Beginner Graffiti Supplies 2024: 10 essentials for new writers

various graffiti spray paint cans
Written by Richard September

Getting started with graffiti? Here are 10 essential graffiti supplies every beginner needs.

Knowing what supplies to pick up when you’re just getting started with graffiti can be hard. After all, the underground nature of graffiti doesn’t make it easy for beginners.

But don’t worry. You’re in the right place to learn about some of the most essential graffiti tools you need to make the best start.

Plus, you might even pick up a few graff tips and tricks along the way.

So if you’re new to graffiti and want to progress with the right tools, here are 10 essential graffiti supplies every new writer needs.

1. Graffiti books

subway art book
Subway Art

Alright, you probably didn’t expect books to be the first graffiti essential you need.

But if you’re brand new to the scene, graffiti books are the best way to learn the history and fundamentals before you get started.

Subway Art, for example, is a must-read for any new graffiti writer. It’s known by many as the Graffiti Bible as it highlights the golden era of graffiti in 1980s NYC.

Expect inspirational images of painted subway trains, interviews with graffiti legends and the fundamentals of modern graffiti.

After Subway Art, another highly recommended book for letter inspiration is Graffiti Alphabets. With alphabets by over 154 global writers, you’ll learn more about letter structures to help find your own graffiti style.

2. Pencils

Early graffiti outline by DONDI
Pencil sketch by Dondi (Image credit: Zephyr)

Pencils are an essential starting tool for most art styles, and graffiti is no exception.

No need to buy anything fancy – you can get started with any pencil that you have lying around plus some paper. These are essential for sketching as you begin working out letter structures and finding your style.

If you want a good set of pencils though, I’d recommend grabbing a pack of Bic Matic Original Mechanical Pencils.

These work great for graffiti sketches and being mechanical, there’s no need to sharpen them.

Plus there are 12 pencils in each pack, so you’ll have enough pencils to last a very long time.

3. Blackbook

blackbook sketch by dahan
Blackbook sketch by Dahan (Image credit: Pinterest)

A graffiti blackbook is a sketchpad or markerpad (typically with a black cover) that graffiti writers use to practice and draw pieces.

If you’re brand new to graffiti, you don’t need to pick up a blackbook right off the bat. Sketching on scrap paper or in an old notepad is fine if you’re just getting started.

But at some point, it will be a good idea to pick up a fresh blackbook so you have a dedicated place for your sketches.

A cheap sketchbook like the A4 ArtGecko Classy Sketchbook or something similar will do the job.

Just make sure the paper isn’t lined and is suitable for alcohol and paint markers.

You might like: 7 Best Markers for Blackbook Graffiti.

4. Fineliner set

molotow blackliner being used to sketch graffiti
Molotow Blackliner in use (Image credit: Molotow)

Fineliners are fine-tipped marker pens that are essential for creating sharp graffiti sketches. They’re perfect for outlining, filling in 3D and adding small details to a piece.

Although most dual-tipped markers come with a fineliner on one end, it’s not a bad idea to pick up a fineliner set too. This way you’ll have a range of different nib sizes to choose from to create a wide range of effects.

Molotow makes a very popular set of 11 Black Fineliners (known as Blackliners). This famous graffiti brand is well-known for making high-quality supplies, so these fineliners are designed to last and produce great results.

5. Alcohol marker set

blackbook sketch by sneakr
Blackbook sketch by Sneakr (Image credit: Pinterest)

A set of quality alcohol markers is an essential graffiti supply for adding colour to your sketches.

Adding colour lets you visualise sketches better when it comes to finding colour schemes you like. Plus they make blackbook pieces pop a lot more than single-colour outline pieces.

Alcohol markers vary significantly in both price and quality, from professional art brands like Copic and Stylefile to cheaper brands found on Amazon.

As a beginner, there’s no need to buy fancy markers at this point. A cheaper set like the Ohuhu Marker set of 40 should do just fine whilst still offering a good range of colours.

I’ve been using Ohuhu Markers to sketch for a while now and found them to be well worth the price.

