Design Japanese-style graffiti

Tokyo graff writer Imaone demonstrates how to create clean vector lines from hand-drawn graffiti, which can be used to decorate a skateboard deck.

It's been almost 20 years since graffiti first exploded onto the shores of Japan. With styles evolving and splitting across the island, Japanese graffiti work is no longer simply an imitation of Western designs: today's writers are breaking the mould, creating as a means of self expression rather than just in the name of graffiti.

Recent work boldly displays clear stylistic differences from Western graffiti: some artists have deployed Japanese characters; others kanji or katakana mixed with influences from manga, anime or Japanese pop culture.

In this project, I'll show you how to create an authentic-looking Japanese design of your own that can be transferred to a skateboard deck. It might seem easier to draw the letters - which here spell 'Imaone' - straight onto the board by hand, but I often use the method described over the following pages because I enjoy outputting perfect vector lines through the more analogue method of silkscreening. Only basic design software skills are required, but you will need a steady hand and plenty of patience!

Click here to download the support files (26.5MB)

Click here to download the tutorial for free