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Modigliani Self Portrait Tutorial

This Amedeo Modigliani for kids art lesson shows students how to distort a portrait, much in the way that he elongated necks and faces.

amedeo modigliani for kids

The best medium for this project? Thick pastels on black paper to imitating Modigliani’s rich dark paintings. If students trace their pencil drawing twice with the black pastel, to make the line really thick, it will have the most impact when they are done. 

And if the lines get covered up at all while coloring, it’s also a good idea to trace in black one more time. That’s the best way to get thick black lines that show off all the oil pastel color.


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  1. Cut the paper to 8″ x 18″. Fold the paper in half three times to make 8 equal sections as shown. Draw a head, neck and body as shown in the tutorial.
  2. Draw hair around the head as needed.
  3. Modigliani drew his faces in stretched proportions as the eyes usually sit in the middle of the face. Draw your eyes near the top of the head, and the mouth near the bottom. Continue with a nose and eyebrows.
  4. With a black oil pastel, trace the pencil lines using a lot of pressure to make a thick line. Fill in the skin, hair and clothes with more pastel. If some of the black lines get covered up, trace all again when complete.

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