Public Spaces: A Graffiti Letter Resist

Lesson Plan, Grades 5-12, Sax Lesson Plans, Art, Social Studies, Crayola


Modern graffiti is a cultural art form with a variety of styles and purposes. In general, graffiti art is made in public spaces like subway cars and on the walls and surfaces of buildings as murals. In this lesson, students will study the writing styles of many different graffiti artists. To relate this school based artwork back to a physical place, students choose a place they find particularly significant, like their home city or a place they would like to visit. They will write out the name of this place in graffiti-style typography and add a simple background icon to represent that place.


  • Students will practice writing in several graffiti-style fonts.
  • Students will use a variety of drawing media to apply their typography and a background illustration to their artwork.

Supplies Needed

Crayola® Gel FX Washable Markers, Set of 8 067569
Crayola Non-Toxic Washable Marker Set, Conical Tip, Assorted Color, Set of 12 024031
Crayola® Neon Crayons, Set of 8 1400730
Crayola® Twistables® eXtreme Colors, Set of 8 1364571
Crayola® Twistables® Colored Pencils, Set of 1 410771
Sax® Extra-White Sulphite Drawing Paper, 12" x 18", 80 lb., Pack of 500 053946
Crayola® Arts & Crafts Brushes, Set of 5. 1280532


CONTENT Standard #1: Understanding and applying media, techniques and processes.
CONTENT Standard #3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas.
CONTENT Standard #4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.



Have students think of a place that is important to them. Tell them to write down this place's name or title on a piece of paper.


Show and discuss graffiti art, focusing on the lettering style, layout, and composition. Notice how some lettering overlaps and intertwines while other lettering is evenly spaced. Notice how some lettering is creatively colored, shaded, and outlined.


If available, use a computer lab and a word processing program to type out the name of their place in a variety of fonts and styles. Printing these can be helpful for reference. A wider variety of fonts can be referenced.


Students should practice writing their place in at least three different styles before deciding on their final font style. They should also choose a simple image for the background that references their place.


Lightly sketch out the lettering using Crayola® Twistables® Erasable Colored Pencils. Outline the pencil letters in a dark Crayola® Marker color like purple or blue to make them bold. This gives you a hollow, puffy letter.


Fill the inside of the hollow Marker lettering using the Crayola® Twistables® eXtreme Colors Crayons and Crayola® Neon Crayons. Be sure to press hard.


Use another eXtreme or Neon color crayon outside of your dark marker lines. This makes the wording pop out from the page. More outlines can be added by alternating marker and crayon.


When finished with the lettering, sketch a background using Erasable Colored Pencils. Most lines can be traced boldly with a marker, while some important details can be colored with eXtreme or Neon crayons.


Using clean water and a large flat brush, pull the color from the marker lines into the negative space in the background. This wash gives your marker drawing colored tones while also smoothing out any jagged lines. Watch as the eXtreme or Neon crayon resists the wash and makes the crayon lettering pop out from the background.


Dry the artwork flat and mount to a board or dry iron between two sheets of blank paper to smooth any buckling from the water.


Display student artwork and discuss the process, personal meaning, and the artistic composition of each piece.