Paint Black and White Portraits

4 February 2014



1. Painting or 2. color printable — you choose.
Happy Monochromactic Monday! It’s a back-to-basics painting kind of day, today! Black and White Portraits.
Recently, I’ve noticed how timelessly the kids’ early black and white art projects have stood time.  We have many up in the house. I wondered if you’ve noticed this, too? The, above, black and white portrait was painted by our oldest when he was just 6 and I still love it. These days, it’s hard to slow him up and and put a paint brush in his hands; this weekend, we did! Gather paints paint — after all, just one color needed (easy pick up, too!) — and we painted portraits (both of ourselves and of others… like the circus strong man!) If you’d like something even easier than getting out 1 tube of paint, I’ve created a PDF Printable (below) for you, too!
70 Follow below for some creating …
1 mirror, 1 canvas, board or water color paper, paint ( watercolor, gauche, tempera or acrylic work well for this), sketching pencil, paint brushes and working surface —- or printable below.

How to Paint a Black + White Portrait:
Start by having the kids look at themselves in the mirror. This is an exercise to understand “negative space” and a way for kids to understand space. Rather than starting by concentrating on the details of their faces (eyes, nose, mouth…); you could even take a piece of black paper,  hold it behind their head and ask them to look what they see. Ask them to describe the area around their heads and shape of their heads and start there — not the details of their face, but the shape.
Once they’ve used their eyes, it’s time to draw this shape onto the middle of your painting surface. Take out the pencil and have the kids draw the outer shape of their heads.

Now, start painting by filling in the entire back around around their head in black.

Once this background area is painted, it’s time for the facial details. Start with a pencil sketch and then,  paint over the pencil with paint. (Use black only) Let dry and Bravo: A Portrait in Black and White!
Happy Making!

Printable PDFs:

European A4 – Boy
European A4 – Girl