Painting with 5 Grayscale Values

Grid drawing self-portrait

5Value_GrayscalePaintIntro  demos:  step by step in Acrylic   Lesson with pop icons

Preview of “How to Paint a Portrait in Oil – Part 1” Black and white Portrait in Oil – Part 2”   Lesson for “grisaille”

zorn monochromatic

Prof Robson’s (monochromatic underpainting) in oil


The student will be inspired to paint their own “selfie” portraits. Each student will take their own digital photo to start keeping it compositionally interesting.

The students will use photoshop on my computer to change their photo to b&w, crop it in a pleasing or interesting way, and then use the “Posterize” filter to reduce their photo to about 5  values (which refers to the lightness or darkness of a color or tone). At this point, their photo looked something like this:


Students will draw using grid method (the one used in the ppt.) over their photos and a an identical inch grid over their canvas/illustration board and draw their image. Students will be encouraged to focus on the different shapes created by the values and to draw what they see in each individual box, without worrying about the big picture. The last step was is to paint each value, starting with the lightest. The students will use a monochromatic color scheme (meaning derived from a single base hue, and extended using its shades, tones and tints (that is, a hue modified by the addition of black, gray (black + white) and white) to paint the values.