Self Portraits


I struggle here.  I feel a great responsibility to teach kids about proportion, guidelines and human form to enhance their art knowledge- but with out a little song, dance show and a few clever "magic art tricks" the kids just seem to grumble about doing them.  So...I have tried to make them easier than I have in the past.

This year, I found pre-cut head shapes (not too bad of a cheat, right?) They are neat because they allow you to staple them to a bulletin board (slightly folded) to pop out just a bit.  They will also stand upright on a desk because of the back flaps (not visible in the photo).  This makes them great for conferences or open house time. 

Since the basic structure was set, we were able to dive right in with the concepts you all know:  Guidelines always split a space in half, five eyes wide, pupils are a basic determination for mouth width, ...etc.  We hit them all -mixing in quite a few jokes along the way. We even take time to turn off the lights to watch their neighbors pupils change when the lights come on- can you believe they don't realize that in 5th grade!  Wow!

In the end, the kids all agreed that they did a great job and improved their knowledge greatly!  These were simple and still hit all of the areas I like to cover.  They just went a bit faster and did not drag the kids into boredom. 

*We painted the skin color.

*Used oil pastels for the eyes,   hair and shirts.

It was then cut and glued on.
We traced the head on a separate
sheet and designed the hair there.


  1. These look great! I love the extra pop!!
    I just posted about how I do portraits too - these are 3rd grade.
    I also do them large in tempra for 5th grade's last project before going to middle school.

  2. I have bought some of those but haven't used them yet. I'm glad to see that they are effective.

  3. Where did you buy the precut head shapes from ?
    I love your idea of starting with this.

  4. Toni,
    I usually mass order each year from Sax art. They are part of School Specialty. This link should get you there.
    Good luck!

  5. These look great! We did the monochromatic self portraits for the beginning of the year. I am putting them all together for a large mural. (I saw this on another blog.)
    I love the precut heads! going to pin this for next year!


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