Chalk it up

I like my local gym. I like how it pulls my squishy body back into shape after too many hours at a desk. I like the people there, how there’s a bunch of regulars that come in at the same time I do. We all nod to each other and chat a bit, and exchange exhausted “Ugh I’m so done here” groans at the end. And I like the trainers, who in this tiny gym all get to know you and joke around a bit.

In short, they know me enough to know what I do, and one of them asked if I’d draw their portraits up on the chalk board. Now, I’m no chalk artist. I’ve seen what some of those guys can do around Sydney and I’m hella impressed. But I wasn’t going to say no – play with chalk? For a couple months free membership? Hell yeah.

The terror of the Blank Canvas

The terror of the Blank Canvas

Mess!

Mess!

The Title looks fine at least

The Title looks fine at least













I started easy, with the text and pointy hand. The lack of an undo button was genuinely terrifying, but had a very concentrating power – no more sloppiness allowed. I actually had to think about what I did before I did it. Weird.
Tiare stage 1

Tiare stage 1…ew

Tiare stage 2

Tiare stage 2…it’s worse!

I umm-ed and aaahh-ed about black ‘n’ white vs colour for a long while. Colour was the winner, but not without a lot of trepidation. I was using soft pastels, which are really clingy. The only way to really rub it off is to throw water on the chalkboard. That meant if I messed up I had to start all over again. And I knew pastels would only support about two or three layers of colour, so I had to be smart about building up those layers. It goes through a mega hideous stage before it looks any good.

Tiare stage 3. Oh, actually looks human

Tiare stage 3. Oh, actually looks human

Tiare stage 4, uniform and golden locks

Tiare stage 4. Uniform and golden locks

As you can tell, I went for a very exaggerated, cartoonish look. I think I captured Tiare’s essence though – she poses like this all the time :p









Then it was the boys’ turn. I’ve got their photos here too, so you can judge how close I got.
Matt, gross stage

Matt, gross stage

Matt: Hairy Ape Man

Matt: Hairy Ape Man

Junya, looking like a little Buddha

Junya, little Buddha



Matt ref photo

Matt ref photo

Mike ref photo

Mike ref photo

Junya, ref photo

Junya, ref photo





















It really does take a while to get used to analogue media after a few years of digital, and it can be disheartening to feel like you’ve lost that competence. But it’s great fun getting fingers messy again.

Everyone should play with chalk.

The finished masterpiece

The finished masterpiece

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