Draw and paint like an Egyptian
A guide to drawing and painting in the distinctive style of ancient Egypt artists.
- Examine the style of human representation in Egyptian art – in profile and front-on views.
- Create an artwork using this style.
Look at images of tomb paintings both male and female, showing the Egyptian use of perspective.
Features to note in Egyptian-style drawings of people:
- Head, legs and feet are all drawn in profile.
- Shoulders and upper body are drawn in frontal view.
- Colours are usually flat, solid block colours without any shading to show body contours or shadows.
- Colours used are usually related to those found in gemstones and natural fibre such as flax and linen.
- Hair is almost always shown as jet black in colour.
- Long narrow paper. For wall banners, tape two A3 pages together lengthwise.
- Charcoal or lead pencil for marking out the initial drawing.
- Paints in various colours, including gold.
- Black markers to outline drawing when the paint dries.
- Fold the paper into quarters.
- Section off a panel at the top and bottom for painting Egyptian patterns or hieroglyphs.
- Mark out the top of the head in the first quarter and the two feet in the last quarter. Males’ feet are apart while females’ feet are together.
- Draw shoulder outlines at about the first quarter mark and a waist on the halfway mark. Then add knees at the three quarter level.
- Add joining lines from top to bottom to fill in the outline of the human shape.
- Add in hair, which was drawn in a solid shape, curving around the ear and seen in profile. Female hair was usually longer than male hair.
- Add in clothes, usually a short tunic-style wrap for men and a long thin skirt for women.
- Draw bracelets and collars, beaded with gemstones and gold.
- Paint each area of the drawing in flat, solid colours and use black felt pen to outline the finished painting, taking special care to add heavy outlining around the eyes. For that special touch, add in dots of gold paint on jewellery and belts.
Ms Helen Wheeler , Education Project Officer