Imagine a Person

Imagine a Person - Body

Create a figural artwork inspired by contemporary artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye!

A portrait is a picture of a person. A self-portrait is a picture of yourself. British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye creates paintings that look like portraits. However, they are not portraits at all. The artist uses her imagination to paint people who look real but do not exist in real life. Even though many of her paintings are very large, she usually finishes them in one day. Check out her paintings here.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Harp-Strum, 2016. Oil on canvas, diptych: 71 x 79 in. each. © Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Courtesy of the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and Corvi-Mora, London

Time to make your own figural artwork!


  • A piece of paper
  • Art materials (crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint, etc.)
  • Newspapers, magazines, images of people


1. Look through newspapers and magazines. What catches your eye about the people in the images? Their facial expressions? Their clothing? Their poses?

2. Now it’s time for you to create a figure inspired by what you discovered. While Lynette Yiadom-Boakye spends a day making her painting, you are challenged to make one in one hour.

3. Use whatever art-making materials you prefer to create your figural artwork. You can draw the images or cut and paste from magazines or newspapers. It’s up to you!


1. What inspired your piece?

2. What was it like making your figure in only one hour? Did you feel rushed? Was it too much time? Would you have preferred to spend an entire day like the artist did?

3. Did you have a favorite painting in the video? If so, why is it your favorite?