Maasai African Portraits

MaasaiThe Maasai people of African are located in Kenya. Their distinctive clothing and head dress make them among the most well known of all African tribes. A marker drawing on a piece of madras pattern tissue paper is one way to pay tribute to their fascinating culture.
1. After discussing a bit about the Maasai, I recommend that students first draw their portraits on a piece of drawing paper. Beginning with a large oval and neck, the stylized eyes, nose and mouth are added. Neck ware, headbands and feathers may be included too.
2. After the drawing is done, a matching size piece of madras pattern tissue paper is taped on the front, and the portrait lines are traced onto the tissue. Next the lines are all traced with Sharpie markers, some with fat and some with thin tip. I find that a variety of line weights add interest to artwork.
3. Lastly, the face is filled in with marker, leaving a bit of space around the eyebrow and nose line so they don’t disappear.

7 Responses

  1. Silvia
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    Can you recommend a book or two which have images of the Maasai we could copy from? Thanks!

  2. Kathy Barbro
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    Hi Silvia. I used an illustration from my art collection. But my first stop for a quick answer to any question is Google. You’ll find numerous web sites with photos and books about the Maasai.

  3. patrice
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    doesn’t the marker tear the tissue?

  4. Kathy Barbro
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    You have to be gentle, so I wouldn’t recommend this for younger kids, but the tissue does allow you to color it.

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