Tuesday, September 4, 2012

1st Grade Self-Portraits

Each year, 1st grade starts the year with a self-portrait. This year we changed a few things....we outlined with black (looks so much better!) and we added texture rubbings to our backgrounds.

They look great!

After we added pattern backgrounds with texture plates, we painted the shirt and background with tempera cakes.



  1. You are getting FANTASTIC self-portrait results from 6 and 7 year olds. Really expressive faces. I would love to know how you are teaching this. Love the rubbing plates in the background.

  2. Thanks!

    Basically, I walk them through each step using my "Ladibug"/"Elmo"...(if you're unfamiliar with either of those technology tools, they're just like a live-action camera that projects onto the board), that way they can see each step and follow along at their seats. Sometimes I use my "demo table" where they just echo each step...but that wastes a lot of time with all the back and forth.

    Anyways, we start with an upside-down egg for the head, draw a light 'ghost-line' across the middle for the 'eyeline'. And this year we did "Modigliani-inspired noses" where the eyebrows and nose are all connected. I talk about expression and emotion with the eyebrows and mouth. I just draw a bunch of different eyebrows and mouths on an index card so they can see how to draw them and decide what emotion they want for their self-portrait.

    I talk about is 'football shaped eyes'....and we discuss the iris and pupil...and the ghostline we drew earlier helps them get the eyes in the right place...i usually say draw a rainbow over the line and a bowl of soup underneath....an 'art challenge' is adding an extra rainbow line for the eyelid and then eyelashes going out and away from the eye. Then I tell the boys to make more 'manly' eyelashes draw short and straight lines...and the ladies get to do curvier and longer lines. (and I usually mention that some boys have better eyelashes then us girls do which is so unfair...haha)

    For the mouth, it helps to start with a simple line for the middle(curve up if you're happy, curved down if you're sad, straight if you're serious), then we put a stretched out letter 'm' on top and a 'bowl of soup' on the bottom....then I show them an 'art trick' of how to add one more bowl of soup on the bottom of the lips to create an open mouth.

    For the nose, we talk about frontal view verses profile view noses...they can take the "art challenge" and try the frontal view or take the easy route and just do a soft "l". For the frontal nose I just demonstrate a curve in the middle and two "jellybean' curves on either side. This year however, we had the eyebrows continue down to the middle of the face and we attached the 3 little bumps at the bottom. I also call the bridge of the nose a "tree trunk" ....that helps.

    All my kids have 'idea books' that we sketch in...so we do a preliminary sketch and work out some of these harder areas before beginning the giant one.

    Hope this helps and thanks for looking!

  3. Wow - thanks for sharing your technique!