Arts & Entertainment

Can-Control Techniques


Lesson time 12:38 min

Futura uses a series of kinetic movements to demonstrate the can-control techniques that form the foundation of spray-painting.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: The Inverted Spray Technique · Painting a Circle Freehand · Painting Straight Lines · Linework and Symbolism: Futura's Crane


INSTRUCTOR: Learning to control your spray is one of the most important skills you can learn. I'm going to show you a few can control techniques that will help build your confidence with a spray can. [MUSIC PLAYING] So I want to show you what's happening here. So you can see how wide that is. So this technique of spraying upside down-- that's essentially how I'm able to control the width of my lines and the actual line, per se, that I would like to use. So how I reduce the thickness of the line is I put the can in the inverted position, and I spray a bunch of circles. And I guess you could do straight lines. You could do a lot of different ways. But as you can see, we've gotten the thickness down from something like that to something quite thin, which is now, for me, workable. So now that the can is upside down, I'm going to keep the can upside down. Because if I invert the can now, I'm going to push the airflow back into the other position, and when I spray it, it's going to be large. I assume it's still small. I'll check. It kind of is still small, so just doing one line now, rather than this technique of just bringing in the normal vertical position. In the inverted vertical position-- okay, that's a lot better, actually. And I think my problem is-- and this is something you have to check if you're going to try to do any of this-- is that the can is actually too full for the thin line I was trying to get. Although I did get one. So let's go back to our lesser cans. Although these guys are almost dead. Oh, that's a lot better. So already, the can's telling me, yeah, Lenny. We're exactly where you want us to be, because that thin line took no effort at all. The base trick is just turn the can upside down. [MUSIC PLAYING] So what's the difference between painting on the floor-- like this, for example-- and then painting with the canvases up there? I want to get into, I guess, my circle. What's my technique. And what I'd like to explain is I'm at the extension of my own capability. Think of the human form in that circle. And for me, I see this shape here, this kind of semicircle shape, as a very natural-- it's quite natural for my arm to go in this position. And as a result-- okay. What's happening is I'm just letting my arm go in that 360 motion. Making a smaller circle is a lot easier. Once again, whenever you see me turn the can upside down like that and depress, it's me going through the motions of my technique of diminishing that paint line from that fat one, now, to what I think is a thin one. Let's see. Okay. So everything happened here on this circle that I almost didn't want to have happen, but that's fine, because what you see is the initial circle I made. And then I started to dot it. But then what happened was the can's too full. It kind of didn't cooperate, and the lines got a lot bigger. But that's fine. Once again, it's just a demonstration and showing yo...

About the Instructor

A pioneering painter and street artist, Futura has exhibited at institutions like the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, collaborated with Louis Vuitton and Supreme, and created album art for The Clash. Now he’s teaching you his signature, kinetic approach to abstract art. Learn how to express yourself and paint with color, dimension, and detail. All you need to create art is an idea and a can of spray paint.

Featured MasterClass Instructor


Pioneering abstract graffiti artist, Futura teaches you how to create art with a can of spray paint and an idea.

Explore the Class
Sign Up