Mar 4, 2013

Book Review: GRAFF Color Workbook

In this review we are kickin it oldschool…Or at least I am. In my early twenties I was a huge fan of Graffiti and street art, and it really influenced the kind of work I was doing at the time. Graffitti is by no means a new art form and has its roots as one of the original four pillars of Hip Hop culture, along with Bboying, MCing and DJing.

The GRAFF Color Workbook represents this history well and features some really solid techniques involved in not only constructing successful graffiti art, but really understanding the thought processes behind the style. The book takes the reader through a number of exercises that introduce a variety of coloring techniques and presentation styles.

The majority of the book functions almost like a grown-up colouring book, where the reader goes through an exercise and then can apply the lesson on the corresponding page. I find this repetition of lesson and then application to be a very effective way of reinforcing the techniques presented.

I think that there is a missed opportunity to add more context for the graffiti art culture when presenting this book. Possibly it could have included a bigger historical backdrop description and links to popular artists past and present. This would have been really helpful for an artist looking to immerse themselves in this genre. 

I find that this style is really challenging to get into for the uninitiated and there seems to be a real lack of resources online or otherwise. Also I have been critical of other Graf themed art books in the past because the art within was often lackluster and obviously created by someone that isn’t a graffiti practitioner at all. I am happy to say that the art in this workbook is the same level of legit work that you would see spray painted on the side of a train car or on an art gallery’s wall.

Overall I really enjoyed working through this book and hopefully it can knock lose some nostalgia in other seasoned artists like myself and inspire some young artists into exploring this world.

(Below is a sketch created using the techniques demonstrated in the book.)