Enjoy designing your own Pride Flag with illustrator Harry Woodgate to celebrate LGBT+ History Month.

The rainbow Pride flag is one of the most ubiquitous symbols of the LGBT community and LGBT rights movements across the world, but did you know that each of the colours in its design has a distinct meaning?

In this activity, explore the history of the Pride flag and have a go at designing your own as part of a collaborative art project, either from scratch or clicking on the template below if you need a helping hand to get started. Here's Harry to tell you more about it.

How to design your own Pride Flag – by Harry Woodgate

Materials:

  • Designs by hand: coloured pens, pencils or watercolour/acrylic/gouache paints, plus some paper
  • Digital designs: a graphics tablet or iPad with digital drawing software, colour swatches and templates (below)

Getting started:

To inspire your design - think about the words linked to the flag colours: life, healing, sunlight, nature, harmony/serenity, and spirit, as well as diversity and intersectionality for the newer version of the Pride flag (more about the Pride Flag below).

What sort of meanings do they hold for you?
How do they make you feel?
Are there any experiences you have had that are expressions of those words?

If you are part of the LGBT community, maybe there’s a time you felt pride in your identity, or experienced the harmony of belonging within a group of like-minded queer folk. Maybe it is the feeling of life and spirit you felt the first time you went to a gay club or a Pride parade. Maybe if you are trans, when you experience gender euphoria or someone uses your chosen name, it feels like a ray of sunlight on a cloudy day.

If you are an ally, do these words resonate with how you celebrate and uplift your LGBT friends and family? How does it feel when you see someone feeling proud and living their most authentic self?

1. It is time to get drawing!

  • Think about how you could communicate these words and feelings using colour and drawing
  • You could trace images in a magazine or do some practice sketches first
  • Perhaps you’re imagining a character surrounded by a lush green natural landscape, or maybe two people hugging each other to represent healing
  • You could use abstract shapes to represent your ideas

2. You can do a drawing for one colour or the whole flag

  • Design a whole Pride flag like the illustration I have made for this activity. You could use each of the colours of the flag for each different word.
  • Alternatively, you can focus on a drawing for your colour of choice. It could be your favourite colour, or one that resonates with you.

Tools to help you:

1. Colour swatches for those of you who like to draw digitally, on an iPad or graphics tablet, but you could also choose your own colours if you are drawing something by hand.

2. Black and white flag template, if you are not so confident and feel like you need something to help you get started.
-Click on the images below-

Show us what you have created!

When you have finished your illustration, share it to social media and tag us @UniHertsArts and @HarryWoodgateart so we can see and share your creations! Thanks so much, and have a happy and safe LGBT History Month.


Here's Harry's new Pride flag illustration to help inspire you!

Downloadable Pride swatch


About the Pride Flag

The rainbow-coloured Pride flag that we’re familiar with today was first created by LGBT activist and designer Gilbert Baker in 1978, before which one of the most most well-known symbols for the gay rights movement was the pink triangle. The pink triangle, however, is an icon that was born out of the oppression of the LGBT community by the Nazis during World War Two, and which represents for many a deeply traumatic period of their history.

Gilbert Baker conceived the rainbow flag instead as a celebration of love and positivity, and his original design incorporated eight colours, each of which has a specific meaning and significance.

Over time, various iterations of Baker’s original flag were developed, including the six-coloured version we often see today. As with Baker’s eight-coloured version, each colour holds a particular significance: the top red band represents life, followed by orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony or serenity, and finally purple, which represents spirit.

Other modern versions include the Philadelphia Pride flag, which includes two additional colours in black and brown, representing the POC community and intersectionality; and the Progress rainbow flag, which also features the blue, pink and white of the trans pride flag alongside the rest of the rainbow colours.

I find it fascinating to learn about the history of these flags and symbols, and the ways in which art and design has played such an essential role in LGBT rights movements throughout history. As Gilbert Baker said, flags are a way of proclaiming power, and they can have a very emotional connection. I started thinking about what the different colours meant to me, and thought it would be interesting to try and communicate this through an illustration.

Harry Woodgate

You can find out more about LGBT+ History Month here.


About

Harry Woodgate is a freelance illustrator and author based in St Albans, UK, working with clients across editorial, publishing and advertising sectors.

They love using bold colour and exaggerated perspectives to explore topics including psychology, LGBT and queer identity, environmental and political activism, as well as the importance of creativity in our communities.

They graduated from the BA Illustration course at University of Hertfordshire in 2019.