Andy Warhol Color Theory Animals

 Units:  Color theory - painting - Science (Endangered species)
Lesson:  tempera painting
Grade level: Elementary (I did this with 4th grade)

Andy Warhol Endangered Species print set - images of Andy Warhol's other works of art
Book: Uncle Andy’s: A Faabbbulous Visit With Uncle Andy by James Warhola
Photographs of animals, 8 1/2" x 11" card stock or paper (either white or colored), pencil, eraser, black marker, tempera paint, color theory handouts (vocabulary sheets ) vocab answer sheets
Watch the video “Getting to Know: Color in Art”
Play Greg Percy's "Pop Andy" available on Songs In The Key of Art, Volume 4
1.     Discuss color theory basics and principles. View the video “Getting to Know: Color in Art”, which is broken up in to several segments describing color basics, such as: primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary (intermediate) colors, warm & cool colors, analogous, complementary, and monochromatic.
2.     Hand out color theory vocabulary sheets and have students fill in definitions as they watch the videos.
3.     The students will choose four of these schemes to use in their paintings.
4.     Read the book “Uncle Andy’s,” which describes Warhol through the eyes of his nephew.
5.     View artwork of Andy Warhol, focusing on his endangered species series.
6.     Demonstrate/review contour drawing – explain how to simplify animals to their basic shapes
7.     Hand out paper and have students choose an animal to draw.
8.     Trace the contour drawings of the animals with black marker, but do not color them!
9.     The teacher then photocopies these drawings so that the students have 4 copies each.
*Note: to save some time in painting, photocopy them on 4 different colors of paper.
10.  Students use their chosen color theories to paint in their animal drawings using tempera.
*Note: this is a great time to introduce color mixing, rather than have the colors already available.
11.  When the paintings are dry, re-outline them in black.
12.  Glue all four paintings to a poster board to give the look of Pop Art.
13.  Have students label their paintings on the back to tell which color schemes they used on each.

          Click on the photos to enlarge.



  1. Mrs. Picasso,

    I really admire your lesson plan! It is concise, gives a wide variety of resources you used and the student examples show how successful the lesson was. I appreciate art teachers like yourself, who post really great ideas that you generously share. Kudos to you!


  2. Thanks for sharing all your resources. I love the idea of filling out a vocab sheet during the movie (and I own the movie!). These look great, and so does your Christmas version of the project.


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