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Computer Graphics Lesson Plan with Pop Art


The Warhol Project: A Gimp Tutorial

I have created this project for my 8th grade yearbook class, but it would be suitable for anyone studying pop art, Andy Warhol or computer graphics.

Gimp is a free, open-source bitmap based computer graphics program. It is comparable to Photoshop, and an excellent way for kids to get their feet wet in computer graphics!

The image of Andy Warhol is attributed to Jack Mitchell.


Pop What?

First of all. You must explain what Pop Art was. It was an art movement from the 50s. The 'Pop' is Pop Art is short for 'popular culture.' The movement is recognized by the use of 'popular' images in the artworks. These images included commercial images, advertising, and comic book styles. Sometimes the point of the art was in the artwork itself, but most of the time the point was the CONCEPT behind it. What was the piece of art trying to say?

Examples explain it best.

"Just What Is It that Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing?": (1956) This example contains nudity. Note the irony in this work Erm... Canned Ham, vacuums that reach great distances, and a lampshade hat? Certainly not appealing. Even the title sounds like it came from an ad... that is the point.

Campbell's Soup: (1969) Then Warhol silkscreens the Campbell's Soup can and calls it art. Hmmm...

Marilyn: Then he makes silkscreens of Marilyn, over and over. What does this mean? Was she not a commodity? A mass-produced star?

1. Choose a Photo

First, show your students an image (or images) of Warhol's portraits of Marilyn or Elvis. This is the look we are going to create with a photograph of their choice. They could use this as a self-portrait project, or take a page out of Warhol's book and do a contemporary pop icon, such as Justin Bieber.

I have selected the image of Andy Warhol with his dog.

2. Bring Photo into Gimp


1. Open Gimp.

2. File>New. Under 'Template,' choose US Letter, portrait. Your final image may be a different size, but this will get you started.

3. File>Open As Layers... Your image.

4. Scale your image so that it fits about 1/9th of the page. You will be making three rows of three, so make the picture approximately the correct size for doing that.

3. Duplicate the Layers


1.Click on the layer with your image on it.

2. Press Ctrl+Shift+D to duplicate the layer. Duplicate it 8 times.

Scroll to Continue

3. Move each layer to a different position to create three rows of three.

4. Changing Canvas Size


I have a problem here. I have placed my image 9 times, and the right side is cut-off, and the bottom has empty space.

You need to change the canvas size.

Go to Image>Canvas Size and add an inch to the width.

5. Crop your Image


Use the crop tool (circled in red) to draw a box around the part of your picture that you want to keep.

6. Use Threshold - This will make your image black and white


1. Click on one of your layers.

2. Go to Colors>Threshold.

3. Move the little black arrow back and forth to get the best clarity for your image. Take note of what the numbers are under the arrow, so you can do the exactly the same amount of threshold for each layer.

4. Click OK when you are satisfied.

7. Color the black parts.


1. Select>By Color...

2. Click on a black area. This will select everything black on this layer.

3. Click on the foreground color and choose a BRIGHT (but dark hued) color.

4. Edit>Fill with FG Color.

5. This will turn everything that was black into your bright color.


8. Color the white parts.


1. Select>By Color...

2. Click on a white area.

3. Click on the foreground color and choose a bright color, but with a lighter hue.

4. Edit>Fill with FG Color.

Keep Coloring!

Keep clicking on the different layers and following steps 6-8 until you have colored in all the images.

Here is the finished project.


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