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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. Something about this process seems to free students up from getting overly fussy with their drawings, so you can end up with some really creative results.

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. 

amedeo modigliani for kids

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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There are fifteen more like it in my “Self Portrait Art Projects” ebook in my PDF Shop. It’s designed to show students just how varied the world of self portraits can be, from abstract to pop to even a Minecraft theme. All come with full tutorials, finished samples, and any templates needed. Just click on the binder or title to learn more.


  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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