Picasso Artist Study

Picasso Artist Study

Pablo Picasso is an interesting artist study to do because he is so unusual. Add that to the fact that he was alive within the last half century and you have a perfect recipe for success. At least, that is what I thought when we began this artist study. It took us a year and a half to complete and was not without its problems.

Picasso Artist Study Resources

There are many books out there, but for a nine and twelve year old, these were perfect. I can not recommend Laurence Anholt highly enough! He brings the art of whichever artist he is writing about alive. His book on Picasso demonstrates Picasso’s process beautifully. In fact, it was this book which gave me ideas for how to proceed with this study.

Picasso’s Artistic Process

The first thing Picasso did was to have a live model pose for him. From this he may have made sketches or taken photos, for use later on. This was our starting point.


Becca sat for some portraits:

We had her seated in different positions. Becs did not love this part of the study. She is an artist through and through and wanted to do art not modelling!


Looking at the photos of Becca modelling, the girls attempted to draw. They really tried to capture the essence of Picasso. I think they did this particularly well. Unfortunately, Becca is her own worse critic, did not like how she had done. In fact, I noticed that she wasn’t really enjoying this Picasso artist study at all, which was very unusual.


Next, Picasso would make a model out of junk or clay. This helped him to visualise the shapes rather than the pictorial quality of the portrait. From this he would begin his painting cubism style.

I had been collecting lots of junk for just such an occasion as this. The girls were pretty excited about this stage of the proceedings! Becs enthusiasm returned and they both made excellent models based on the photos of Becca:

At this point, Picasso would sketch his model into a cubist type drawing, by that I mean it would be made up of primarily shapes which together gave the idea of what he was drawing rather than being naturalistic. From this he would work at recreating the image in an even more abstract way, distorting features so that the final painting looked unrecognisable to the original photograph or pencil sketch.

Unfortunately, it was at this point the girls lost interest.


Which was a shame because I had some cracking ideas for what they were going to do next.

What to do if a Picasso Artist Study goes Belly Up

Yes, at this point I could not interest the girls in any more Picasso related artist study. This was going to be my least successful one yet…

I do think Picasso’s art is a bit odd, even for an adult. So I decided to leave it for a while and perhaps pick it up when the girls were a bit older.

Sure enough, six months later, Becs began asking me about his art, reading some of the books I had bought…

By this time, excited by her progress learning about and recreating Van Gogh’s art, I had learnt that with Becca simple is best. So I had her choose a picture of Picasso and she copied it:

Picasso artist study

She blew me away!

Picasso Artist study

She really enjoyed it, and was fairly pleased by her results. So she chose another one:

Picasso artist study

I do want to point out that she drew these herself too:

Picasso artist study

This was her least favourite one to do, but she is so self-critical, I always just try to reassure her that the learning is in the process not necessarily the final piece. That said, I still think she did a great job!

Picasso artist study
Picasso artist study

I was really happy with her work, especially as we had chosen to stop half way through the study because the girls didn’t want to continue. I’m pleased that Becs came back to it, and with such aplomb!

For more ideas to create your own artist study visit the HarleyArt blog

We have done so many artist studies in our little homeschool. Most of them are accessible through the categories section to the right, or you can peruse my art lessons in my Art Page. I am currently adding artist studies as I am updating my posts, so not all of them are up yet. But there are a few to get you started!

1 comment

  1. Too bad the study didn’t go as planned; however waiting until she was ready and self- motivated made all the difference. She did fantastic copying his works!

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