Saturday, June 15, 2019

2019 Pasadena Chalk Festival - Day 1

The day is finally here! Time to reveal our mural and our costumes!
Our mural is going to be a very bright and colorful Disneyland castle. I couldn't think of a better costume to dress up in than a Disney Plaid Tour Guide. They're very recognizable by almost anyone who has been to the parks. The outfits came from Amazon. The name tags and Disney D pins came from eBay. Simple enough! Because the weather was so nice, I was able to convince Ruston to go all out with me and wear long sleeves and dress pants. If the weather didn't cooperate we would have swapped over to shorts and t-shirts instead of these dress clothes. And we're going to wear them the whole day while we make our mural!

I thought we were here early, arriving at 6:45am, but there's already people getting a base coat down.

And here's our spot.

Artist Yuji Baba wheeling his full-sized R2-D2 over to his spot. He always does something Star Wars. I wonder what he'll be doing this year.

Our first year we learned a very important lesson about the pavement here. The chalk just doesn't stick to the ground very well. I've heard that it's either waxed, or that it has an anti-graffiti coating, but either way, it makes life difficult. To get anything to stick, you have to put down some sort of base. In year's past we used a sponge brush to do it, but that put a thick coating down that took a long time to dry. This year we used a paint roller and it went so much quicker. In fact, Ruston was done with our entire square while I set up the cameras. One note for next year though, if we're doing bright colors, make sure the white base is saturated and you can't see any gray sidewalk through it.

I've seen a variety of methods artists use to get an image on the ground. Many mark off gridlines and fill them in one by one. Other freehand the whole thing. Some make stencils. And I heard of one person who came at night and used a projector to map things out on the ground. I like my method. Printing a 1:1 copy, covering the back with chalk and effectively making carbon paper. It's pretty quick work to get the whole thing transferred to the pavement. We learned from our practice session that we shouldn't use black to color the back either. It discolors the chalk you color over it. Instead you should use a lighter color, preferable one that is already in your color scheme.

Slide it on top of your base coat and you're ready to trace the outline. Just need to make sure that crack isn't going through anything important. We slid the paper over to make sure the crack went between letters and through a minor part of the castle.

The Paseo is a mall, but there's also condos. One of the guys who lives there got some pictures of us while we were working. He was amazed that at 8:30am we had our drawing done! Just in black and white. And then a short time later he noticed that the black and white drawing was gone, and slowly being replaced with a color one. When he came down to talk to us about it, we explained how it worked, and we got the photos from him too.

I suppose we should check in. It's around 9:30am and it's been a fairly easy morning so far. We ran into Jaime Leake, who was chosen by Tillamook to create a mural for them. He's in the spot we were in for Ducktales! While we were talking he was telling us about how terrible the concrete is. Boy don't we know that! Especially for that location.

As we were walking around, another artist told us that our Herbie from last year was actually on one of the posters! We'd been looking for that! Awesome! Got to get a picture!

Finally getting over to check in. Receiving our lanyards.

And lots of free chalk, donated by Blicks.


The morning was spent getting just like our practice day. Going with the castle first, since it's easier to reach it all now. Plus people will recognize it and stop by to watch.

Another photo from our friend on the balcony.

After a morning of work and pretty much completing the castle, we took a break at 1:15pm to get lunch.

Our neighbor Shaina Joel is making good progress.
Some people are just incredible artists and don't even need to practice. She chose this Tony Stark picture on Friday and it knocking it out today.

Jaime's mural so far depicting Tillamook.

And speaking of Tillamook, how about some ice cream before lunch?
Um, how about no. The line stretched really long, and I heard that it was 30-45 minutes for people to get ice cream. We chose to walk down the block for a quick Subway sandwich.

We love seeing people we know! Hi Ed!

After lunch I really wanted to get that classic Disneyland sign logo finished because it was going to add a lot of color. From there we worked our way up with the rest of the color.
We got really positive comments the whole day. The question we were asked so many many times was "Are you guys really cast members?" Followed by "Is Disney paying you to be here?"
To every one of those people we said that no, we're not cast members at Disneyland. Just super fans who really get into it. I admit though, we do look fairly official. There's differences to be sure. Our vests are black on the back, while the official ones are plaid all around. And Ruston is wearing tennis shoes instead of dress blacks, so that's another give-away. But still, it's similar.

Making progress! It's looking great! We worked through some issues on the bottom in the areas that had some major pitting in the pavement that Ruston called the Grand Canyon. You just kept trying to fill that portion up with chalk and there's always more to try to fill in.

Ruston adding some extra decoration to this castle, with a Tinker Bell flying over it.

There were lots of fans that stopped by today. And if anyone wanted to talk to us, we made time to talk to them. For the kids, we'd ask their favorite ride or their favorite character, and just chat until they were ready to move on to the next mural.
The mural is going great with no major issues, and I'm feeling good about finished early.

By 6:30pm we started putting on the finishing touches. When a kid asked "Where are the fireworks?" Ruston explained that fireworks are only at 9:25 and 10:30 each night. We'll get to them tomorrow.
See that area of pitting in the bottom section of the brown walkway? That section took as much time and more chalk than all the other brown areas combined.

Let's check in on a few people. Randall and Stacy look like they could be done.

Our neighbor Shaina is doing a great job with Tony Stark. She ended up staying until past 10pm to keep working on it.

Shuji works section by section and makes it look incredible.

Last year's People's Choice favorite is doing a great job with this Stan Lee tribute.

She's dirty everywhere but her yellow fingernails.

Exploring just a little more. This is a great Toy Story 4 piece right outside the theater in the Chalk of Fame.

Ooh, I bet this Lion King one is going to look great.

Charlotte looks way cleaner than she usual is.

Having learned our lesson in past years, we made sure to cover up our mural. It's the worst feeling to see footprints and bike tires going through your art when you arrive the next day. If this doesn't stop them, it just wasn't meant to be.

One last pose and we're done for the night.

Check out the time-lapse! I had two cameras going to capture it all from different directions.

Tomorrow it's time for even more chalk festival, including the silent auction and awards!


  1. GREAT costumes...what better choice than the renown Disneyland tour guide plaid vests to "tour Disneyland" art...amazed the white shirts still looked white at day's end (I avoid white tops for any occasion because it shows dirt so easily, let alone try to work in them for an art creation...kudos for making it work for you!) You and Ruston stayed true to one of Disney's tenets: two really enjoyed interacting w/ the guests and vice versa...that made it so much more fun for everyone...the Disney magic in full force! Fireworks at 9:25 and 10:30...too much (lol)...hope the kid got a good laugh, too :-) Time lapse footage is always fun to watch...the 2nd one (seen in the corner) did a good job capturing the foot traffic in that area and definitely captures a different perspective of the back-breaking positions to create the art. The artwork is looking great...can't wait for the final view (and awards)!!! EOM

    1. Thanks! I thought the costumes were really fun this year.
      I was also surprised they looked so clean after day 1. Ruston had a 2nd white shirt for changing into on day 2, but ended up not needing it. Perhaps it was because we were trying to be much more mindful of what all we touched, and cleaned our hands regularly.
      That second camera was an experiment this year. I've done the top-down view year after year. I was curious to get a new perspective on things. I think it worked out okay, especially combining into the same video.