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.

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