Frequently Asked Questions – You ARE an Artist

Chalk pastels are a very easy and forgiving medium to work with. Still, chalk pastel artists sometimes have questions. Here is a list of frequently asked questions for our art tutorials.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What age are your books and video course for?

A: These tutorials truly are for all ages. When Nana first taught us our first chalk pastel lesson, we had ages from two to high school. Nana also has adults that enjoy her art tutorials. Angie, of Petra School, explains it well: “Easy enough for your smallest one that is able to hold a piece of chalk, challenging enough for high schoolers and adults. No need for expensive supplies – head to your local mart or craft store and get the chalk that fits your budget… Go- This. Will. Bless. Your. Family. I Promise! Nana and Tricia do all the work, you just gather your little ones.”

Q: Why does Nana say to sign, date and name your painting?

A: Naming every picture is a habit I learned from a teacher years ago who said, if you name your picture, it gives it permanence. A foggy marsh at sunrise can have a name like “Still the Marsh.”  A perky chickadee sitting on a limb can be named “Saucy Fellow.”And a sandy beach with brightly colored umbrellas has the name “Beach Destination.” Just take a moment and think. Give your imagination time to work a magical name that tells your painting’s story! Like a true artist, sign at least your first name or initials on your picture. Down in a bottom corner is a good spot. Sometimes we sign our names on the back of a picture. If you share photos of your children’s artwork online you may want to consider having them sign their names on the back of their pictures as well. More on naming and signing pictures.

Q: Why does Nana call chalk pastel pictures paintings?

A: Chalk pastel sticks are pure pigment. So it is simply painting in dry form.

Q: How can you seal a finished chalk pastel painting so that it does not smudge?

A: Get a cheap aerosol hair spray like Aqua Net (not pump hair spray) I recommend taking your painting outside to spray. Just a quick, light coating will do to seal it.

Q: “Are these chalks nontoxic? Where do I find effective chalks that are safe for children, especially young children who tend to stick their hands in their mouth. Plus, I am curious about this since we will be doing this on the kitchen table where we eat. Can you tell that I have no experiences with art?  I really have never done any art in my life other than scissors and glue.  I am excited about this. In the past, I have enrolled my boys in sketching classes but we’ve never done anything like this before. I think the whole family will love this. Oh, and does this stuff stain carpet, clothes, and so on? Thanks again, Christina”

A: Christina, Good questions! I know that the chalks we use are non-toxic. I’m fairly certain that all children’s art supplies are required to be that way. I think of the chalk pastels we use as glorified sticks of regular chalk. If you look at (my affiliate link) chalk pastels on Amazon, you will see that they list them as non-toxic.You could look on the side of the package that you are considering purchasing. You can look at a local craft store like Hobby Lobby or Michaels. Also, we wipe our table down with regular wipes after we use the pastels. But you could always use an inexpensive, plastic tablecloth to cover your table if you are concerned.

Yes, chalk pastels are what we call ‘blessedly messy’ – meaning that the colors blend very easily, making it both fun for children and adults alike. We do keep the baby wipes right on the table. We also use smocks (some of dad’s old shirts) or wear something we didn’t mind getting stained. Chalk pastels can stain clothing. Now that we are practiced in this art medium, we don’t wear smocks any more. I just wouldn’t suggest your children wear their Sunday best. And yes, pastels can stain carpet. Our kitchen table is over easy to clean linoleum.

I think that you will find, with practice, that this is so very easy to do and to enjoy. I understand the mother concern of mess. Really I do. (See my article on Art for the Homeschool at HSLDA). But, of course I think seeing the sheer joy on my children’s faces is all worth it! Chalk pastels really opened the door to all kinds of art for the children and me. We saw that we really could do this. And now regularly include all kinds of art in our days. I hope that helps! Tricia

Q: Heidi asked, “Will there be a print version of the chalk pastels ebook? Chalk pastels get on my computer.”

A: There is a fellow homeschooling family, the Southerlands, who printed A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels and bound the copy so they could flip through and follow the tutorials. They have a color laser printer which made it inexpensive to do. But another answer would be to print the couple of pages of the individual lesson before you use it so that it is easy to flip through with chalky hands.

  • However, you can sit your computer at a slight distance from the chalks and paper, using baby wipes to wipe your fingers before scrolling through the lesson. That’s definitely something we do often!

How can I inspire my artists? This art box is the answer!

How Do I Start Art with Little Ones? Nana answers. “And we do start them young! But… we do not require much of the youngest ones and make it only fun.”

How do I add in the joy of art? Since adding in the joy of art is one of my passions, I’m here to encourage you that building this habit is not hard.

Chalk Pastel 101

Free Getting Started in Chalk Pastel Art ebook (with coupon for your first purchase)

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