How To Do Street Painting

Street painting began in the sixteenth century in Italy, where “Madonnari” (street painters) would create images in public areas using chalk and other materials. Many of today’s modern street painters recreate famous works of art, such as paintings by Michelangelo, but some choose to design their own creations.

In either case, an artist must have three things before he can start working:

  1. appropriate tools and utensils
  2. a photocopy of his picture of choice
  3. a working space

Tools needed for street painting include:

  • Colored Chalk
  • Carpenter’s Chalk Line
  • Masking Tape
  • Chalkboard Eraser
  • Thin Marker
  • Whisk Broom
  • Ruler
  • Tape Measure

To prepare the photocopy, you must first choose what picture you wish to paint. Next, you must use a ruler and a thin marker to draw a grid over the picture (a recommended size is half-inch boxes). The next step is to label the grid, lettering horizontal lines and numbering vertical lines.

Next, clear and prepare your working space. The space, usually a large expanse of pavement, should be swept clear of leaves and gravel using a whisk broom. Next, use a ruler to measure out the four sides and corners of your working area. Use a carpenter’s chalk line to mark straight lines. In order to make clean borders, line the chalk markings with masking tape. Mark the masking tape using a tape measure and thin marker (recommended size is six inch spaces), in order to create a grid outline. Using the chalk line, follow the marks on the masking tape and create horizontal lines followed by vertical lines to make a grid. Letter the horizontal lines and number the vertical lines corresponding to your photocopy. Then, snap the chalk line for a finished grid on the pavement.

Now that your preparation is complete, the actual process of street painting can begin. Draw a rough outline of your work. Make sure that your drawing on the pavement grid is proportional to your photocopy. Next, begin sketching the foundation of your street painting, blending with your fingers for smaller areas and your chalk eraser for larger areas. Details can be filled in with colored chalk. Blend and tweak your work until your desired effect is met. When your drawing is complete, remove the masking tape to reveal crisp borders. Accredit your recreation to its initial creator, or sign your original street painting. After all your work, be sure to get your due appreciation!


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