How to Lay Out a Grid for 3D Sidewalk Art


Sidewalk chalk is taken to new heights by artists who are using the medium to form optical illusion murals. According to Katla McGlynn of the Huffington Post, artists such as Julian Beever and Edgar Mueller, create large scale sidewalk chalk drawings that are so realistic they fool the mind. To construct your own version of this art form, you need to lay a grid for the 3D sidewalk art. Like photorealists painters, your original sketch or photograph is transferred to the sidewalk art by using a grid system on the sidewalk.

Things You'll Need

  • Drawing paper
  • Pencil
  • Colored pencils or markers
  • Ruler
  • Sidewalk calk set
  • Draw a preliminary sketch for your 3D sidewalk art using drawing paper and a pencil. Form a drawing with a strong perspective, which is used to create depth in artwork. Add colors to your drawing with colored pencils or markers.

  • Draw vertical lines onto your entire finished sketch that are approximately 1-inch apart. Add horizontal lines over the entire sketch that are 1-inch apart. This completed grid helps you transfer your original idea onto the 3D sidewalk art in perfect scale.

  • Count up the number of vertical and horizontal lines you used on top of your original drawing. For each 1-inch square, increase the scale to at least 5-inch squares. Choose a location on your sidewalk that accommodates this scale.

  • Draw a rectangle onto the sidewalk that allows for all the vertical and horizontal lines of your grid using a neutral color, such as white chalk. Typically the rectangle is just like your drawing but is scaled up. Add the same number of vertical and horizontal lines to your sidewalk rectangle as the grid on your original sketch. Each square is scaled up to at least 5 inches.

  • Fill in the top left square on the sidewalk with exactly the same drawing as the top left square on your drawing. Draw out the outlines of your sidewalk art first and then add the right colors. Each square correlates to the same square on your grid.

Tips & Warnings

  • A transparency can be placed over your original drawing if you do not want to draw a grid directly over it, or you can make a photocopy of your drawing.
  • If your final sidewalk art is primarily dark color, consider drawing your grid with black or dark blue chalk.
  • Cut out a 1-inch square on a piece of thin cardboard. Use it to view each individual square on your original drawing. This helps you transfer the information to the larger sidewalk art.
  • Ask for written permission to create your 3D sidewalk art before your begin work.

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  • Photo Credit Christopher Furlong/Getty Images News/Getty Images Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
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