- Choose an obituary from a newspaper.
- Create a portrait that shows who the person in the obituary is, beyond a description of their physical appearance.
- The New York Times
- Overlooked, The New York Times
- The Washington Post
- The Times
- The Los Angeles Times
- The Wall Street Journal
This prompt challenges you to create a portrait that is much more than a visual description of their physical appearance. People are more than just what their faces look like!
- Imagine that you didn’t know anything about this person and saw an artwork of them. How would you show visually who this person was, what they did during their lifetime?
- “Test” your artwork on a friend, can they figure out from only looking at your artwork, what this person is known for?
- The portrait does not have to be a realistic depiction of the person in the obituary, it can be as surreal as you want!
- Distort, exaggerate, and transform the portrait.
- Be aggressive with your brainstorming, don’t stop prematurely and settle for less!
- Thumbnails will be especially helpful to plan out the various aspects of this person’s life you want to represent.
- Try to get past the most literal, cliché version of your person.
- Put that cliché down on paper, then eliminate it!
Use any art media.
DIGITAL SOFTWARE OPTIONS
Brainstorming Demo for Artists: Obituary Portraits
This video is a demo which shows approaches to brainstorming as an artist. How do you start with an idea and develop it into a viable piece of artwork?
Using a prompt to illustrate an newspaper obituary, several brainstorming exercises are shown, including drawing mind maps, how to research topics, search for reference photos, drawing thumbnail sketches, and more.
A New York Times obituary for Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar is used for this prompt. Demo led by Art Prof Clara Lieu.
Creating mood boards is a fun, exciting way to gather visual inspiration for your projects. This video explores Jordan’s mood boards, created for the character designs in the series Shadow Boxers.
Jordan explains his process: using Pinterest to organize the images, developing the stories behind the characters, and ultimately to the final character design.
- Submit your track artworks here.
- We’ll feature your artwork in a live stream!
- We’ll add you to our student galleries.
As a free educational source, Art Prof uses Amazon affiliate links (found in this page) to help pay the bills. This means, Art Prof earns from qualifying purchases.