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color scheme painting

grid drawing
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by JuliannaKunstler.com

In a nutshell:

1. Pick a reference image from the library below. Consider complexity of the shapes and you personal preferences - it is more fun to draw and paint what you like :)).

2. Let me know your choice. I will print it out.

3. Draw a grid on an illustration board and copy the photograph.

4. Choose a color scheme (use worksheet)

5. Label each shape with a color/value that you are going to use.

6. Mix paint and start painting starting with the lightest color.

WI State Standards:

  • AA Cr10h
    Investigate: Engage in critical thinking, problem solving, and research through elements and principles of art and design studio practices and processes. (aesthetics / problem solving)
  • AA Cr11h
    Plan: Formulate original concepts by practice, experimentation, and revision. (planning/experimentation)
  • Cr12h
    Make: Create works of art that introduce students to media, care of tools, and basic craftsmanship skills. (skills)

Learning targets:

  • understanding color schemes
  • understanding and matching color values: Value review
  • grid drawing skill
  • planning and problem solving
  • color theory: color mixing
  • vocabulary: hue, shade, tone, and tint
  • use of flat and round brushes
  • painting techniques and skill development
  • control of tools/media
  • color scheme and value accuracy

reference images:

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step 1: grid drawing


Draw a grid on a 10"x15" illustration board:

  • Start with a 1" border
  • mark every 1" around the perimeter
  • connect the marks. You will get a 8x13 grid.


Do not apply pressure to your pencil while drawing the lines.

Pencil's weight alone will produce enough pressure for the line.

The lines should be very thin and light.

Lightly draw your photo image onto the board.

Work with one row at a time.

grid drawing
grid drawing

Carefully draw all different shapes. Details are extremely important.

As you draw, you may "smooth out" the edges of any jagged shapes on the skin as you draw them.

The hair might have jagged shapes. Leave the hair shapes jagged as a contrast to the smooth shadow shapes on the skin.

Take your time with this drawing step.

The more accurate your drawing is, the more successful your painting will be.

Draw in all details!

Erase the grid lines completely before the painting steps.

step 2: choosing colors

Choose a color scheme.

Use the link to help you select colors:

Break colors into a value range from the lightest to the darkest.

Complete the worksheet:

Your photo is made up of 4-6 different values.

Analyze your photo and count all values. This step is important!! You can number them directly on the reference image.

Then select a color scheme.

Mark your color scheme on the worksheet.

Premix all colors before you start painting.

They should be of obvious different values.

The lightest value should be the lightest possible tint - add your color to White, not the other way around.

Also have some amount of black and white paint - based on your image.

Try your colors on the worksheet.

If you need to adjust a color or two - time to do it now, before you paint your project.

Label your paint cups.

Make sure you mix enough paint.

Color choice examples:


monochromatic color scheme

Different values of one color


analogous color scheme

Colors that are next to each other on the Color Wheel


complementary color scheme

Colors that are opposite on the Color Wheel


complementary color scheme

Colors that are opposite on the Color Wheel


Colors that are spaced by 1, 2, or 3 colors on the Color Wheel:

triadic color scheme

split 1 color

triadic color scheme

split 2 colors

triadic color scheme

split 3 colors


tetradic color scheme


square color scheme


step 3: painting

color scheme painting

1. Paint lightest value - we start with the lightest value as this is a more efficient way to do so for this particular project - because you already have your colors pre-mixed.

It is easier to overlap light areas with darker paint than the other way around.

Use your #1 premixed paint.

Paint in all shapes that are the lightest value in your reference photo.

color scheme painting

2. Paint #2 (medium-light value)

color scheme painting

3. Paint #3 (medium-dark value)

color scheme painting

4. Paint #4 (dark value)

5. Continue painting to fill in all shapes.

WI standards Grading Rubric
standard no evidence beginning emerging proficient advanced


aesthetics / problem solving

(color mixing, color scheme choices, values)

Work is not complete and/or does not show the process from specified instructions or there is no evidence.

Student does not understand how to mix colors and to achieve the desired hue;

Color scheme is not accurate

Color values are not evident.

Student attempts to mix proper colors, but some colors are off or missing;

Color values are not accurate

All colors are mixed correctly,

Color values are accurate.

Artwork is interesting, detailed, shows understanding of proper color mixing and application,

Color scheme is interesting,


planning / experimentation

(drawing shapes using grid method, accuracy, value spots)

Work is not complete and/or does not show the process from specified instructions or there is no evidence or is missing

Initial drawing is sloppy and inaccurate.

Drawing does not represent all shapes and value spots

Drawing is detailed.

All shapes are placed properly


Careful planning,

Drawing is very detailed and flawless



(painting technique, craftsmanship)

Work is not complete and/or does not show the process from specified instructions or there is no evidence or is missing

Painting is sloppy, not carefully placed within the outlines,

Some areas are not painted

Painting technique needs improvement..

Painting technique is good, paint stays within the lines, small brush strokes, paint is not watered down or bulky

Craftsmanship is good

Beautiful craftsmanship;

Painting is flawless

Attention to details