A chalk talk is a monologue presentation done while the speaker draws. It is usually done with chalk, hard crayon, or pastel. Because of an article in Deseret News published on September 17, 1895 the roots of "chalk talks" can be traced to the Methodist church - and a singular individual - Mr. Frank Beard (1842-1905). Today chalk talks are still regularly used as a method of preaching scripture visually by evangelists that have artistic ability.
A chalk talk (aka chalk-talk) was a popular act in vaudeville. A performer used chalk on a blackboard to make changes in a drawing while delivering a monologue. Some performers would do caricatures of audience members. The term also was used to describe an act done with crayons. The term became ingrained in the language to the extent that a performance using markers and a sketch pad is still known today as a chalk talk.
Winsor McCay began doing vaudeville chalk talks in 1906. In his The Seven Ages of Man vaudeville act, he drew two faces and progressively aged them. Popular illustrator Vernon Grant was also known for his vaudeville circuit chalk talks.
The chalk talk format again gained attention in the 2000s in television advertisements for United Parcel Service. Andy Azula, the creative director for The Martin Agency, starred in a series of UPS advertisements in which he draws on a whiteboard.
Chalk Talk in academics is a silent way to construct collaborative mind-maps or other diagrams with the intent to "reflect, generate ideas, check on learning, develop projects, or solve problems."
- Film reference: Winsor McCay
- Stabile, Carol A. and Mark Harrison. Prime Time Animation: Television Animation and American Culture. Routledge, 2003.
- Stevenson, Seth (2007-04-16). "Back to the Drawing Board". Slate.
- Williamson, Richard (2007-03-19). "On the Spot: Martin's Azula". Adweek.
- Lazare, Lewis (2007-03-02). "UPS ad does the white thing". Chicago Sun Times.