How to Become a Graffiti Artist

While graffiti is associated with vandalizing other people's property, it has slowly evolved into an art form. Now, graffiti rendered by the most talented artists commands a pretty penny and is sometimes even auctioned off. Do you have what it takes to become a graffiti artist?


  1. Image titled Become a Graffiti Artist Step 1
    Go out and buy a sketchbook. This is your bible, always use this before you try anything. Also come up with a good name, nothing stupid like Ghost, Rage etc and try to make it unique . Alternatively, buy some paper and carry it with you at all times.
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    Choose a name that you would like to write and stick to it. Remember to look around for someone with the same name (words like face, ghost, king, demon, blaze, perk etc. are all common names). If you want to be really original come up with a longer word that is more cunning and perhaps relates to you or your work.
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    Look for inspiration in your city and on the internet, but do not directly copy anything you see; this will brand you as a toy [meaning a new artist who gets no respect] for a long time. This is also called "biting" which is a graffiti term for copying someone else's work. Biting is okay for your first graffiti piece just as long as you do not take the credit for it.
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    Evolve your style. Most guys want to go straight to wild style and murals. It doesn't work out that way. Start with bubble letters an progress forward.
  5. Image titled Become a Graffiti Artist Step 5
    After months/weeks of practice and sketching, buy some permanent markers or make your own and begin tagging.
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    Work your way up to stickers, stencils or doing throw ups [a form of graffiti].
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    Meet other artists of your skill and of greater skill. You can learn from your superiors in this subculture and help your equals.
  8. Image titled Become a Graffiti Artist Step 8
    Do your homework. Try Researching people such as UTI CREW LOS ANGELES Researching styles can help you to understand the history of graffiti and different style.


  • Never paint or tag over a piece of art that is better than anything you are capable of creating. When going over someone make sure to cover their entire piece, emulsifying a background makes this fairly easy. To avoid any beef you might want to do a big up for them at the side of your piece.
  • Remember, in choosing a place for your art be smart, have morals, and have respect. Graffiti artists create, not destroy.
  • If ever arrested ask for a lawyer and use your right to remain silent. All you have to give them is your name, address and birthday. Do not let them push you around to give them information regarding a crew or anything you write, even if you have sprayed paint and know what you wrote on the wall. Remember that if a cop says that "you're only going to make it worse" it's already bad and they just want a confession to wrap up the case.
  • Overall enjoy it, be creative, be original and go wild. Once you understand letter construction you can start innovating some new crazy styles, don't be afraid to go big; you never know where it will take you.
  • A few graffiti guidelines, don't tag places of business, places of worship (churches), schools or very important places ( mostly because of surveillance ).
  • Really invest in your art. Buy graffiti brand supplies. Or as an alternative make your own ink and markers. You could also buy regular, affordable spray paint.
  • Consider why you want to get involved with graffiti. For some it just feels right, however some other people are in it for all the wrong reasons. To write to look cool in front of your friends is not a good reason.
  • You can't always graffiti on your own property, there may be an ordinance in your city against it.
  • Respect, but do not pester those artists more skilled than yourself.
  • Do your graffiti in legal places, such as some skate parks.
  • Practice on large rocks. You can later paint them over with house paint.
  • Over all be yourself in your art work. Plain and simple
  • Never include your first, last or middle names in your art.
  • Always make sure you do not make it easy to notice you are tagging.
  • Wear a bandana to hide your identity from hidden cameras.
  • Respiratory masks are useful when painting indoors or in confined spaces where the fumes will affect you.
  • Look on Amazon and search for DVDs on "Learn How to Do Graffiti", as these will help you very much, look for the DVDs with a step by step section on how to draw & paint your design.
  • When first starting out, try limiting colours. Try to work with three cans initially and see how it looks and evolve with time.


  • Try to hide your identity.
  • Never bring your black book when bombing.
  • Never do anything that will tell other people who you are
  • Never tell anyone your name or crew name.
  • Stay legit, don't copy others.
  • Graffiti is illegal unless you get permission from the property owner, and if you're caught, you have a huge chance of being charged.
  • There is a difference between scribbling on a wall and doing art. Make sure it has some actual artistic value.
  • Graffiti is highly illegal, in many areas. If you are caught with a black book or Sharpie they may confiscate these items from you.
  • Fumes from spray paint are highly dangerous and can kill/severely impair you. Always wear a respiratory mask.
  • Tagging places of religion, cars, public property, businesses, and people's homes is a crime and illegal.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic sheets for cutting out your tags (Stencils)
  • Surface you can cut on
  • X-Acto knives
  • Stickers (optional)
  • Spray paint
  • Extra nozzles (spray paint)
  • Sharpies, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, etc.(For practicing tags/pieces)
  • Paint markers or fat, permanent markers
  • Black book (a graffiti artist sketch pad)
  • Thick, hard cover book for you to make a hollow book out of to put stencils and the like in
  • A respiratory mask for when you are spraying in small spaces
  • Caps of different sizes for your cans
  • Gloves
  • Never wear something colorful when bombing because you may be spotted

Article Info

Categories: Graffiti