Draw an Abstract Self-Portrait

Here is an older student adaptation of my popular Abstract Face project. It still has simple features that fill the face, but allows for some personalization with hair. I think it might make a good early self portrait project for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders as it bypasses all the fussy eye and mouth details that … Read More

Masking Tape Portrait

This is another way of getting lots of irregular torn edges, without the fuss of gluing them down. I used blue painter’s tape to make this portrait on a piece of colored paper. 1. Each student will need a 9″ x 12″ piece of colored paper, and a roll of blue painter’s tape (sharing would work … Read More

Hundertwasser Portrait on Sticks

I’m hooked on the Vienna artist Hundertwasser, so I thought I would try combining his style with my popsicle portrait project. I think his art has a kind of layered marker look to it so it seemed like a good match. 1. It seems that Hundertwasser had a real aversion to straight lines, so I thought … Read More

Close Crop Portrait

One way to simplify portrait drawing is to start with a large U instead of an oval. 1. Start with a square drawing paper. With a pencil, follow the steps shown in the diagram to the right. Remind students that our eyes are located in the middle of our heads, but because of this cropping, they … Read More

Hundertwasser Portraits

I’d been looking for a different approach to self-portraits for a back-to-school project. I wanted something that would ask the students to see themselves in a new way, and create a colorful display that I knew the teachers would appreciate for their classrooms. Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser has an amazing life story, along with a very … Read More

A Kinder Portrait

Sometimes when a student gets to use a new media for the first time, like oil pastels, a visible excitement can be seen the results. These kinders traced a head and shoulder template and then drew a line down the middle. They were supposed to draw and color a “calm” and a “wild” side. But this … Read More

Fauve Portraits

The primary mission of Fauve artists in the late 1800’s was to work with vibrant and unnatural color. Van Gogh, Gauguin and other artists wanted their art to be new and modern, much like the technology that was developing around them. 1. If your budget permits, give each student a canvas panel to work with – they really … Read More

Self-Portrait Painting in Acrylic

Years ago I taught my first self-portrait project in my son’s 2nd grade classroom. They’ve since become a favorite of students and their parents and have served as great fundraising tools. 1. I started with 5″ x 7″ canvas panels and an assortment of acrylic paint. It helps if you include lots of skin tones, as … Read More

Chuck Close Self Portrait

posted in: 5th Grade, portrait | 2

Chuck Close is an American painter and photographer who first achieved fame as a photorealist. This project, which imitates his style, takes a bit of planning, but the results can be amazing. 1. Take digital photos of the students. With my computer graphics software, I cropped the faces in Photoshop and printed them out (black and … Read More

Arcimboldo “Fruit Face”

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an Italian artist from the 1500s who spent years working as an official court painter. He developed a style of composing portraits from fruits, vegetables, etc., which was uniquely his own. There’s a great book about him called “Fruit Face” which is what I used to introduce this lesson. 1. Find lots of … Read More