6. Paint markers

molotow pump paint marker pen
Molotow paint marker in use (Image credit: Molotow)

Paint markers are one of the most popular tools for blackbook pieces and street tags. So if you’re new to graffiti, it’s not a bad idea to get familiar with them early.

From commonly found brands like Posca Pens to more professional acrylic paint markers like Molotow’s One4All range, there are so many different paint markers out there.

For beginners, I recommend picking up a starter pack of paint markers – something like the Posca PC-5M starter set.

With a medium-sized nib, they’re great for using in blackbook pieces and getting familiar with how pump-action paint markers work.

For tags, you’ll probably want a paint marker with a wider nib and paint that’s a bit more permanent.

Take a look at our rundown of the best graffiti markers to find one that fits your style.

7. Blank stickers

graffiti stickers in street
Graffiti stickers (Image credit: Unsplash)

If you’re a fan of sticker bombing, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on some blank graffiti stickers.

Stickers are an essential graffiti supply both for practising tags and getting up. Just make sure you choose the right ones.

Luckily, I’ve covered some of the best blank graffiti stickers you can pick up, along with a selection of the top marker pens to use with stickers.

Stickers are a great way to get your graffiti name up in a more low-key way, which is a good entry point for beginners.

8. Spray paint

mtn 94 paint with universal banana caps
MTN 94 spray paint (Image credit: Unsplash)

All right, so you’ve finally made it to the most essential graffiti tool every writer needs: spray paint.

Although it’s a good idea to practice in a sketchbook before picking up a can, it’s also important that you start developing can control as soon as possible.

Knowing your way around a spray can and the different effects it can create takes time. It’s all about practice. So once you’ve sketched, grab some spray paint and head to a legal or chill paint spot and practice.

The spray paint you can get hold of usually depends on where you live or what you can find online. But some popular brands designed for graffiti include Montana Black, Molotow Premium and MTN Hardcore.

Take a look at our guide to the best spray paint for graffiti and street artists so you can make a decision based on your style.

9. Extra spray paint caps

assortment of spray paint caps
Assortment of caps (Image credit: Unsplash)

Once you’ve grabbed some spray paint, it’s not a bad idea to pick up a few spray paint caps so you can produce a range of different effects.

Otherwise, you’ll only have stock caps (pre-installed caps) to work with. These are the caps that come stocked on spray paint cans and can vary in size.

There are loads of different caps out there for different styles.

For example, there are super skinny caps that are best for fine linework all the way to super fat caps for filling in areas with speed.

I recommend picking up a selection of caps in different sizes to find the ones that fit your style.

Pick up the Montana Cans 50 cap pack, which has caps ranging from skinny to super fat.

10. Safety equipment

graffiti artist painting using a respirator
Graffiti artist painting with respirator (Image credit: Unsplash)

Alright, here’s a boring but nonetheless essential graffiti supply that all beginners need – a respirator mask. Ideally, one that’s designed for spray painting.

Spray paint lets off toxic fumes which can be harmful to your health when directly breathed in. The best way to protect yourself is by using a quality respirator mask with a clean filter.

A great low-maintenance respirator I’d recommend is the 3M Spray Paint Respirator. If you want a few different options to choose from though, take a look at our guide on choosing the best respirator for spray painting.

Got the supplies and want to level up your graff? Check out our top tips for finding your graffiti style.

About the author

Richard September

Growing up in London, I've always been fascinated by the graffiti that covers the cityscape. From seeing it around where I lived to reading it on the train lines, I was hooked straight away. For over 15 years, I've been painting graffiti and immersing myself in the culture. I graduated from the University of Sussex in 2019 with a BA in Sociology and Media Studies. My final year research project, entitled "Vigilant Vandalism or Mindless Mischief: A Narrative Analysis of Graffiti Writers in London & Brighton", exposed me to the lives of graffiti writers in the field and better shaped my understanding of the culture. I created Graff Storm in 2021 with the mission to help new artists learn more about graffiti culture, find the right tools and avoid toy status.

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