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 How to Draw a Self Portrait with “Big Eyes” Drawing
- Pencil. The Ticonderoga brand are the most reliable, make nice dark lines when you need them, and are the easiest to erase. Buying the pre-sharpened ones will save busy teachers a lot of time.
- Eraser. Large ones you can hold in your hand do a much better job than just the pencil tip erasers, especially when erasing leftover pencil lines after tracing.
- Black Sharpie Marker. These fine point permanent marker pens make nice black outlines, have a good tip for coloring, and never bleed when they get wet. Use them with good ventilation and add extra paper underneath to protect your tables.
- Prang Crayons. These are a bit softer than other crayons so they sometimes look like oil pastels. They also have a some nice brown shades that Crayola does not have unless you buy their larger boxes.
- Crayola Crayons. The reliable brand that always works well. The 24 pack has some of my favorite golden orange and yellow colors that seem a bit richer and warmer than the ones Prang has.
Step by step Directions for How to Draw a Self Portrait with “Big Eyes” Drawing
Time needed: 1 minute.
Add a siDraw 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.