Chalkboard lyrics (and lettering)

This summer, I've taken up a new hobby: chalk letting song lyrics. I'm having so much fun with this, and the more I play with chalk, the more I love it as a medium.

I'll be teaching my chalk lettering workshop at Craft Makers Studio August 18th. I'm excited, as always, to teach this class, but even more so this time because I've redesigned it a bit. We'll spend more time focused on the basics of lettering (because once you know those, you can get pretty wildly creative), and I'm revamping the workbook and information sheets, so students will have everything they need to continue their practice and expand on their skills once they leave class.

In celebration of all this goodness, I took some process photos of my latest lyrical chalkboard, Elton John's "Your Song."

Step 1

The first step when I'm creating a new chalk sign is to sketch different designs on a piece of printer paper. I forgot to take a picture at that stage, but trust me that you would have been underwhelmed. My beginning sketches are tiny, messy penciled arrangements of the words, until I find one I like.

Step 2

The next step is to sketch, lightly in chalk, the basic design on the chalkboard. Most often, I do that directly on the board, but sometimes I do it on a chalkboard-size piece of paper first, as I did here.

YourSong (4)

Step 3

When I've used the paper method, I then need to transfer the drawing onto the chalkboard. I do that by turning the paper over and scribbling the back with chalk, especially where my Shaprie marks are. Then I place the paper, chalk side down, on my board and with a dull pencil, I retrace my lines. When I'm finished, it looks like this.

YourSong (1)

Step 4

Whether I draw directly on the board with chalk, or I transfer the design from paper, now it's a matter of tracing the faint lines of my sketch.

Sometimes I do all of this with chalk... which is the hard way. Here are three boards done entirely in chalk.

More often, I trace the sketch with a chalk marker (see the photo below). It's much easier to work with a marker in this early phase because once it dries, it won't smear or erase when I add flourishes, shading, and other details later.

YourSong (2)

Step 5

The next phase is the fun part, adding all the little details that make chalk signs so fun. In this phase, I'm trying to add visual interest, fill the blank spaces, and balance the piece out. If you compare the final two pictures in this post, you can see where I've added new elements to the design to give it a sense of movement and life.

YourSong (3)

My workshop on August 18th is the first step to creating your own amazing chalk art; it all begins with lettering. I'll share the secrets of faux-calligraphy, and we'll practice every letter of the alphabet so you're comfortable you can recreate them on your own. We'll talk about how mixing different fonts together, and adding details like shading and patterns can really bring your letters to life.

I'm so excited to teach this workshop. If you're in the area, please come join me!

Oh, and I've created a portfolio for my chalkboard art. If you have a lyric request, you can send me a note or let me know on Facebook (where we really should be friends if we're not already). 🙂