Copy Famous Paintings – Pablo Picasso


What is it?

Painting Child with a Dove, 1901 by Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso

How was it done?

Picasso painted this picture quickly with a few strong lines and bright spots of colour.  The forms are rendered in simple sweeping lines, there are three tones, light, mid and dark with greenish tones dominating.  The colours are subdued and controlled by swoops of line.  The picture is thickly painted with superfluous details left out.

This painting was done at the commencement of Picasso’s blue period when he painted in blue and green monochromatic colours only.

Why should we care?

The painting gives us an insight into the personality of Picasso at 21 when the portrait was done.  It shows his thoughtfulness and poetic sympathy with the subject.  At the time, Picasso was facing difficult years without a studio and he struggled to survive and sell his paintings. This was reflected in Picasso’s paintings of poverty and instability done around this time.  In the blue period, he often painted the desolation of social outsiders, prisoners, beggars, circus folk and despairing people.

Where can I find more paintings like this?

Picasso was influenced by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and this can be seen in the portrait of Monsieur Boileau done in 1893.  Edgar Degas was another influence and his 1895 portrait of the Seated Woman reflects this.

Meditate, relax and enjoy

There can be no mistakes in making this painting.  Everything ends up as it should be.  Take the luxury of “time out” to recreate this fabulous painting in acrylics yourself, here’s how:

You will need

  • a small canvas, 30cm x 40cm is a good size
  • tubes of primary acrylic colours, blue, red and yellow plus white
  • a dark watercolour crayon
  • soft nylon paint brushes, (small, medium and a little larger)
  • water in an old container
  • a rag or disposable cloth
  • an hour or two

Tips on the Process

  • prime the canvas first, otherwise, just a wash and dry with a towel
  • print the photo you want to work from, measure and cut into quarters to make your drawing in a grid
  • turn the original photo upside down to make the drawing
  • use a dark coloured water colour crayon for your drawing
  • correct drawing right-side up from the original
  • erase crayon easily with a damp cloth
  • it is okay for the watercolour crayon mark to bleed into the painting
  • everything is easily painted over with acrylics
  • paint in the background first
  • try not to use paint directly from the tube; experiment with how to mix colours
  • create a perfect skin tone by blending warm yellow, warm red, a dot of cool blue and lots of white, experiment first
  • layering colours on top of others using the scumbling technique creates magic
  • acrylics dry darker than the mixed colour

The Drawing Process

Turn your photo upside down and draw the space around the drawing first.  This is just a framework to place the figure on the page and you can easily correct right-side up with the dampened cloth as I have done below.

Otherwise, you may use my drawing below.  I suggest you ask your copy shop to print the PDF below onto a canvas and proceed to make your own unique painting.  Otherwise, you can print the copy on to good quality paper, paint the picture and frame it.  It’s your painting after all!

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Image from accessed 18/08/2016


Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“A problem properly defined is half solved.  Understanding what I am asking often reveals much of the answer.”  Unknown

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“I imagine a world in which there’s one state and it’s called Earth and we’re all on it. People who are refugees are given free passage to move to other places. That’s the kind of world I’m imagining: cosmopolitan, in the sense that we’re all citizens of the universe, citizens of the world.” Micah White


How to Make an easy Mono-Print or Trace Mono-Type

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This easy exercise will take about 15 minutes preparation and 30 minutes in execution but the results will be well worth it.  Oh, if forgot, you may need 10 minutes or so to clean up.

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of good quality paper, whatever size you choose. It is probably best to do a practice run first.
  • A piece of craft paper or soft cardboard to suit the paper size.
  • A flat piece of plastic board (not too thin) to suit the paper size or larger.  I purchased one at a junk shop.
  • A clean piece of board, Masonite or similar.  Artists boards are available at art or hardware shops at a reasonable price or you may have one around the house.
  • A brayer or roller suitable for mono-printing.  I purchased one cheaply from an art shop.
  • A jar of mono printing ink, choose your own colour, black is the most popular.  Inks are available at art shops.
  • An old plastic teaspoon.
  • Clean rags, gloves, mask (optional.)

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Firstly, place small amounts of the mono-printing ink here and there on the board with a plastic teaspoon.  Take no notice of the text written on my board, it won’t come off!

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Next, roll the ink onto the board until it coats thinly.  If the ink coats too thickly the mono-print will have to be done several times to get a good print which can be fun.  Thick ink will produce blobs of ink here and there.  This is my ink-coated plate.

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Next, I placed an item of clothing on to the plate.  You can use anything you like, string, rubber gloves, the sole of an old shoe, a piece of old mesh, anything that has grooves to make a textured mark.

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Then I placed the sheet of  craft paper down over the play suit and rubbed the paper over firmly and evenly so as to gently press the play suit against the ink.  Allow the work to rest while you prepare another piece of paper by laying it onto either a table (not in the dining room!) or a clean artists’ board.  This is in readiness for the ink-soaked item to be placed on the clean page.

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Once I had evenly and firmly pressed the entire top sheet of paper I removed it to again reveal the item of clothing.  Gently and carefully I lifted the play suit off the plate and placed it face down on to the clean sheet of paper I had earlier prepared on the board.

I then placed an old piece of craft paper on top and rubbed the work over again as previously.

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I then gently rolled it over with the rolling pin to get an even print.

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Then this was the exciting part, I lifted the craft paper off and then lifted the play suit off the plate to reveal what was underneath.

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I ended up with a lovely print and you can see the complete image at the top of the page.

Here are some pictures of other mono-prints done in my days at art school using junk I found from a recycling shop.  I used the same method as above and later went in with some watercolours when the ink was dry.

Good luck with your mono prints but a word of warning, this process is addictive because of its unpredictability and the amazing, surprising effects you can get.

After Kandinsky Arbeiter Communication Breakdown

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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The private property aspect of creativity must be destroyed, all are creators and there is no reason of any sort for this division into artists and non-artists.” El Lissitzky