The 3rd and 4th graders learned about and practiced the proportions of the human face. They studied the proportions from images and in the mirror, while practicing drawing each part of their faces in the sketchbooks. In order to ensure students were not overwhelmed with the task of creating a self-portrait, I broke it down into smaller parts by focusing on one facial feature at a time.
This format for drawing self-portraits creates more confidence too, for example, we go over the anatomy of an eye first. Then, students study their own eyes in the mirror. In the next stage, students practice drawing the shapes of the eyes – almond shapes, circles, ovals, crescent moons… Finally, students practice adding value and texture. Students do not stop there though – they draw at least 4 more eyes. Perfect practice makes perfect.
After all this practice, students put all of their knowledge to the test and made a final self-portrait in pencil. The background subject matter was completely up to the students, as long as they continued to use value. Check out a sampling from the 4th grade below.