How to Draw Graffiti Letters – Simple Guide to Letter Structure

Original post by “APM”

Ok, so you wanna write your name, you wanna make it look good, there is a simple process to doing this, and so I will share the needed knowledge that most toys lack…

Letter structure is essential in graffiti, without it you got nothing, it doesn’t matter how sick your fill is or how crazy your extensions are, it’s all about the letters baby…

Let’s take an in depth look at how to draw graffiti letters right. Look at your keyboard, do it, do it now, can you see that letters are made up from a number of lines? For example the letter T is made up from 2 lines, the letter H is made up from 3 lines, etc… These simple letters are the skeletons on which your going to construct and expand, don’t you forget that…

I’ll show you the process of how to get from the bare-bones to a developed well structured letter, using my favorite letter as the example: M.

The image above shows the process of getting a stylized letter in the bare bones, style is a strong word, and is something which can’t be taught or learned, only developed through years of practice…
Instead of going straight ahead and using the final M as the bones, I’ll show you how to do it with the simplest of Ms, the one on your keyboard!

See how the M has been broken down into the 4 different lines which creates it, turn these into bars, just straight up simple rectangles with perfect 90degree corners, wack ’em all together and you got yourself a perfect letter… Simple huh? (Note: sketch was done in less then a minute – if you want to create that perfect letter get your ruler out). Alternatively you can check out our letters and numbers stencils if you’d rather have a guide help you out.

Anyway…. DEVELOPING

Ok so you obviously need to develop the previous straight up simple, to make it look more interesting and styled and graff like i guess… Don’t get ahead of yourself and start adding some crazy ass weird shit on the corners, keep it simple, cut the bullshit…

The image above is almost the same as the other one, except the bars have been curved, shortened, lengthened, but have always remained the same width which is crucial in learning about letter structure… You could come up with quite a lot of variations of different letters just by going through the previous stages and to this one, now experimenting with the lengths of the bars or how they curve, the angle they connect, etc… Like I said before though – keep it simple…

Here is a handy skull stencil that you can easily incorporate into a lettering design.

Ok so this may look like a huge step, but if you keep it simple like I have it really isn’t… Look how the letter is still made up from those bars, they’ve all retained the same width creating a solid flow through-out, but this time they’ve been broken down… Instead of having just two bars meeting, or one bar on it’s own, I’ve introduced another bar to the end of it… This is definitely when practice comes into it, seeing what works and what doesn’t… As you can see I’ve even broken one bar in half, however if i did this to all 4 bars which originally made up the letter, it might look a bit OTT – or would it – try it yourself a find out…

It really is hard to explain how letter structure works in graff, but hopefully you can make some sense from all of this mumbo-jumbo…. I think the main rule is to just keep it simple… I didn’t have anyone to teach me all of this, so i went through along phase of sketching and sketching and sketching, even when it came to simples they still looked fucked because i didn’t know the principals which I have just explained… Luckily i clocked onto it and I spent well over a year solidly concentrating on letter construction, how the letters are made, what works etc… The last stage which i explained can produced an almost endless amount of results for each letter, and should keep all the toys out there well and truly busy, and take their mindx off trying to create some wildstyle shit which isn’t even close to their grasps…

I might later on update this with a guide to extensions, and how to develop the last stage of this even further into wildstyle stage stuff, although there is a couple reasons holding me back, 1. It’s where style comes in, every writer has their own style add-ons and extensions, I don’t want some toys starting to bite my style… 2. It’s where experience comes in… Once you’ve got letter construction nailed then obviously you need to progress further, but if you don’t then you really don’t even want to be thinking about anything else until you have the solid basic principals etched into the back of your eyes…

Anyway… Hope this is of some help!

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