Optical Illusions in Sidewalk Chalk

Crayons and markers can be used to create anything from your imagination, and sidewalk chalk is no different! Whether you use it to make games, like hopscotch, or design beautiful murals, sidewalk chalk is a fun form of temporary art. Have you ever drawn with chalk?

Many artists use chalk to make optical illusions. Optical illusions are patterns of color and light that can trick our minds. Our brains work hard to interpret the world around us, but we can still be “stumped” by optical illusions!

Below, we’ll explore three incredible artists who make optical illusions from sidewalk chalk.

1. Julian Beever

Julian Beever, originally from England, now travels all over the world to draw his incredible chalk masterpieces. Here is a photo of one of his drawings in England. From where the photographer is standing, his drawing looks like a real 3-D snake!

“Harvey’s Last Stand,” by artist Julian Beever

However, when you look at the snake from a different angle, it barely looks like a snake at all. That’s the fun part about optical illusions!

“Harvey’s Last Stand” from a different angle, by artist Julian Beever

2. Qi Xinghua

Qi Xinghua, originally from China, became famous when Beijing featured his artwork near the 2008 Olympic Games. His art piece below is called “Lion’s Gate Gorge.” It looks like a deep canyon with waterfalls. Can you believe that it’s really just sidewalk chalk?

“Lion’s Gate Gorge,” by artist Qi Xinghua

3. Edgar Mueller

Edgar Mueller, originally from Germany, started painting when he was a child. He won his first street painting contest in high school, and has created many amazing optical illusions since then! His art piece below is called “The Crevasse.” He worked for twelve hours each day, for five days, before it was complete!

“The Crevasse,” by Edgar Mueller

Fall is the perfect time to play with chalk. Now that you’ve seen these amazing drawings, what will you come up with? Create your own chalk drawing, or even an optical illusion! And, don’t forget to post it on Instagram and tag the International Children’s Arts Network!