How do I prepare?
The SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival is coming up this Saturday, April 23rd and will be held at Forsyth Park. If you’ve never been and are worried about preparing for the event, rest assured we’ve got you covered with this quick guide!
Consider Your Goals
Before everything, think about why you’re participating in the festival. Is your main objective to win one of the prizes? Or are you going just for the fun of coloring the sidewalks of Forsyth Park?
If you’re thinking that you want to pursue a prize, it’s helpful to choose 1 or 2 awards to aim for so that you can plan a drawing that meets the criteria for that prize. For example, you could aim for the Peace award, but also the Love award if you include icons related to both themes. If you’re really in it to win, it’s also worthwhile to consider how many people will enter for a certain category— since all SCAD students are eligible for the SCAD Student/Group award and Best in Show, it’s a safer choice to come up with a design that can also fit into one of the other award categories.
“If you’re thinking that you want to pursue a prize, it’s helpful to choose 1 or 2 awards to aim for so that you can plan a drawing that meets the criteria for that prize.”
The other approach to this festival is to simply exercise your artistic abilities and use the sidewalk canvas as a chance to play, in which case, there’s no more guidance needed other than to have fun!
Have a Sketch Handy
Now that you have your goals in mind, make as many thumbnails as you need to discover the best composition. Consider the following things:
What symbols and icons will you include?
Will they be central to the composition, or are they simply a decorative aspect?
Will your artwork have lines?
Do you think your drawing will benefit from a frame?
Is it background heavy, or character-focused?
You could choose to recreate a real-life event or place inspired by your chosen genre. Maybe you want to make a realistic piece that gives the illusion of being 3D. Or a funny comic! The possibilities are endless, and you’ll only ever know them all if you see them laid out onto a sheet of paper.
Once you’ve passed the ideation phase, it’s time to draw out your chosen thumbnail. Since color is a key distinguishing characteristic of chalk— unlike charcoal and ink which rely on value— use markers or some other media to plan what colors you will use and where you will place them. You can also do this step digitally, and then print out your design so that you can have it handy as you work on the sidewalk on the 23rd.
“The more detailed you are in your sketch, the faster you will be with the chalk.”
Remember, you only have about 3 hours to complete your square.
Be Prepared to Get Messy!
You made it! The day of the festival has finally come. You’ve decided on your objective, prepared a beautiful sketch, you pick up the chalk and… it isn’t looking the way you’d originally planned. The chalk is unfamiliar to work with, or maybe the canvas is too big to do all those planned details on time.
Live competitions can often get messy, and unpredictable things happen. It’s important not to get stuck up in a tough spot and instead reroute your next best plan of action. It could be helpful to get a pair of fresh eyes to look at your progress and give you feedback on improving the work. Or take a breather and energize yourself before coming back to it again.
Come dressed in a way that will let you get messy with chalk and that keeps you protected from the weather. Don’t forget to pack water and snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day.
And no matter if you win or lose, follow the plan or have to improvise… just enjoy the outcome!