Evangelistic Chalk Talks—No. 2

Those who will care­fully follow out the instructions in this ar­ticle, and give time to practicing, will very soon be able to give chalk talks acceptably to almost any congregation.

By ALBERT N. SHAFER, Gospel Cartoonist, Binghamton, N.Y.

Did you try your hand at presenting Chalk Talk No. 1, "The Key to Fail­ure," to your congregation? It looked very simple, didn't it? And if you were an experienced artist, no doubt it was very simple. If it was a new experience for you, you probably found it difficult to make the lines come out just right. But take courage. One does not especially need to be artistically tal­ented to give chalk talks, after he has learned a few of the "tricks." Those who will care­fully follow out the instructions in this ar­ticle, and give time to practicing, will very soon be able to give chalk talks acceptably to almost any congregation.

It is said that that which completely occu­pies the mind for any length of time is never forgotten. That is why chalk talking is so effective and makes such lasting impressions. When the speaker takes up a piece of chalk and begins to draw, the listeners forget every­thing else. Attention and interest are virtually one hundred percent. A five or ten minute chalk talk preceding the meetings in a tent or hall effort is one of the very best ways of getting an attendance. Of course the first row or two will be children, but children make the best kind of advertising. They are good "sales talkers." More than one child has been led to give his heart to Jesus in just such an effort.

Now, you are anxious to get started. The first thing to be considered is materials. I pass on to you what my experience has shown to be best for me. In the first place, a black­board is not ideal. It has many disadvan­tages, and some chalk talks are quite impos­sible on a blackboard. Large sheets of newspaper stock work very well. One can get these sheets in the 24 X 36 inch size from al­most any printer for about a half cent a sheet. These sheets can then be attached to the drawing board, cut from heavy plywood. Cut the board at least 26 x 38 inches to allow a margin around the sheet, as shown in illus­tration. Attach sheets with thumbtacks.

As for chalks, the specially prepared "lec­turer's crayons" are the best. These come in sticks three inches long, and either one-half inch or one inch square. They can be pur­chased in colors from art-supply stores. The half-inch size, which serves the average pur­pose very well, costs about five cents a stick, except for the red, which runs higher. If not obtainable where you live, they can be secured by writing to such places as T. S. Denison & Co., Chicago; .Devoe & Reynolds Art Sup­plies, Chicago and New York.

The Binney & Smith Company of New York puts out a black chalk in the regular school crayon that is soft enough to serve just about as well as the lecturer's crayon, and is, of course, much cheaper. Their other colors are also soft and vivid, and serve the purpose well. As for an easel, I have found the type illustrated about as serviceable as any for most occasions. Of course, if one is giv­ing his demonstration in a large hall or a huge auditorium, he would need a much larger board, for professional chalk entertainers use boards as large as eight feet square. But the 24 x 36 inch sheet permits of drawings that will show well in our largest Adventist churches, if one uses the crayons recommended.

This easel is made of light-weight, substan­tial wood, and can be conveniently folded up to half its size as shown in the illustration. If a person is handy with tools, he can easily make his own. Or one may be purchased for about four dollars at the Devoe & Rey­nolds Art Supply Company, New York. The crosspiece supporting the board has a groove just wide enough for the board to set snug)7 in. This makes the board steady. The draw­ing board should not be fastened to the easel, for there are some chalk talks which call for the drawing to be quickly turned upside down. It is much easier to pick up the board and reverse it, than to reverse the paper. If the floor is polished and the easel slips about,  strips of inner tubing or sponge rubber can be stretched over the feet of the easel.

For those desirous of having their own books on chalk talking, I would recommend "Crayon and Character," by Bert Griswold, Meigs Publishing Company, Indianapolis, In­diana. This is made up entirely of spiritual and inspirational talks of the kind a gospel worker would want to use, and gives full instructions for beginners. Another helpful book is published by the Denison Company, entitled, "Chalk Talks for Sunday Schools," by Tarbell.

So much for materials. Now for the pro­cedure of giving a demonstration. The in­structions will be given as to beginners. Oth­ers will no doubt continue the methods which they have found best suited to them. In the first place, let me emphasize that you are a gospel worker. You are not posing as an artist. You are just a humble teacher of God's word. You need make no apologies for your drawing. However crude your art may look to you, the average congregation is not critical of this variety of art. Your drawing will serve its purpose—that of hold­ing the attention while you put across a mes­sage. It is merely a means to an end.

And because it is a means to an end, the most important part is that end. In other words, the message is of more importance than the drawing, and should receive more thorough preparation. Be so full of your mes­sage that there will be no awkward pauses of silence while you are drawing. Keep talk­ing as you draw. This will require practice.

Chalk Talk No. 2—The Man Who Finally Heard

In the quietness of your study, or your home, let us begin our preparation. Perhaps it is the junior sermon that you will choose in which to make your debut. If so, the talk chosen for Chalk Talk No., 2 will be a good one, "The Man Who Finally Heard," from the book "Crayon and Character."

