Not sure where to start? Richard Storey is a British artist whose chalk drawings demonstrate the understated beauty of this medium. Taking mostly nudes as his subject, Storey captures the human form in motion, using a careful combination of wandering lines and a touch of paint to do so. The use of multiple figures and overlapping in these drawings expertly shows the movement of his models, rather than presenting them as static entities as is so often done in life drawing.
Norfolk artist Claire Cansick works with a range of different mediums, among which feature a selection of chalk drawings. These works employ unusual angles and concentric lines, creating an intriguing flow to the piece that encourages the viewer to consider the subject from a different perspective. Her limited palette in these pieces is typical of chalk drawings, allowing shading and lines to tell the story rather than colour.
The use of chalk is an old medium that has been used in drawings throughout the centuries, given that it is both highly versatile and readily available. We can see some of the earliest examples of chalk art dating back as early as the Stone Age, making it one of the longest-used materials in art. However, it was not until around the 15th Century and the arrival of the Renaissance that chalk drawings truly began to take off in terms of popularity and respect within the art world.
Jean Clouet was a Renaissance painter who earned recognition for his portraits, which were technically astounding for their time. While many of these portraits were completed with paints, he was also known to create chalk drawings of his subjects. These works are striking in their accuracy, and through clever use of shading, Clouet was able to bring his subjects to life without having to resort to colour. Other artists of this period were also known to experiment with chalk, with some of the greats like Michelangelo and Da Vinci using the material to sketch out their preliminary ideas and drawings.
Another important artist who often worked with chalk was Pablo Picasso. He may be better known for his complex Cubist paintings, where a symphony of colours and lines come together to represent shifting perspectives, but the artist also sketched out incredibly simple yet beautiful drawings in chalk. Many of these works depicted animals or simple images, often drawn with a single line, such as Camel or Penguin. The minimalist approach of these works demonstrates Picasso’s versatility and creative genius, as he was able to shift his focus between vast canvases and simple chalk drawings.