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PA State Standards:

Arts and Humanities:
9.1.A Know and use the elements and principles of each art form to create works in the arts and humanities. Visual Arts: color, form/shape, line, space, texture, value

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening:
1.6.8 F Use media for learning purposes.
Describe how the media provides information that is sometimes accurate, sometimes biased based on a point of view or by the opinion or beliefs of the presenter.
Analyze the role of advertising in the media.

Learning Objectives and Cognitive Skills:

Identify and Interpret:
Students will describe Warhol's use of design elements
Students will examine visual and written data

Students will illustrate the effects of advertising techniques
Students will relate the effects of compositional elements to advertising trends

Decision Making:
Students will apply aesthetic decisions: color line, etc.
Students will apply business decisions: style, audience, etc.

Students will predict marketability to intended audience
Students will establish criteria for successful advertising

Blotted Line Drawing:
Jump to: About the Art | POV | Discussion | Activity | Image Gallery | At a Glance

The French Look - Warhol   Andy Warhol
The French Look
, 1950s
ink on Strathmore paper
21 5/8 x 13 1/4 in. (54.9 x 33.7 cm.)
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.


About the Art:

Andy Warhol’s drawing The French Look is one of many shoe illustrations he created using a special type of line drawing known as the blotted line technique. Warhol first experimented with blotted line while still a college student at Carnegie Institute of Technology. He continued to craft this technique in his commercial work in New York City throughout the 1950s. Blotted line enabled Warhol to create a variety of illustrations along a similar theme. This type of production allowed him to bring multiple ideas to clients and increase the odds one of his drawings would be chosen for the final advertisement.

Blotted line combines drawing with very basic printmaking. Warhol began by copying a line drawing on a piece of non-absorbent paper, such as tracing paper. Next he hinged this piece of paper to a second sheet of more absorbent paper by taping their edges together on one side. With an old fountain pen, Warhol inked over a small section of the drawn lines then transferred the ink onto the second sheet by folding along the hinge and lightly pressing or “blotting” the two papers together. Larger drawings were made in sections. Completing a large blotted line drawing could take quite a bit of time and multiple pressings. The process resulted in the dotted, broken, and delicate lines that are characteristic of Warhol’s illustrations. Warhol often colored his blotted line drawings with watercolor dyes or applied gold leaf.

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Points of View:

number one“I was getting paid for it, and I did anything they told me to do. If they told me to draw a shoe, I’d do it,
and if they told me to correct it, I would - I’d do anything they told me to do, correct it and do it right.”

Andy Warhol quoted in article by G.R. Swenson, “What Is Pop Art?: Answers from 8 Painters, Part I,” Artnews 62 (November, 1963) p. 26.

number oneAnother reason why he liked it [the blotted line technique] so much [was that] by having your master drawing with which you made your blot, you could keep blotting it and redrawing it and blotting it each time and make duplicate images.

Nathan Gluck, commercial art assistant interview with Patrick S. Smith from, Andy Warhol’s Art and
, UMI Research Press, (Ann Arbor: Michigan, 1986), p. 311.

number oneIt was absolutely true that he could draw anything and very, very quickly. And so we used him a lot.

Tina S. Fredericks, art director, interview with Patrick S. Smith,
Warhol: Conversations about the Artist, UMI Research Press, (Ann Arbor: Michigan, 1988), p. 100.

number oneAndy and I began a campaign, which was unprecedented at the time. We ran full pages, half pages, every Sunday in the “New York Times.” And it was a spectacular showcase for I. Miller and for Andy as well. It expanded his audience in a way that no magazine editorial ever could have.  In a sea of tiny little images that were the pages of the Times, these bold blockbuster fantasies were extraordinarily effective. What the ads did was to revitalize and revive the I. Miller brand, and from a dowdy, musty, fusty, dusty, dowager establishment, it became a stylish emporium for debutantes.

Geraldine Stutz, art director, from an exhibition audio guide produced by Antenna audio in
collaboration with The Andy Warhol Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada

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Discussion Questions:

  1. Use adjectives to describe the lines and colors Warhol uses in his drawings.
  2. Does Warhol draw in all the details? What is left out? Why?
  3. What type of person do you think Warhol was trying to attract with these ads?
    Explain your answer.
  4. When you look at advertisements how do artists and designers manipulate images to make products seem more appealing? (Look through magazines to find examples.)

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Activity: Blotted Line


Ink pens and nibs
India ink
Dr. Martin watercolor dyes
Source images
Paper towels
Tracing paper
Arches 88/Coventry Rag paper
Clear tape
Gold leaf
Aquasize, gold leaf/Aquasize brushes
Watercolor brushes
Paint trays and containers

Project Procedure:

  1. Cut full sheets of Arches 88 or Coventry Rag paper into smaller sheets.  Cut tracing paper to corresponding sizes.
  2. Collect a range of magazine source images: models, shoes, perfume, jewelry, etc. 
  3. Select a source image then tape a piece of tracing paper on top of the image, tracing it with a pencil. Next, hinge the tracing paper with tape to the Arches 88/Coventry Rag.
  4. Opening the papers like a book, ink a small part of the traced drawing then lightly blot the ink onto the watercolor paper with fingers or the opposite end of the ink pen.  Continue to ink and blot small segments at a time until the drawing is finished.  Dr. Martin’s dyes or gold leaf can be used after the ink is dry to fill in the drawings. 
  5. When using gold leaf, apply a thin layer of Aquasize on selected areas and wait for it to become tacky before placing pieces of gold leaf on top.

If there is time, make a series of drawings from the same source image with alterations to color, decoration, and impact.

Assessment and Wrap-up:
Have students hang their drawings next to their original source material. On a separate piece of paper, ask students to identify what they chose to include and embellish and what they chose to edit out of their illustration from the original. Using a rating scale from 1-5 (5 being the highest rating), have students assess the appeal of their product illustrations. Students should write a sentence or two explaining their rating. As a class, discuss which drawings are successful, which are not, and why.

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