Sunday, June 21, 2020

2020 Pasadena Chalk Festival - Gone Virtual #PasadenaChalkFestival

It's Father's Day weekend, which means it's time for the 2020 Pasadena Chalk Festival! There's an interesting story behind everything this year, and how this end result came to be. Read on!
Back in 2014, while Theresa, Jacob, Ruston, and I were walking around the 2014 Pasadena Chalk Festival, Ruston mentioned we should participate the next year. I thought that sounded like a really fun idea, and every year after that, Ruston and I have been a great team!

In 2015, our very first year participating, we made of mural of the gang from Ducktales! It was very well received and we even won an award! Best New Artists!

In 2016, together we made the poster from The Iron Giant.

In 2017, we dressed as Jungle Cruise skippers, told passers-by corny jokes, and made the Attraction Poster for the Jungle Cruise.

For our 2018 entry, we both donned auto-mechanic jump-suits and drew Herbie the Love Bug. That year we took home the award for Most Humorous!

In 2019, Ruston and I dressed up like the Disneyland Plaid cast members and made a beautiful recreation of the castle. We won an award for Most Colorful!

What a fun look-back. Ruston and I make a really great team. Over the winter, we had already started talking about what kind of drawing we should do for our 2020 entry. And then the COVID pandemic hit...

Both Ruston and I were sad, but understanding, when in March, the official website for the Pasadena Chalk Festival announced that the 2020 event was going to be cancelled.

But then 2 months later, their page comes back with an announcement. The Chalk Festival is going virtual this year!

As soon as I saw it, I texted Ruston. He had seen it too.
Ruston has such brilliant and creative thoughts. He came up with the idea that we could each do half of a mural that when combined would make something complete. I love it!

But which characters can we pick that will show friendship and teamwork?

Woody and Buzz are great characters. I think we can do something fun with them.

In the weeks leading up to it, there's some prep-work to be done. Ruston and I FaceTimed a few times to work out some of the details.

If we're going to make it look similar, picking the same color chalk for the different sections will be important. I made up a color swatch of all the major colors that might be shared. Since this is just a personal drawing this year, there's no reason to go to extreme sizes like we might normally do. Instead of an 8'x8' mural, we're going with a more reasonable 4'x4' total, which means each of us really just needs to do half that. I'm erring on the side of caution though and we'll each draw a little bit over half, just to make sure we have good overlap.

Ruston kept me smiling with his depictions of what he's going to do and where.

Since the festival is in Pasadena, Ruston keeps all our leftover chalk gear up with him. Using my color guide, he picked out all the colors for us and made each of us a box.

About a week before the event, we met up in a Best Buy parking lot to transfer the chalk plus any other gear.

Finally Father's Day weekend is here and it's time to get chalking! Ruston and I traded progress pictures back and forth.
Ha! Ruston, is claiming our spot, just like if we were at the Paseo. Except this time it's in his own driveway.

And I'm ready to get started on my side. For the past few years, we've dressed up in costumes to go along with our mural theme. Since I'll be drawing Buzz Lightyear, I'm Disney bounding as Woody.

It's not pretty, but it doesn't have to be. Here's my camera setup. My folding ladder with a platform across the top, and a whole bunch of painter's tape to go along with it. I used two cameras to record the action, just in case one didn't work properly. Ruston also recommended using the paid app called Lapse It to do a time-lapse recording too.

There's lots of ways you can get the pattern onto the pavement. We chalk up the back of our paper and then trace it out.

Ruston even labelled the chalk itself so we couldn't get confused about what color goes where.

Both Ruston and I have set up a time-lapse camera to capture the whole thing. More on that shortly.
I love the little touches that Ruston adds. Going through the photos, I see a couple things that stand out. First, there's this smiley face in the tempera base coat. It's only there for a few frames, and in a few seconds it disappears as it's painted over, but that's just one of the things that Ruston does that makes me smile.

As the day went on, I'm making pretty good progress. Those yellow and red colors really POP!

And Ruston is doing pretty good on his side too. He's bounding in Buzz Lightyear colors.

There we go. It's looking good!

Since it's virtual, the organizers of the chalk festival requested that the artists send progress pictures. Here we are featured on their Facebook page.

I'm making pretty good progress on Buzz Lightyear.

And Ruston is almost done drawing Woody!

Alright! Buzz is complete! Just the blue background to go!

And speaking of blue, Ruston is doing his too. And there's another thing he's got hidden in there. Woody is saying his catchphrase "Hey Howdy Hey!" but it's in blue and will soon disappear as the rest of the background goes on.

Ruston, that looks great!

And just like if we were at the Paseo for the real chalk festival, the kid remembered their job. They are always my special helpers who help pull up the tape. Ruston told me that he did miss having special helpers to pull up his tape.

And when it's all done, they'll get a picture with me.

And through the magic of photoshop, two murals, drawn over 30 miles apart, become one!

Aww, gosh. Award-winning team.
The Pasadena Chalk Festival facebook page posted a picture of our finished piece also.

The kids were excited to be a part of the chalk festival this year too. The official event asks that participants be 16 years or older. But when we're at home, they can participate virtually too!

The kids grabbed their chalks and took over the top of the driveway.

Ian drew a bear with a bicycle. Very creative.

And Alli decided to draw a puppy.

And then they worked on a collaboration effort to draw a puppy together too. Good work little artists.

And normally, a couple days after the festival, Ruston would take a trip over to the Paseo and see what happens to all the murals. There will be footprints and bike tracks going through everything. Sidewalk chalk murals are very much a temporary art form.
We didn't have to wait too long before things happened to our own drawings too. Being in front of his garage, Ruston eventually had to park there again. It wasn't long before Woody had tire treads going across his face.

And after a little bit of watering the plants in the front yard, mine had a little river that went through the middle of it and took the chalk away in a very interesting pattern. Plus overspray from the hose caused water droplets to go all over the blue background. Oh well! It's been a fun weekend!


  1. BEAUTIFUL job!!...Award for "Best in Creative Execution"!! Great team effort between great friends (nice smileys, too)...such coordination and planning to successfully create the final chalk art. The bounding outfits are the final touch...LIKE them! Always fun to watch the time lapse efforts...hadn't heard the DuckTales song for a loooooooooooong time :-) Ian & Alli can hardly wait for their chance at Pasadena. Cute Alli wink in that photo :-) EOM

    1. Thanks! There were some pretty amazing chalk artists participating this year, but I think we have a really good showing. It did take a bit of coordination to pull off but the end results were unique!