Pop art is a particularly striking type of visual art, often characterized by recognizable, iconic imagery and bright, bold colors. But how do you draw pop art?
Images and photos via CakeSpy
What is pop art?
To learn how to how to draw pop art, it’s good to have a little understanding about the basic idea behind it, as it makes it a little easier to get started.
Pop art is often characterized by bright, bold representations of iconic items from mass culture. Some famous examples are Andy Warhol’s Soup Cans, Roy Lichtenstein’s simplistic, cartoon-like paintings, and Claes Oldenberg‘s super-sized sculptures of common objects.
When presented in a fine art setting, the line between what is “high culture” and what is common and everyday becomes blurred. It’s not only a chance to take pause and notice our surroundings, but Andy Warhol also observed common items such as Coca-Cola or Campbell’s soup act as an equalizer: both glamorous, famous people and regular, non-celebrities ultimately consume the same products. By celebrating these common items, it’s possible to add glamour and art to our everyday lives.
So to begin to draw pop art, begin to wonder: How can I celebrate an everyday object in a bright and bold way?
An easy way to get started with drawing pop art is with words
Drawing words in a pop art style is an easy way to get the hang of things. Here’s how you do it.
Draw a word in block or bubble type. In this instance, a very appropriate “pop!” was used. Create a bold shape around the word. In this case, it is a sort of uneven starburst, but you could use a cloud or another shape if you preferred.
Using your desired medium, color the word in a bold color (primary colors work well). Alternately, you could fill the letters in with black ink or with pencil shading.
In the background behind your text bubble, fill in the space with a simple pattern. It could be dots, small stars, stripes, chevrons. Use a color that is equally bright as your words but in a contrasting color. Or, divide the space into a couple of patterns, as was done in the example.
See how easy that was? Basically, all you’ve done here is reduce your imagery (in this case letters) to a simplistic form, and made it “pop” using either color or pattern or both. Now that you’ve got the hang of it, you can expand your pop art experimentation to imagery.
Expand your pop art drawing with images
Choose a common object. Draw it in a very simple, linear format, using thick ink. You want the image to “pop,” so a very fine line won’t do in this case. A Sharpie pen was used to draw these simple jars. In this case, a jar of jam.
From here, you can choose your own adventure in terms of filling out the imagery with line, color and/or pattern. There are four approaches here:
A. Try it in black and white!
Even without color, an image can still pop. In this case, filling the jar in black ink, and then utilizing different bold patterns to fill in the negative space, creates a bold, eye-catching image. This is actually very similar to the approach in the above lettering example, but done without color.
B. Color your image in bold, super-saturated colors.
You can create pop art as simply as coloring in your image with bold colors. They can be realistic color choices to what you are drawing, but be sure to choose super-saturated, technicolor versions of the colors. Or, they can be colors that you choose, for a bit of a twist on reality. In this case, the drawing was colored using paint markers, which often have extremely vibrant colors.
C. Take a primary color pattern approach
Inspired by Roy Lichtenstein, you can fill in your image with primary colors, using a combination of blocks of color and patterns to tint your image. This is exactly the same approach as featured in the lettering example above. This can be done with traditional drawing media or with paint.
D. Play with line
Inspired by Andy Warhol, this simple image features a mirror image of the jam jar in bright pink and in blue, each slightly off-center. It has a look that recalls either slightly off-register printing or a 3-D image viewed without glasses on. By repeating the simple imagery, the lines gain a different meaning and a new look.