Tack half a dozen sheets, more or less, to the drawing board. This is to give a smooth drawing surface. In the illustration you will notice there are two scenes—the first showing a happy man; the second showing the final appearance of the drawing, a disillusioned and sad man. Scene i is divided into small squares, twelve by sixteen. Divide the large sheet into the same number of squares. Since the width of the drawing paper is twenty-four inches, your squares will be two inches on a side. This will allow a margin of two inches on each side. Make these squares ever so lightly with pencil, so that you can just see them to guide you in your preparation of the drawing.

What we want to do now is to lightly re­produce this drawing on the large sheet in pencil. And the following method makes it easy, whether you can draw or not, to get the exact proportions. Choose a starting point. The top of the forehead is always a good place to begin. By counting squares you will notice that it begins at the bottom of the second square down and the seventh square over from the left. Find the corresponding square on the large sheet, and begin the draw­ing, drawing just what you see in one square at a time, and noticing just where the lines cross each square. Now, aren't you surprised to see how much of an artist you are?

If a great deal falls in one square, the thing to do is to subdivide such squares by quarter­ing those where the details are finer. Some artists divide the squares with diagonals. You will notice that on newspaper stock, with an HB or No. 2 pencil, you can make your lines so that they are plainly visible to you as you draw, but cannot be distinguished by your congregation more than six feet away. If you find you have made your lines too heavy, tone them down with a soft eraser, such as a soap eraser. Now you can go be­fore your audience with confidence, for you know just exactly where to make the lines. You have the picture all before you, but no one else knows it.

Some may object at this point and inquire, "Is this honorable?" In answer, it can be stated that this pencil outline is to the chalk talker what the sermon outline is to the minister. The minister does not display his notes conspicuously. He may not need them, if his sermon is really prepared, but he has them there to give him confidence, and to assure proper sequence in his presentation. Few ministers do not have their outlines with them. And there are very few chalk artists, even of the experienced professionals, who do not have their drawings prepared beforehand.

You will find, at first, that even with the lines already made before you, it will not be the easiest thing in the world to make the fin­ished drawing. It takes practice to be able to follow the line. It is somewhat like riding a bicycle for the first time—it goes every place but where you try to direct it. Take it easy at first. Speed comes with experience, but the slower you are, the more you will need to talk. Keep talking while you are drawing, just as you do while finding a text in your sermon. Incidentally, the notes for your talk can be written lightly on the drawing sheet also. With some old newspapers for sheets, practice making bold, steady lines. Avoid shaky or sketchy lines.

If you are to give your demonstration under artificial lighting, you will need to assure yourself beforehand that the light strikes your paper in such a way that you can see the lines plainly. A bright light directly upon your paper makes a glare in your eyes, and thus the lines become invisible. This creates an embarrassing situation, like having your sermon notes blown off the desk and out of the tent. It is best to have the light shining down from overhead, in a way that avoids shadows if possible.

Some may be puzzled as to how to keep the hands from becoming smeared and soiled with the chalk, and how to keep the finger­nails from getting black. That unsightly black under the nails can be prevented by put­ting soap under them before you begin. An­other way to keep the fingers clean is to wrap and paste a piece of paper around enough of the stick to protect the fingers. But perhaps the best way of all is to wear an unlined suede or kid glove on your drawing hand, or even wear a rubber glove. Professionals do this, and the audience seems to think nothing of it.

Now, are you ready to give your inspiring chalk talk about "The Man Who Finally Heard"? Really, the hardest part was done in the quietness of your own home. But if you still feel nervous about it, you can even complete the first scene at home and have it covered with another sheet until you are ready to uncover it. However, the assembled peo­ple like to see you do the drawing in their presence.

The story is about a certain businessman, who from his childhood was almost totally deaf. He suffered this handicap all through his adolescence and young manhood. And then one day a great change came. He could hear again! (As you enlarge upon this in­troductory part of your story, you are draw­ing Scene I.) What joy it was for him to be able to hear the voices of his loved ones, and the birds, and other sounds of nature ! What brought about such a sudden change? It was a new invention, a disk with a diaphragm, which fitted over the ear like this (draw the earphone), gathering the sound waves, jug as his natural eardrum was supposed to do.

Of course it made him very happy, but some friends noticed that a change was com­ing over him. (Add the lines to the mouth and eyebrow that change his expression to one of sadness.) When asked by his friends what had come over him, this was what he answered:

"I never knew, during those years when I could not hear the sound of people's voices, that those about me were so unkind to one another ! Ever since my hearing was restored, I have been surprised,' and pained, and shocked to hear the careless words—the harmful words—which people speak concerning even those Whom they love. I have thought about it a great deal, and have made up my mind that people do not speak these words because they always mean what they say, but because they have grown into the habit of saying unkind things. Also I am shocked at hearing the profanity and the vulgarity all about me."

(From here the talk can be developed on the subject of kind words. Several Bible texts can be used. A talk on impure and sug­gestive language can also be developed. I like the conclusion given to this talk in the book, "Crayon and Character :" "Do you know, I would rather see a boy with jam smeared all over his face than to hear a smutty remark from his lips? Yes—the jam wouldn't hurt him a bit, but the smut can't be washed off.")

 


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By ALBERT N. SHAFER, Gospel Cartoonist, Binghamton, N.Y.

June 1940

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