Can Control – The Basics

Learning where to start with Graffiti art

As with any art form, nailing the basics will help you develop the building blocks needed to find your own style. Using spray paint is no different. You’ve got new tools, and you need to know how to use them. 

The world of graffiti has a ton of options. But starting off you want to keep it simple. Getting to know your can options and cap options, will be a great help in pushing you forward. Different caps, produce different results, as will different pressure cans. We’ve made a handy guide to our top caps, and what they can be used for. Click here to read it. 

For a beginner, you want to make things as easy as possible, this will help you gain control of you cap, and make the can work for you.

To start, you’ll need to acquire a skinny cap with a low pressure spray can. Montana Gold or Molotow Belton Premium would be a great choice for this. We also recommend using protective gloves.

Next… find your surface…

Holding your can might seem obvious. Index finger over the cap. Find a position that’s comfortable, some recommend placing your finger towards the top back of the cap, allowing you to achieve a rocking motion when spraying.

Before you spraying your surface, you’re going to want to shake and test the flow of the can. Some paint can build up in the valve, this will result in an initial uneven flow of paint. Aim it away from your surface, give a few test bursts until the paint is running smooth.

Always try to be directly in front of the area you’re covering. This will help with control, and focus. Aim the nozzle straight to the wall. Any wider angles will result in paint going off in different directions.

Keep your arm straight, keep your legs loose, move your body with your lines. Having a loose arm will give you a loss in precision.

Learning to make skinny lines is a great practice point to begin with. To achieve skinny lines, rest your finger on back off the cap, angle the can downwards slightly. Play with different pressures and distances to test out what works best. 

Straight, smooth, skinny lines, is also an important technique. The key to locking this in is; speed. Remember, keep your arms still, move body and legs, move with the line. The faster you move, the straighter the lines will be. Drop down the legs for vertical lines. Try not to move arms.

If you live in a warm climate, or if you store you’re cans in a warm environment. You might find your paint will start thinning. This is can be an issue, as thin paint… drips. On the flip side, super cold spray cans will end up being thicker, and might spit. So a good rule is to keep your cans cool. If your paint starts dripping while you’re spraying, blow the paint upwards just after you’ve applied it. It should catch the drip and stop it.

As a starting guide, that’s pretty much the basics! Practice, experimentation, and collaboration will help you get to the next levels. The graffiti community is huge, it brings great enjoyment and and provides an outlet for expression and inspiration for many. We hope this helped you on your journey!

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