Friday, March 1, 2013

Simple Self-Portraits in Oil Pastel

Isabel, age 11

The self-portrait is great lesson for kids. It is a great reflective exercise and a confidence builder. Each little portrait tells me something about the artist. This is quite an open ended project because I want to see a true representation of the artist with very few instructions from me. I worked with 11 year olds for this lesson. They did not want to use a mirror and preferred to draw from what they knew they looked like.

Begin by tracing the template option lightly in pencil on an A4 or A3 paper. I always suggest that my students trace the template instead of drawing it because it just prevent frustration with proportion. They have plenty of other opportunities to draw from observation in my other lessons. Below are template options from the downloads section which can be printed out:

Discuss the details about portraits to the student. I talk about proportion and how to measure distances between the eyes, mouth forehead and ears. Bring out the pastels and cross-hatch each section with it's main color. Encourage students to use lighter colors first and black last to prevent smudging.  Keep a lookout for frowning faces or sad faces. I sometimes demonstrate how to draw eyes because the eyes are such a major part of the face. Give the student the freedom to create his or her own background. with patterns and shapes in oil pastel. Don't forget to have fun, this lesson always has surprisingly amazing results! Xoxo Quaymberley.