A lesson on Andy Warhol

The artist Andy Warhol is the subject of one of our Summer Fair competitions and we’ve already seen some fantastic research carried out by Jack (Year 3) and Rose (Year 1), along with some excellent Warhol-style art from Finn (Year 5) and Emily (Year 6).

If you would like to have a go at a Warhol-style piece of art then read on; We will try to suggest a few helpful tips.

Multiple Images

Warhol’s style is known as ‘Pop Art.’ He would often create multiple images and experiment with colour, moving away from a conventional use of colour and creating a style of art that would be great for posters. Warhol would use bold colours and had a talent for creating portraits (often of famous people) that were appealing in both shape and colour. Take a look at his combinations of colour in these multiple images of Marilyn Monroe (a famous film star of the time) and John Lennon (one of the Beatles).

Marilyn Monroe
John Lennon

As well as portraits, Warhol was famous for his paintings of everyday objects such as tins of soup or cans of coke. Here are a couple of examples:

Multiple Images- Experimenting with colour using cans of Coca-Cola.
Marmite… You’ll either love this or hate it!
Warhol was famous for his cans of soup!

Much of Warhol’s work was single image, so don’t feel you have to create a multiple-image picture. However, if you like the idea of multiple-image pictures then here’s some advice from Emily and Finn. Start by creating a single line drawing image. If you can do this on a computer that helps (as you can print off multiple copies). If you have access to a photocopier that makes it even easier. If not, you could use tracing paper to help you to create identical images of your base drawing:

Emily’s base drawing.
Finn’s base drawing – Tutankhamun’s Death Mask.

From here, you can create multiple copies and then have great fun with colour. Paints are great, but felt tips also work really well with Warhol-style pictures because they are bold, bright colours and quite straightforward to use. Here are Emily and Finn’s multi-image pieces:

If you choose multiple-images you can draw whatever you wish for your base image. If you choose a portrait then you might use the sixties theme (I used Mick Jagger, lead singer with the Rolling Stones as my portrait). Or you might choose an everyday object, like Warhol did with Marmite, soup or Coca-Cola cans. I must confess, I cheated a bit with my Mick Jagger piece. I couldn’t quite get the right appearance at first, so I based my picture on a piece of clip art as it perfectly illustrated the idea of mapping out the face in simple shapes, and then gave me the chance to experiment with colour. I have tried to use colours that have a good contrast (using complementary colours of purple and orange for one image). I also liked the purple/pink combination. I attempted, for each image, to make one colour significantly darker than the other:

Mick Jagger x 4

If you choose to try a portrait, you might go for a sixties icon; maybe a famous pop star, film star of famous sporting personality (such as Bobby Charlton or Bobby Moore). However, you could use the Warhol-style with a current celebrity, such as your favourite pop-star, actor, TV personality or sportsman (Maybe a Lewis Hamilton or a Harry Kane).

Warhol Animals

You may prefer a single image picture. I would really recommend looking at some of Warhol’s pictures of animals. If you chose an animal with a very distinctive pattern, produced a base line-drawing and then used non-conventional colours, you could really capture the Warhol style. I have visions of green and red zebras, purple and yellow cheetahs, brightly coloured butterflies, tiger fish and clown fish in non-conventional colours or poison arrow- dart frogs (although I think the latter would make a fabulous multiple image piece). It is well worth researching beforehand (as Jack and Rose did) before embarking on your picture. Have fun!