This time last year, and the two years before that, I was out on the streets of Parramatta with around 30 or so other artists making original chalk pavement art as part of the Chalk Urban Art Festival.

This year the Chalk crew traveled to Grazie, Italy with Australian Champion Pavement Artist Jenny McCracken to compete in the “Olympics of Chalk Art” Incontro Nazionale dei Madonnari and shoot a documentary about the process. Despite traveling to the other side of the world and working through the night on her piece, Jenny won gold for her entry, becoming not only the first Australian artist to compete at the festival, but also the first Australian “Madonnara” of Grazie!


The Australian Chalk crew are now preparing to head to Florida to compete in another international chalk pavement art festival.

With all the excitement, the Chalk Urban Art Festival here in Sydney is not taking place this year but it is always a great few days out in the community making art with a bunch of other great artists.

I’ve decided to re-live Chalk through a short “step-by-step” of how I tackle my own chalk art pieces.

Step 1: Draw the outlines of your drawing.











This is the drawing from my entry for last year’s festival, Couch Cannibal.


Step 2: Fill in the big areas of colour and tone. (The following photos are from my 2010 entry, The Crossroads)

Pro tip: Crush up your chalk with a mortar and pestle so the chalk is a fine powder. Add water and brush it on to your canvas so you get a nice even coverage.

The blues in the sky of The Crossroads took about 3 coats of painted chalk to create a nice deep blue.

Step 3: Find the next biggest areas of colour and tone that make up the drawing and start working those in.

Here I added in general blocks of colour and tone to show where the main details would be. I got a bit ahead of myself by adding in some detail on the guitar but sometimes it’s good to put in a little information to help give people an idea of what the drawing is going to be later.














Step 4: Work from General to Specific, continually working on the more general shapes and colour before adding in detail.

I had to darken the background a lot to create the illusion of light coming from the fire, which is more detailed than in the last photo, but still fairly general.














Step 5: Once all the foundations are there, add in your surface details- texture, facial features, writing, etc.

I added a lot more detail to the entire piece- stars in the sky, dirt on the ground, flames in the fire, detail on the face and clothes and writing on the sign post.




























For more information on the latest Chalk Art news in Australia and overseas, check out the Chalk Urban Art Festival page on Facebook.

  • Jenny McCracken

    good lesson.  I loved the humour of your couch cannibal image, wish you had included that here too.

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