Create bold colorful art

Sidewalk chalk art has taken on a whole new meaning compared to the simple hopscotch games I drew as a kid. There are entire events focused on chalk art now such as this month’s Pastels on 5th in Loveland (see sidebar) and local libraries hosting chalk fests this past summer. If you’d like to get outside with your family this fall for a fun, creative and easy activity, consider chalk pastels for bright bold pictures. Of course, the chalk pastels can be used on paper too but it’s messy so for beginners, working outside is suggested.


Projects with chalk pastels require little preparation and just a few simple items. The only supplies you really need are the chalk pastels which can be purchased at craft or general merchandise retailers like Target. Vicky Bryant, event director for the Pastels on 5th event says, “Be sure to select non-toxic pastels. When washed off, it’s going down storm drains so it’s got to be safe for the environment.” Also avoid anything with oil which is more difficult to blend and doesn’t wash away as easily with water. For blending small areas, use a finger or cotton swabs or buy blending sticks. For large areas, use cotton balls. When asked about any recommended tools DaLisha Verdeyen, artist coordinator for Pastels on 5th (and artist herself), replied, “Sponges, paint brushes and water! Play with different techniques and blending. Gloves are nice as well so you don’t chew up your fingertips.” Stencils or templates can provide additional inspiration or embellishment. For cleanup, use wet wipes or a damp towel or wash hands at a sink.


Hold the pastels like a pencil to simply draw with them to make bold, crisp lines or lay flat to use the side for larger areas, or do both for varied textures. You can layer colors on top of each other and/or blend the colors to add depth and dimension. Blending provides a soft, smoother appearance and sometimes adds motion to an image, such as with the tail of a shooting star. Experts suggest blending in one direction and not doing too much to avoid removing too much chalk. For example, hold down a template cutout like a star and draw thick lines with 1–2 colors around the template and blend outward from the star, then gently lift up the template and blow away the excess chalk to see a glowing effect.


Need some ideas to get started? Try to…

  • Design a mosaic using blue painters’ tape to separate colors or individual images and pull tape off after coloring.
  • Create a landscape image like an ocean sunset or the mountains.
  • Make a comic strip storyline with friends, family, pets, etc.
  • Mimic an artist’s painting or a picture from a favorite story.

Experiment, have fun and let your imagination run wild, and don’t forget to take a picture!

Chalk it up!

Check out this sidewalk chalk art festival featuring incredible artists, live music, food vendors, a kids’ art area and an artist marketplace. Plus, the event benefits the nonprofit Alternatives to Violence, which supports people impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Pastels on 5th

Saturday, September 11, 10am–5pm, 5th Street & Lincoln Avenue