Nicholas Huggins Design


How I Started Doing Chalkboard Art

Let me give a bit of a back story as to how I got into illustrating chalkboards...
Matthew of Sticky Bones BBQ asked me one day if I would quote him to do some illustrations on the chalkboard inside the restaurant. Apart from a few years of doing graffiti (which is super different), I had never really done anything like that...but I decided that between the time that the quote was approved and me actually having to do it, I would be able to give myself a crash course.

I got my hands on a small board, borrowed from a school, and got to work doing smaller sketches (seen below) to get the hang of it. It took me about 17 seconds to realise that chalk itself does not lend itself to creating clean illustrations because of all the powder and chalkdust. Cue one quick google search later and I quickly learnt of chalkboard markers! It's basically a felt tip marker that has a mix of water and what I assume is some kind of chalk-like colouring...but it gives you the cleanest lines possible, while still being able to be erased as easily as regular chalk.

So after a week or so of practice, I went into Sticky Bones on a Sunday and got to work! In addition to illustrating the board, I also decided to shoot a time-lapse video of the 4 hours spent illustrating to post on social media. The video served as a marketing tool not only for Sticky Bones, but for me as well, and it definitely created a little bit of a buzz over on my Facebook Page and Youtube Channel. This job led straight into another job for Aioli Marketplace who had seen the work that I had done for Sticky Bones.

The Aioli Marketplace job was pretty big and so I knew I needed a small army of chalk markers to complete the job, so I went on to Amazon and ordered a bunch of chalk markers to a friend in Florida to bring to Trinidad for me...but then Hurricane Irma happened and the markers made it to Trinidad 4 days after the job was completed. Luckily I was able to purchase what I imagine was every chalk marker in Trinidad, and combined with my new locally bought stash I can take on any job of any size. 

Once again I made a time-lapse video because of the success of the first one. The scale of the Aioli Marketplace job was much grander than the Sticky Bones job, and took about 18 hours in total over the course of 3 days. My arm was stuck in the upright position for a few days after.

The video for Aioli Marketplace was another success and showed me the importance of not just doing a job and leaving it. In order to promote your services you need to tell people about it...and if your client gets a video out of it to show off their new place and get a buzz going, then even better!

And now, I'm writing this in the wake of completing my third chalkboard project. This time around, it was for Del Mano Food, a local company that's know for their sausages & pestos. Another video was made and I can now say that I have added Chalkboard Illustration to my CV. It's a really fun thing to do, and any excuse to remove my eyes from the computer screen is welcomed. Doing chalkboards has been a fun way to practice design in an unconventional way, and it always looks good in the medium of time-lapse videos (it does not make for a riveting Facebook/Instagram Live though.)

Fill out the Form below if you are interested in having Nicholas illustrate a chalkboard for you!

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