Creating an individual and group portrait, the case of Andy Warhol


The proposed activity modernizes the youths’ perception of the meaning of the portrait, placing it in the aesthetics of Pop Art and connecting it with the History of Art. It effectively uses the traditional visual art practice with material colors, just like the digital action through image processing program.


  • To understand the morphological choices of Warhol’s work.
  • To develop digital design and color processing skills – digital composition.
  • To apply the basic color rules from Warhol’s work.
  • To collaborate for the composition of individual works (portraits) in a single group portrait.
  • To learn important stations of individual and group portrait from the History of Art.

Duration: 120 min

Number of participants: 5 – 10


PC, GMIP application, camera, printer, oil pastel colors


Exercise flow:

Phase 1: Presentation of the work of Andy Warhol.

Phase 2: Digital photo editing. Experiments.

Phase 3: Painting on edited photos

Phase 4: Composition of a group portrait.

Through the projection of Warhol’s famous portraits (, we make a simple morphological analysis, focusing on the simplicity of the shapes and the decreasing intensity of the colors of his choice. Once this is understood, we explain the technique of screen printing and connect it with the history of engraving and its modern applications. Finally, we talk about the work – a commodity introduced by pop art and the connection of art through its cheap applications with the widespread consumption.

Once the participants understand the design and color peculiarity of Warhol’s portraits, we encourage them to edit their own computer using the GIMP program, applying their own technique, applying similar techniques. Specifically, we encourage them to use 4-5 schematic sections with 4 corresponding colors with decreasing color intensity. For the easier operation of students in the program environment, we prepare a presentation – user guide ( Then, in their schematically processed photo, we ask them to place quadrants of colors with decreasing color intensity and each time to “save” the result. It is advisable for each student to save at least 4 colored versions of their photo and one black and white which will be printed. 

Once we have the black and white print of the processed image, each participant is invited to paint it with oil pastels, with the colors of his choice. He already has experience from his digital color tests. It is at its discretion how to manage the spread of colors as well as the texture that will be created. Certainly the contact with the gesture will alter the absolute stylization of the PC, but this will give interest to their artistic work. The intervention in digital stylization and the utilization of the gesture is, after all, what is required and the youth worker must urge in the direction of modifying the pre-existing elements or adding new ones.

Finally, after the individual projects have been completed, we proceed to the composition of the group project.

Expected outcomes:

At the end of the activity participants will be able to:

  • Create a portrait at Warhol’s style
  • Create a portrait at Warhol’s style
  • Manage GMIP application
  • Do digital edit in picture


Pop Art and Andy Warhol

How to Use GIMP (Beginners Guide)