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Black History Artist: W. H. Johnson

Make your black history art projects about more than just coloring in someone else’s drawing. Have your students learn to draw people like W.H. Johnson did.

William H. Johnson was a very talented painter whose work, sadly only came to be admired after he had passed away. He had a way of drawing people with a simplicity that is easy for young artists to follow. The look is very flat and colorful, so there’s no need to try to make anything look dimensional. The hands of are also consistently large so they all look very strong, which I’m sure was intentional.


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Time needed: 1 hour.

Draw like the artist William H. Johnson

  1. WOMAN: Draw the head and neck.

  2. Fill in the face and hair.

  3. Start the shoulders.

  4. Add arms and large hands below.

  5. Draw a simple background.

  6. Trace and color with markers.

  7. MAN: Start the head and neck.

  8. Fill in the features. Add a hat.

  9. Draw the shoulders and arms.

  10. Finish the pants. Add buttons.

  11. Draw a simple background.

  12. Trace and color with markers.

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