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How to Play Creatively with Sidewalk Chalk Art!
Projects : How to Play Creatively with Sidewalk Chalk Art!

Squeaky Chalk by Joy Sikorski
Click for Free Drawing Lessons from
Joy Sikorski's Squeaky Chalk Book

Summer Fun Creative Play for Kids (and Kids at Heart!)

How to Play Creatively with Sidewalk Chalk Art!

Step on a crack, get a creative whack!

By Chris Dunmire

Several years ago author Joy Sikorski sent me an autographed copy of her cute little book, Squeaky Chalk and other FUN things to DRAW (and do) when there is nothing to do! This book is a fun collection of cartoony drawing lessons, adventurous games, and creative exploration described as an "exercise in out-of-the-box thinking that is guaranteed to captivate children, parents, and teachers."

Learn how to draw a Twitter Bird!I love this book because it's all about creative play. Initially, it gave me the creative nudge I needed to bring out my "serious" art pastels and enjoy the lighter side of this colorful chalky medium. (See the Twitter Bird I drew? It's lesson # 8.) This book has the potential to inspire even the most creatively inhibited to play with art in a not-so-serious way. (And if you're having trouble with this, be sure to read my humor piece, Sidewalk Chalk Art Tips for Creatively Inhibited Adults.)

In the quest to bring more creative play into my life, I discovered another wonder-filled use for Joy's drawing lessons which I encourage pastel aficionados of all ages to try: sidewalk chalk art! Yes, playful doodling on the sidewalk promotes lightheartedness, humor, and whimsical expression. Plus, you can literally get your whole body involved in mural-making movement with this art form, so I highly recommend it as a therapeutic outlet and relief to a stressful day.

Are you ready to have some fun with this creative medium? Then read on to my 10 Steps to JOYful Sidewalk Chalk Art...

Beaver: Lesson # 49
Beaver: Lesson # 49

Project Tools & Materials:

  • An assortment of colorful sidewalk chalk
  • Small bucket of water and a sponge (for erasing)
  • Towel or knee pads (to sit or kneel on)
  • Squeaky Chalk book or free drawing lessons from Joy Sikorski's Web site.

10 Steps to JOYful Sidewalk Chalk Art:

  1. Pick a warm, sunny day.
    No artist likes to be too cold or too hot while working outside, so be weather-wise. For best results, work when it's sunny out because the sunshine will infuse you with positive energy and illuminate your path to wonderful artistic expression.

  2. Gather your art tools and materials.
    Review the Project Tools & Materials list and get all of your stuff together. If you need some drawing ideas or inspiration, I recommend Joy Sikorski's Squeaky Chalk book filled with easy-to-draw cartoony animals and objects. But don't worry if you don't have the book, you can use any of the sample drawing lessons on Joy's Web site, perfect for sidewalk chalk art. And if you want others, feel free to try some of mine. You can also work straight from your imagination.

  3. Find a nice clean stretch of sidewalk to work on.
    The painter has his blank canvas and the potter has her lump of clay. Your "canvas" is a blank stretch of sidewalk concrete and your medium is chalk. Pick a place where you can do your sidewalk chalk art without distraction and without being a distraction to (or in the way of) others.

  4. Pick one cement square to work on.
    It can be overwhelming to see a long stretch of blank sidewalk canvas in front of you. Take a deep breath and relax. You don't have to fill it all up with beautiful chalk drawings. All you have to do is pick one square and begin there. If your art wants to flow outside the lines and into other squares, that's fine. But for now, start at square one.

  5. Affirm your creativity.
    Before you make one mark on the sidewalk, remind yourself of your vast capacity for creative expression. You need not doubt or question your ability to be creative because it's an innate part of who you are. Remember, creativity is your birthright. Besides, if you weren't a creative person, would you be outside with chalk in hand ready to go?

  6. Warm-up with light play.
    If this is your first time doing sidewalk chalk art, take a few minutes to experiment with this new medium. Squiggle and squaggle. Feel the chalk give way as you pull it across the rough cement. Experiment with line, shape, color, texture, and pressure. Learn how to use chalk on this unique canvas. And if you've done sidewalk chalk art before, use this time to warm-up and reacquaint yourself with your tools.

  7. Doodle with detail.
    If you've had enough play (you can always go back to playing later), think of something you'd like to draw. Then begin by outlining your idea on the sidewalk. Details aren't too important right now... just the main concept. You can draw lightly at first... and then outline it with thicker, darker lines later. If you're following a drawing lesson, that's fine too.

  8. Fill in the details.
    After you have your outline done, fill in the details. And then step back and look at your drawing. What do you think? If it needs more work, have at it. More color, more details, thicker lines? When you're satisfied, proudly sign your work. Your creation is finished.

  9. Record your creation.
    It's a fact of life: sidewalk chalk art is impermanent. This means if you draw something really groovy and want to keep it, you'll need to capture it on film before it washes off the sidewalk during the next rain. If you're excited about it, gather your family and friends around you and give them a memory tour.

    And think: If you take pictures on your digital camera, you can upload them to your blog and write about the experience or e-mail them to your creativity-supporting friends on the other side of the world. Capture this experience — it's now a piece of your artistic history.

  10. Have another, please.
    How did your first sidewalk chalk art creation turn out? Hideously horrifying or perfectly pleasant? Celebrate your creation (or cut your losses) and move on. Do another. And another. And another one after that. Soon you'll find yourself drawn into a blissful realm of creative process that makes the whole world outside of you just melt away. And you just might find this playful form of art wonderfully addictive!

Above all, remember that chalk is cheap and the canvas is free so take advantage of your creative freedom to doodle and play. If you listen closely, you'll learn a lot about this form of art and yourself along the way. When you're finished, you'll undoubtedly be in a lighter mood. And I guarantee that you'll never look at a blank sidewalk the same again. •

Learn how to draw a kite and tail!
Kite: Lesson # 10

© 2007 Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.

More with Chris Dunmire

ColorCreativity Portal™ founder Chris Dunmire inspires artists, writers, teachers and children with her creative prompts and writing activities. She's trained as a creativity coach with both Eric Maisel, PhD, and Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching™ founder Jill Badonsky, MeD. Her sense of humor and witty wordplay is woven throughout the corridors of Creativity Portal where she encourages others towards engaging in deeper, more meaningful levels of artistic expression and playful creativity, sustained in part through the support of Creativity Portal Access Pass Holders. Please sign up — your support counts and is appreciated!