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Black History Artist: Easy How to Draw like W. H. Johnson Tutorial and W.H. Johnson Coloring Page

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.

Johnson man drawing
Johnson woman drawing

William H. Johnson was a very talented painter whose work, sadly only came to be known after he had passed away. He had a way of drawing people with a simplicity that many have come to deeply admire.

Drawing in the style of Mr. Johnson is a great way for young artists to try out his ideas. All of his paintings were very flat and colorful, which make them easy to imitate. There’s no need think about perspective, and all the shapes like trees and fences are reduced to just flat versions of themselves.

Teachers might also point out that the hands of the men and the women were consistently large in all Mr. Johnson’s work. It probably was to portray the strength that he saw in them.

This tutorial is designed to help students draw either a man, or a woman, or both, in William H. Johnson’s style. In doing so, they can have a deeper appreciation for his work and maybe adapt some of his ideas to their own art as well.

Use the Button below to Download a PDF Tutorial

Johnson Man Coloring Page

Johnson Woman Coloring Page

FOLLOW UP PROJECT

Now it’s easy to make a classroom mural to celebrate the creative work of artist William H. Johnson.

All you need to do is purchase my William H. Johnson template from my PDF Shop, have each student color a page, and then tape or glue it back together according to included directions.

It makes a special work of art for your classroom, and because everyone takes part, a collaborative experience as well.

Materials for How to Draw like W.H. Johnson

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  • Drawing Paper. Don’t substitute it with copy paper or construction paper. The surface will get fuzzy, erasing might cause holes, and the colors will generally not look as bright.
  • Pencil. The Ticonderoga brand are the most reliable, make nice dark lines when you need them, and are the easiest to erase.
  • Eraser. Large ones you can hold in your hand do a much better job than just the pencil tips.Stabilo Markers. They have the best colors, the best tips, and last the longest.
  • Black Sharpie Marker. These fine point permanent markers make nice black lines, have a good tip for coloring, and never bleed when they get wet. Use them in areas with good ventilation and add extra paper underneath for table protection.
  • Stabilo Markers. The large pack provides lots of fun color choices, several shades of each color, including a few choices for skin. The tips are perfect for coloring, and there’s even a promise that they will work after being uncapped for 8 weeks!

Step by step Directions for How to Draw like W.H. Johnson

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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