Mona Lisa Assignment

Click on the picture below to download a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" for your assignment. Remember to ENLARGE the image before downloading it to your desktop...hover over the image with your cursor until a magnifying glass with a + sign appears, click on it to enlarge, and then drag the ENLARGED image onto your desktop.

If you do not do this, you will have to restart your entire assignment, so make sure to do this.

Click here to download the Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa Drawing is actually a TWO PART assignment. First, you need to make a contour drawing (black and white…like a coloring book page) of the painting, THEN you need to color/shade/fill in that contour drawing. Use this assignment sheet as a checklist. Check off numbers as you complete each task. Remember to READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS!


  1. First, you will make a contour drawing with no background (black drawing on white background), which can be created by using A NEW LAYER over the Mona Lisa picture.  To create a new layer, you can either click on the little folded over tab in the layers menu next to the little trashcan OR you can go to LAYER-NEW-LAYER.

2.  If you can't see the layers window, simply click on Window and make sure Layers is checked.

You’ll want to unlock the background pretty much every time you work in Photoshop. To do this, just double click on the locked layer and click OK on the New Layer prompt that appears. Your “background” layer will become “Layer 0.”

4.  Once you begin working on your drawing you'll want to make sure that you are ON that new layer (the layer you are on will be highlighted in blue):

and begin your “tracing” by using the brush tool  and using the 3 px size and a SOLID color brush (see highlighted brush below)

 INK! (Select colors using the two squares on the very bottom of your toolbar (far right).

Check and double-check that you are actually using another layer, or you’ll end up having to do everything again! You can click on the little eye on each layer to make that layer visible or invisible.

4. Remember to connect all lines as any open spaces (no matter how tiny) will make filling your drawing with color much more difficult.

5. Make sure to include all features…eyes, nose, mouth, and other facial features, but also hands, folds in clothes, hair, etc. Some parts are harder to see than others. You can zoom in or out by using the VIEW menu, or you can simply use the keyboard controls: COMMAND + to zoom in and COMMAND – to zoom out. Don’t forget to draw/add a super cool background!

6. Once you’ve done your contour drawing in another layer, you can check that layer every now and then (by itself) to see if there are lines missing, etc. When it’s definitely complete
, you can DELETE THE LAYER 0f LAYER/MONA LISA LAYER by highlighting that layer and clicking on the little trash can in the bottom right of the layer window. Make SURE you are deleting the correct layer.


8. Open your saved contour drawing (coloring book page) and begin coloring it either with the brush tool (by hand) or by using new fill layers (LAYER – NEW FILL LAYER – SOLID, GRADIENT, or PATTERN) and use the magic wand
and/or the lasso tool

to select specific areas to shade, fill, etc.

When shading
, remember, you can adjust the OPACITY of a color by using the Opacity option on the top menu. This is very useful for shading and blending. Lower opacity = more transparent.We will go over this in class.

9. Make sure to SAVE AS (not just SAVE) and rename the colored version a different name than the original contour drawing.

10. We will go through the process of saving and printing final drafts of files together, but know that you will  be saving final copies as .JPG

Examples of both contour and colored images:


Beulah Forrest,
Feb 1, 2011, 10:28 AM