different.  Work with it and its unique structure until you have something that is identifiable as your own and no one elses’. Everything else tends to fall into place style-wise once you master these common letters. As with everything, practice is key so keep it simple and keep on practicing!

q25Bet ya weren’t expecting this one so quick! Oh yes, it’s another one of those perceptively tough letters that really aren’t as tough as they seem once broken down. Letter Q is simply an O with a line sticking out. How hard is that? That little line affords us so very many possibilities and variations that this letter is plenty of fun to work with and can become a big challenge when trying to arrange new styles!  It can be made to fit into everything and really can be a game changer for the aspiring graffiti artist.  Practice this one, practice it frequently and obsessively.  Have lots of fun experimenting but make yourself work for a unique result.  Keep in mind that you are pursuing a great tradition in not only graffiti as an art form, but in what is really the LAST vocation that revolves SOLELY around handwritten typography.  Even sign painters are using computers these days!  Our reputation is in the skills that allow our hands to express our minds to an audience that likely didn’t ask for what we have to share with them but as a majority are finally coming to the point that they recognize it as art.  This is where it all begins so practice this, learn how the letters work both alone and together.  We are almost at the end of our alphabet and will soon be ready to advance to the next phase of our learning.  Enjoy!

Letter Studies: Graffiti Style Letter “P”

On December 29, 2012, in Letter Studies, by The Gone 84

p25Well here we have it.  As promised(for once), before the new year, the letter P in simple graffiti style. I will admit to being short on ideas for this one but I was looking at a deadline for a change and the Holidays caught up with me a bit.  Still, like before, there are tons of different ways to represent this letter if you just let your imagination run with it.  Practice is always the key because it helps to loosen the brain a bit and that only comes with repetition.

By this point in our studies I’d expect you to be putting together words with all of these letters and attempting different compositions and ways to make the letters work together.  I keep these things simple for a reason and that reason is to show you structure.  Once you have a structure set to habit then the rest really does start to make itself happen.  I know some of you are out there shortcutting the game and just plain copying letter by letter.  If that’s what works for you then fine, I’m glad to be a part of your learning process.  But I will be honest in telling you that until you start practicing shape and structure you won’t get very far in being able to express yourself the way that someone who actually looks deeper than the examples would.  So don’t be a slouch, the time you spend doing it the “easy” way can be much better spent doing it thouroughly and actually learning something that will take you beyond the realm of this page!  Once I get the gallery going again I’d like to see some of the progress people are making and I’ll gladly answer any questions you may have so keep the emails coming!

Happy New Year!

Some examples of the letter "O" in my own graffiti stylesWell here it is!  Another of my all time favourite letters because it can be done in so many different ways!  The letter “O” is probably one of the simplest letters in the alphabet. It’s a circle, plain and simple.  Drawn as a circle, it looks just fine! But, in case you haven’t noticed, this letter can be based around ANY closed geometric shape. For a graffiti artist this opens so many avenues and so many adaptations that this letter can fit absolutely any style whatsoever.  The key to mastering “O” is to really let your imagination go.  It’s structure is the non-structure.  It works no matter what you do with it!  Just remember to keep practicing and do your best to tie this letter in with all the other ones you’ve been working on.  This one is so much fun and has so many variations, there is no end to the innovative interpretations you can come up with!


P.S. In case you didn’t catch the last post,  Thank you all for your emails and letting me know how close you are following our progress here.  I have a lot more in the works for next year.  We should be finished with this round of letter studies and we can get into tons more lessons and treatment for all of these fascinating letters!  I’ve been talking to a few other writers that have been so kind as to commit themselves to at least one guest post so we have that to look forward to.  I’m rebuilding the gallery that had to be closed because it was tied to the forum.  The forum, in case you were wondering, has been dropped.  I was taking out over 1500 spam accounts every other day or so on there.  It just wasn’t worth the trouble anymore.


Anyway, keep the emails coming!  I should have the next installment done by New Years!

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