Andy Warhol: Pop Art Portraits

If you've never heard of Andy Warhol, then you've been missing out on the one of the queerest, most avant garde, most groovy artists of the 60's. He believed that you could elevate something as mundane and common as a soup can and it could turn into something visually interesting. He began to experiment with silk screening, and his celebrity portraits--most notably, Marilyn Monroe--are some his most beloved works. I decided to have some fun with this project, and we embarked on our own Pop Art portrait.

What you'll need:

Depending on the age and skill level of your students, this project requires some preparation beforehand. Before the students left class for the day, I photographed them individually. With every student's portrait on my laptop, I used the photo editing app Picmonkey to turn them into Pop Art masterpieces by making the images black and white and bumping up the contrast and "posterizing" them, giving them a paint-by-numbers quality.

To see the exact steps I took on Picmonkey, go here: Create your own Pop Art Family Portraits

On Picmonkey, you can create grids (the number of grids is up to you) of each portrait. Print them. Now your portraits for ready for the students to carry on the next step. Each printed portrait now has to be decoupaged onto a piece of Bristol board. Decoupage is basically a gluing technique, and it will prepare the surface for painting.

Once it is dry, students can now paint their Pop Art portraits. Encourage each student to be creative within each grid, using contrasting colors and patterns but following the basic posterized shapes. Each student should be given a palette with 4-5 colors of craft paint in each well. Make sure each student has their own water container as well, it just makes it easier for each student to keep their brushes clean and their paint from getting too muddy.

This is one of my favorite projects because this is a technique that I employ in many of my personal mixed medium paintings. You would not believe some of the stuff the students came up with! Although it involves a good deal of preparation, the results are worth it! Every student was excited to take their portraits home.

The portrait above was created by a seventh grader.

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  1. Thank you for sharing that,it's such a cool idea. I'm teaching a Kids Art Class this month on Cave Painting at a Local Gallery. I will now enjoy this blog as well as Hello World. Sometimes I wish my kids were still little and eager to create with me. Are you a teacher also?

  2. So glad to find you here via ArtSMarts4Kids!
    I work with lots of homeschoolers too!
    Keep up the great art, and if you can find anything useful over at my site, feel free to borrow...

    Miss Julie

  3. I've been lurking for awhile and love what you're doing. I thought that it was time to emerge from the shadows, especially when I have an award to pass on.

    Please stop by my site to claim your Wonderful Blog Award!

  4. Siren Song--I've done a cave painting project. The kids loved it! I mixed sand with brown tempera paint and painted it on some sturdy poster board. When it was dry, it gave the appearance of a sandy, crumbly cave wall! I then let them draw with chalk and pastels. It was fun but seriously messy! I am not a full-time teacher, I teach a couple of art classes at my local homeschool co-op.

    Ms. Julie--thanks for your offer but as you can see, I've been borrowing stuff for quite a while! LOL

    Jessica--Thanks! That is so cool. I've been doing this blog for a few months now, just entertaining myself and believing that no one was really paying attention to anything I was posting. So it's cool to know there are people reading! And thanks for the award and the link love.

  5. These are wonderful. Please invite your readers to tell their children about, a safe place where children share their art and participate in ongoing children artshows and kids art contests.

    Way to go!

  6. Great lessons! Your passion for artists really comes through. Thanks for the link.


Artistically speaking....

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