Learn how to draw a self portrait with some extra large eyes. Changing the proportions of the face can create a very expressive look.
If students are familiar with drawing a face with normal proportions, as I shared in my How to Draw a Face post, it might be fun to mix things up a bit. I think Picasso once said that “you need to learn the rules before you break the rules” or something like that. So just as my previous Modigliani Portrait project asks students to make an unusually long face, this one asks them to draw themselves with unusually large eyes.
The purpose of this exercise could be art history related, as in the story of Margaret Keane, whose real life experience was told the movie titled “Big Eyes”. It’s a pretty fascinating story of a woman whose husband took credit for her work. She eventually got her recognition, but had to battle him legally for years before she got her due.
Then there is also the lesson of Proportion, one of the Principles of Design. If students specifically draw eyes that touch both the nose and the outside edge of their head, they end up eyes that are about twice the size of normal. This not only adds room for an extra expressive look, it takes away any preconceived ideas that students might have about a drawing of them is supposed to look. It’s bound to be different from any other self portrait done in the past, and that can be a very freeing experience. Especially for students that tend to be extra critical of their own abilities.
Use the Button below to Download a PDF Tutorial
Big Eyes Portrait Coloring Page
Materials for a Self Portrait
- Drawing Paper. This is the good stuff you can buy in bulk for a good price.
- Pencils. I like how this brand always makes nice dark lines.
- Black Marker. A permanent marker will give you a dark black color.
- Crayons. The larger packs are nice for more color choices.
- Note: All of the above are Amazon affiliate links.
Step by step Directions for a Self Portrait
Time needed: 45 minutes
Draw a Self Portrait with “Big Eyes”
- Draw a wide U, add the neck and shoulders.
- Add a simple nose in the middle.
- Start the outer eye as shown.
- Add the lid lines and circles underneath.
- Draw the pupils inside the eyes.
- Draw the hair line above.
- Draw the outer hair line.
- Some more examples of how to draw hair.
- Trace with a marker and color.