PORTRAIT OF A PET – Colour, Texture, Space and Contrast

Students work from a photograph and use a grid to help them paint an expressive portrait of a pet.

Share this:
PORTRAIT OF A PET – Colour, Texture, Space and Contrast


  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Tempera Paint
  • Crayola Paint Brushes
  • Masking Tape
  • Photograph of a Pet
  • Pencils
  • Rulers
  • Plastic Placemats


Step 1
  1. Tape your paper to a plastic mat.
    - This will keep the paper smooth and flat while you work.
    - When the tape is removed it will create a white border around the painting.
  2. Draw a horizontal line to divide the paper in half.
  3. Draw a vertical line to divide the paper into 4 quarters.
Step 2
  1. Use 2 'L' shaped pieces of card as a viewfinder.
  2. Place them on the photograph to crop the picture.
  3. Move the viewfinder around until you are happy with the composition of the picture.
  4. Make sure your cropped photograph is roughly the same shape and proportions as your painting paper.
  5. This is the picture you will be painting.
  6. When you are happy with the placement of the viewfinder tape it in place.
Step 3
  1. Divide the photograph into 4 quarters to match the painting paper.
  2. Use this grid to help you draw your animal.
  3. Start in one of the boxes.
    - Look at where the outer edge of the animal begins and ends.
    - Outline the same edge in the matching box on your painting paper.
    - You are using a big grid to help you see the space.
    - Don't worry if it is not perfect.
    - For this painting you just need to block in the main objects to get you started.
Step 4
  1. Begin painting in areas of colour.
  2. The photograph is just a way to get started.
  3. Don't be afraid to add effects that are not in the photograph.
  4. Let your imagination guide you.
Step 5
  1. Build up colour and texture.
  2. Work with areas of contrast to make the animal stand out in the space.
  3. From time to time stop and look at the painting from a distance to see it with fresh eyes.
  4. When you are satisfied with your work and the paint is dry gently remove the tape.
Step 6
  1. View your painting with fresh eyes.
    - What do you notice?
    - How many textures do you see?
    - Where do you see contrast?
    - What do you like best about your painting? Why?
    - Who would love this painting? Why?
Illustrated Crayon Character