The people of ancient Nazca, Peru, drew enormous figures in the desert that could not be seen from the ground. Aircraft discovered them in the 1930's. Some people even suggest aliens with spaceships directed the construction from the air, but it's more likely that the Nazca natives used a more conventional method to make them.
You can draw your own large landscape figure by using a grid system to scale up the figure from a small drawing. To do this you will need some sidewalk chalk,and a large, paved area, at least 8 by 10 feet on which you can draw. The paved area will ideally have someplace near were you can observed it from a height. The driveway in front of your house, which can be seen from a second-story window, would be an excellent location. A yard stick is also helpful for measuring and making straight lines.
NOTE: Make sure you have permission before drawing on the paved surface. Parents should also make sure children do not fall when observing the drawing from a height. If looking out a window, we recommend keeping the sash closed and looking through the glass.
STEP 1: Print out this page with the grid diagram of the hummingbird. If you don't have a printer, you can get a piece of paper and a ruler, draw a grid on it and then copy the outline of the bird. Use the grid to guide your drawing.
STEP 2: After moving outside, you need to first draw the grid. If you have more than one color of chalk use the color that stands out the LEAST for this part (On a black driveway this might be a dark blue).
STEP 3: On your paved rectangle draw five marks two feet apart on one edge. Down an edge perpendicular to the first one, draw four marks two feet apart. Then draw parallel lines from each of the marks across the paved area. Using the yardstick can help keep the lines straight. When you are done you should have a grid.
STEP 4: Now switch to a chalk color that stands out from the surface (for a black driveway this might be yellow).
STEP 5: Now you need to fill in each of the grid boxes on the driveway with what is on your paper in the matching box. Start in one corner and work your way through. Several boxes will be empty. Make sure as you draw you are working from the matching box on the paper. Try to connect up the lines where they go from box to box.
STEP 6: After the boxes are filled, go to your observation area and see how well you did. Does it look like the one in the Nazca photos?
Some additional notes: The people of Nazca would have used more and larger grid boxes to get their figures as big as they are. You can build much larger figures too by making the grid you draw on the ground bigger.
When drawing long lines, here's a trick you can use to make them straight: Get a long string. Have two friends stretch it tight along the path of the line you want to draw. Use it as a guide for the chalk.
We've given you a hummingbird picture, but you can scale up any line drawing you want. Just draw a grid over it and use the same procedure as you would for the hummingbird.
Copyright Lee Krystek 1997. All Rights Reserved.