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The Beginner Graffiti Artist’s Kit

December 28th, 2011

Maybe you genuinely have an artistic streak. Maybe you’ve met a girl or guy that you want to impress with your skills. Maybe you’re dreaming of becoming the world’s next Banksy or are simply looking for an alternative means for self expression. If Facebooking and Twittering no longer do it for you, if photography feels to passé or if you don’t feel like becoming an old-school kind of painter—you might just consider getting into graffiti. First off, you should know that this liberating form of art is frowned upon by legal systems in many corners of the world. Tagging or painting public and private buildings is widespread, yet it is also often illegal. There are, however, lots of graffiti competitions that you can join, which will allow you to express yourself in a lawful environment. The question still remains, however: what supplies do you need, in order to call yourself a fully fledged graffiti artist? Of course spray paint is essential, but what else does graffiti require? Read on, to find the answers to your questions, presented in a brief and accessible manner.

Spray Paint

When it comes to spray paint, the basic rule of thumb is that you can never have too much. There are so many colors and brands out there, though, that choosing what is best for you will often prove difficult. First off, you need to research your brands on online forums or with other, more seasoned graffiti artists. There are several companies that offer good quality at reasonably low prices. Then comes the issue of the colors themselves. Figure out a basic color scheme that best represents your vision and try to add on to it as you progress in your craft. A good tip is to always wear a surgical mask when bombing, in order to avoid aerosol intoxication. There are high pressure and low pressure cans available on the market, which yield different color effects. You will also need a good, reliable, big can of black paint, and from there on, it’s all up to you and your imaginative availability: go for specialty cans, metallic colors or even transparent colors, if you’re so inclined.

Tips or Caps

Tips and caps are essential, since, as your bombing skills evolve, you will learn that your initial caps will tend to wear out or become otherwise degraded. You will, of course, purchase ink refills for your cans, and you will also require new tips. The aperture on the tips comes in various shapes and sizes and, of course, implicitly yields different design results. Tips and caps can be purchased in packs of three, five, twenty-five, fifty, or more. You need to pay close attention to the listed compatibility between a specific type of tip and the brand name on your can of paint.


Markers are the tool you will need once you’ve developed your own trademark, easily recognizable tag. Mark your territory and your city; however, don’t think you can call yourself a pro graffiti artist if you do this with a regular marker. Marker tips come in an extremely wide variety of shapes and sizes, from regular to extra wide, for truly dramatic results. Explore and experiment, as you seek to find your very own style and voice as a graffiti artist.

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