Graffiti artists will occasionally go beyond the normal tags and incorporate images of people, animals, robots and other things into the work. Banksy, the well-known UK graffiti artist, uses stencils to create many of his characters, which include kids, policemen, rats and others. Other graffiti artists create hand-drawn characters. Graffiti characters help to visually create meaning within a piece beyond simple words. A new graffiti artist may find them fun to create and to experiment with.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Spray paint
Doodle in your sketchbook, brainstorming the types of characters that appeal to you. Draw more cartoonish characters, or more realistic characters. You can even take a character that you like from television or a comic book. There are no strict rules for what makes a good character in graffiti, so develop what you like.
Practice drawing your character in a few generic poses in your sketchbook. Master the proportions and drawing the character quickly. The ability to draw the character quickly is key for hand-drawn characters, but not as necessary for characters you plan to stencil.
Develop a colour scheme for your character. Try out different combinations of colour with your markers to get a sense of what will look good when painted full size on the wall. Decide whether your character will always be coloured the same way. If your character is meant to deliver a message, decide how colour will affect the work's meaning.
Compose, in your sketchbook, the piece that will eventually go up on the wall. Carefully mark out the colours and the details. Decide if the piece will include simply the character, or also text or tagging.
Spray the piece on the wall with spray paint just as it is drawn in your sketchbook. Step back from the wall and admire your work.
Tips and warnings
- Graffiti constitutes vandalism, which is punishable by law.
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