Subtractive Portrait

Students created portraits of their loved ones with a subtractive process focusing on value as a part of a 10-week Saturday Art School program

Continuing the discussion about value, students created a portrait of a loved one by using a subtractive process of drawing. Students started with a paper covered in charcoal. Using kneaded erasers, students slowly subtracted higher values in order to draw the portrait based on a black and white image. Again considering the value in the image, students build the portrait by taking away the lightest lights with the eraser and then later adding in the darks with charcoal. Students are not concerned with the lines in the face, but simply highlights and shadows. At the start of the class, students created self-portraits with this process in short poses. Afterward, students did one long pose of their loved ones. During this lesson, students understood that using a subtractive process, a portrait with value can emerge through careful observation and looking at highlights and shadows.

Student Work


 © 2019 by Danielle  White

  • Grey Pinterest Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon