I was super inspired to try a chalkboard wall by Isaac Calligraphy (someone I follow on Instagram); he is an incredible flourisher, and he'd recently done a wall at the Hive Cafe which was absolutely amazing! Sooo inspiring! I knew I wouldn't produce that kind of work, but it was a great impetus to get my feet wet in this avenue!
The wall upon which I'd be lettering the drink menu was about 8 feet high and 30 inches wide. I had measured it when I stopped by to get the hanging boards, so based on those measurements I sketched out a plan. The day I dropped off the boards I was all ready to begin the wall.
The first thing I did was generously trace the outline of the refrigerated unit that sits in front of the wall. I had planned this shape into my design, because I wanted to make sure my lettering didn't cross that line and become obscured by the unit (you can see a faint outline in the below picture). Then I primed the whole wall down to that line with a layer of chalk, as discussed in the hanging boards post. Washi tape blocked off the sections according to my sketch:
Using a step stool and taking several deep breaths, while reassuring myself that I could always wipe away mistakes, I dove in! Top to bottom so I didn't smear finished work, I wrote out "Drink Menu" in Copperplate, adding shading and a flourish here or there. Then I began the HOT section, trailing the item to its price with just a straight line (used a ruler to keep them straight!) ending in a dot. The dot wasn't part of my pre-determined design but on the spot I liked how it finished at the price. Then I drew some happy little coffee beans and a light border (for interest only, no purpose) with the flat of the chalk.
I worked my way down the wall, working off my sketch with a few slight alterations. I'd often step back and survey the whole thing, then move forward and retouch, darken, embellish, or extend something. For example, I went back and balanced out the flourishes under "Drink Menu". I also continued that shaded border by "HOT" up further to incorporate the whole section, and added a few more coffee beans for good measure.
Here is the finished wall!
The menu that Emily had given me incorporated Smoothies under Cold Drinks, but I thought they warranted their own category. So I put COLD and COLDER next to each other, threw in the substitutions underneath, then gave SMOOTHIES its own place in the spotlight. (I had found that word format in my online excursions and loved it, plus I knew it would help even out the side-heavy emptiness around that cold unit. And it just seemed right to wrap the S around the corner of the wall, so that happened.) The snow-capped "COLD" chilled out next to some falling snowflakes by the frosted drinks, and I'm seriously pleased with the flourished line above "substitute".
I really had a ton of fun writing this chalkboard wall! For a first time experience, it was so gratifying and exciting, and went very smoothly. How awesome to watch something slowly appear where there once was blackness? One of the best parts was about halfway through the wall when one of the employees, who was training as I lettered, giggled and said "It makes us look so official!" What a compliment!
The owners and employees were so excited with this work, and I knew they really felt that their dream was coming to fruition as all the final pieces came together. God is so good, and I know He is pleased with this new ministry! I hope it is a wonderful blessing to the Mechanicsburg foster community!