Sunday, July 8, 2012

Simple Self Portraits

I don't know about you, but self portraits actually aren't my favorite lesson to do with young students. I have found that trying to place too much emphasis on realism and proportion in the traditional way usually ends up with more students feeling frustrated than successful. After all, faces and people are the hardest thing to draw! We look at ourselves every day, yet our left brain gets in the way and makes us draw what we think we look like, instead of what is really there. (Drawing On the right Side of the Brain, by Edwards,does an excellent job explaining this)

     Anyway, I did find a good idea on Art Projects for Kids for a simplified way to do self portraits. It simply uses a circle for the head shape, and allows the students to draw simple lines for the nose and mouth.


Circle templates
White 9X12 paper
Chalk pastels in skin colors

1. Have students measure a one inch border around the paper, then a 1/4 inch inside that. (I have found that measuring is one of the most challenging tasks for students, but a good learning opportunity for them.)

2. Students will trace the circle template exactly in the middle of the frame.

3. Eyes- This project gives the big eye look, but if you prefer, you can do the eyes in regular proportion. You can provide a template or not. Instruct to draw a football shape, round iris, and round pupil. It is important to get the eyes evenly spaced and the same size.

4. Draw a small curved line for the nose.

5. Draw a "flying bird  shape" for the mouth. Girls can draw lips, and boys can draw just a curved line for the mouth. No teeth!

6. Draw diagonal lines down from the head for shoulders.

7. I find that chalk pastels work best for shading in faces. They can blend it in with their finger, so their are no scribble lines. If students have darker skin, have them build the color slowly, so it is more even.

8. Students can use colored pencil or a light peach/pink marker for the nose and mouth.

9. Hair- Oh hair! Challenging! I found the best luck with coloring in lightly with a light cream chalk pastel, and then brown, darker brown, in layers over the top. more yellow/white for blondes. They can make some of the hair go out of the frame slightly. Instruct to make the hairline long enough and not forget the sides of the head. For students with short hair, or pony tails, don't forget to draw ears!

10. Clothes, they can color those any way they wish.

11. Background and frame can also be colored in whatever colors they wish.

12. They can write their name at the bottom, and color in with marker.

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