Below you’ll find an easy step-by-step tutorial video for a self portrait art lesson for elementary students. It mixes simple profile drawings with creative writing, and was inspired by an amazing artist and illustrator, Nate Williams.
Nate Williams Tutorial Video
This self portrait art lesson for elementary students was inspired by the artist Nate Williams. It asks students to draw a simple profile of themselves and fill it with simple descriptive words. Variations of the hair and clothes are encouraged, but the basic idea is to literally fill their head with things that are important to them.
Nate Williams is an artist and designer who creates illustrations and hand lettering for magazines, books, packaging and advertising. His clients have included some pretty famous names, like the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Target, New York Times and Coca Cola. Nate’s whimsical style of drawing is perfect for young artists to imitate because it is so simple, yet so creative. You can check out more of Nate’s work on his website HERE.
The one tip I would emphasize is that the portraits look best when the letters are as big and varied as they possibly can be. Students can use initial caps, all caps, cursive, any style at all. This is one time when they can break away from all the writing “rules” they usually follow, and try something new.
As a teacher, I would go so far as to give students extra credit for every different lettering style that shows up in their drawing. A lack of emphasis about this will tend to have them go on auto pilot when writing, and fill in each area the same way, as if writing on ruled paper. This is one time to encourage them to literally get creative with their writing.
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Nate Williams Boy Coloring Page
Nate Williams Girl Coloring Page
Materials for a Nate Williams 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.
Directions for a Nate Williams Portrait
Time needed: 35 minutes
How to Draw a Nate Williams Self Style Portrait
- Draw a backwards J shape to start the head.
- Add the neck and shoulders below the head.
- Draw the hair, it can be any length.
- Add the nose and lips on the side of the face.
- Divide the face into sections by drawing three lines as shown.
- Draw an eye on the top line.
- Erase the line inside, and add a circle.
- Trace the lines with a permanent black marker.
Fill the spaces with words, planned in pencil first.
- Trace the words with crayons 2 times to make them dark.
Paint all the sections with watercolor paint.