Art School


How to be a Street Artist with Apexer

In this episode of Art School, Apexer explains the foundation of lettering and demonstrates the progression of writing in a tag style, to a more three-dimensional form, to fully abstracting letterforms. He also explains the connection between street art sketching and spray painting.

AIRED: March 16, 2016 | 0:05:25

-My name is Apex.

And we're gonna talk about lettering today.


Basic technique for starting on lettering

is literally just your signature, you know,

just writing your name.

The root of my work

is all based on the signature of a name.

Even if it's your nickname,

it's still the signature of your name.

So, it's really saying who you are.

"Apex" meaning highest point, peak --

if I always try to hit my highest point

and my highest peak, I can only achieve good.


Every letter combination is different,

and it's really important to understand the gaps

and spaces between the letters that they make,

and if it's the lowercase, uppercase,

how do you want to mix it?

You know, from taking, you know, a tag "A"

and then making it a block letter...

...and then, you know, maybe taking it to...

you know, a lowercase "a"...

and then maybe, you know, like, one of my older styles

that I used to draw in a lot,

taking that same letter "A" --

This is still an "A." I'm just abstracting it.

I'm always looking at ways to abstract

'cause I think that we can definitely keep breaking down

our individual parts to get to other things.

And this is all from me just drawing

through pages and pages of black book.

This is still an "A."

This is just an ornate form of this.

But you have to understand this after practicing forever

to go here to get to that.


You know, I'm doing, you know, a three-dimensional letter.

what happens if I cut that letter?

So, okay, now I cut that letter just to the one stroke.

And now I just have the three-dimensional bar.

Then what if I just add a couple more three strokes here?

And now we're looking at my, you know, geode crystal forms.

There goes my abstract connection

to the fundamental building blocks of writing letters,

and that came from looking

at Chinese calligraphy of the stroke of one.

And that stroke of one is the building block

of all the other letter forms.

It's the entry to the surface,

the landing, the pull,

and then the exit.

And you can just do this line of one, and you can see, like,

how I changed that variable from it being a little looser

to heavy or constant the whole time with,

like, a little, heavy ending.

Or if you come in and you pull it off,

now that's how you land it, very steady,

and then you pull it off very loose.

And then you get the same, you know --

the same line, but with a different filling on the end.

This is very wispy.

This is very directional of where you're going.

The approach, the landing, the pull,

and the exit is very similar to --

We just call it "can control."

After practicing in a black book with a marker,

you can then pick up a spray can and apply it to a painting.



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