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Jan 12

How to Create Pop Art Portraits

The beginning of Pop Art can be traced back in New York in the 60s. Fascinated with consumerism, pop artists developed a veritable obsession with Hollywood`s fame and glamorous life.

How to Create Pop Art Portraits How to Create Pop Art Portraits Picture

A leading figure in pop art, Andy Warhol created his famous portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger and Jacqueline Kennedy by using photographic silkscreen. This kind of approach made possible mass production for his prints, as Warhol considered that celebrities themselves are characterized by mass production.

There are a few simple rules about how to create pop art portraits, so after you have read the guidelines below, you are ready to make your own pop art portraits by tracing a photo and painting it with bright, vibrant colors.

First, make sure you have the following things:

  • Tempera paint
  • Tracing paper and graphite transfer paper
  • Drawing pencils, brushes, small water containers, scissors
  • Computer, digital camera
  • Poster board


  • Research

Before starting, get familiarized with Andy Warhol`s work.

  • Photo

With a digital camera, take a photo of yourself or your subject. In case you want to create a pop art portrait of a pop icon, download it from the Internet.
Since you need a clear image, download your picture to the computer, enhance it and print it in black and white.
To render the iconic Warhol-style pop art portrait look, make sure your image is a portrait, preferably a head and shoulders one.

  • Tracing

Concentrate on shapes and trace your image. The tracing order is: first the darkest shapes, then the lightest, then the medium. Use graphite transfer paper to transfer the traced image on poster board.

  • Colors

Warhol used dramatic, bold colors for skin tones and backgrounds, so you should do the same for an authentic look.
You can use up to four colors, but you can also opt for a monochromatic painting. It is recommended that the values of colors be the same as the ones in the original photo.

  • Combination

For a more interesting result, you can combine more portraits, just like Warhol did for his Marilyn Monroe pop art portraits.


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