Thursday, October 27, 2011

Warhol Inspired Portraits

- Acrylic Paint
- Paintbrushes
- Acetate
- Computer & Printer
- Student Photographs
- Warhol References
- Sharpies

1. Discuss Pop Art, Warhol, and specifically Warhol's portrait work. We discussed his use of color and strong emphasis on shadows and silhouettes.

This was a fun, little website I showed just to demonstrate the effect of color:


2. Type up a personal free write. I had the students change the margins to as small as possible and they were not allowed to use a font over size 16. I asked for them to print two copies, one for the project and one for me to read after.

3. Trace major lines on photograph print out.

4. When checked, trace again onto acetate. (Sorry... started painting before I took a pic!)

 4. Paint in black shadows. Mandatory black areas:  eyes, nose and outline of face. Lips, hair, clothes and background were optional. Anywhere that is painted black needs to be two coats. You can see how translucent one coat is below.

5. Paint in remaining spaces, leaving any area that is skin blank. Mount free write behind portrait.


  1. Did you use acrylics to paint on the acetate? I've tried both tempera and acrylic on overhead sheets and had the tempera flake off and the acrylic peal did you get it to stick and stay?

  2. I did use acrylics. For the most part, everyone's paint just stayed on because we only used a thin layer (I wanted to see the words through the paint). Some students wanted to put heavy coats on and make it look like flat colors. They would paint multiple coats after the first coats dried, and that's when they started to peel, and then they'd paint over that spot over and over- it was a never ending cycle. That's when they started panicking and I said, "that why I said to only do one cooaattt." : )

  3. I have had my students paint on overhead sheets using colored glue. Elmers glue plus tempera paint. The colors are not as vivid or bright as with paint alone, but it does stick. I mixed batches of the glue/paint in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer then poured it back into glue bottles for storage. This also works great for a Tiffany inspired stained glass window project.

  4. Oooh... I'll definitely have to try that, thanks!

  5. Try add soap to the paint ( I have only tried it with tempera). Ivory works well. I didn't change the colors or really even thin it out and it stuck REALLY, REALLY well. I had my students painting Kleenex boxes. The first round without soap flaked off immediately after it dried. The classes with soap never flaked.

  6. Hi Hannah,
    I LOVE this art project. We are going to have our student try it this year. How do you suggest mounting the acetate to the freewrite? Glue Stick? Glue dots? What is best? Thanks in advance :)
    Seattle area

  7. Yes I was thinking of the same did you mount the acetate on the writing? Did you glue it? I love the artwork and think its great as a beginning of the year activity.

  8. You may also want to try adding acrylic gloss medium to the paint to get it to stick.