julianna kunstler logo
color scheme painting

grid drawing

by JuliannaKunstler.com


color scheme painting


Choose a color scheme.

Break colors into a value range: the darkest shade, medium-dark, medium light, and the lightest tint

For example:


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

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

step 2: 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 on 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 3: painting

color wheel

Your photo is made up of 4-5 different values.

You are going to use 4-5 hues in the painting. Analyze your photo and count all values.

Then select a color scheme.

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.





triadic 1

triadic (split 1)

triadic 2

triadic (split 2)

triadic 3

triadic (split 3)

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 paricular project - necause you already have your colors pre-mixed. It is easier to overlap light areas with darker paint than the other way around.

Use one very light tint of a hue of your choice.

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

color scheme painting

2. Paint medium-light value

Remember to reference your color scheme when selecting a light tone.

It should be darker that the first color.

color scheme painting

3. Paint medium-dark value:

The paint should be a darker tone than the previous one.

color scheme painting

4. Paint the darkest value:

Use a dark shade of a color and complete painting the portrait.

grading criteria:

  • accurate/consistent line drawing
  • control to tools/media
  • overall presentation, neatness, craftsmanship
  • color scheme accuracy
  • value accuracy
  • shape accuracy, details