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Have you ever thought about how kids see themselves? Better yet, have you ever thought about how they represent themselves in their artwork?
I have often found that a self-portrait exercise is a unique way to gain insight into a child’s psyche. While most kids love to draw pictures of themselves either in whimsical or realistic ways, it’s not often they have the opportunity to challenge themselves to draw and paint on a large scale.
Last week, I hosted my first Pop Up Self Portrait Workshop for kids ages 5 and up. My goal was to show children how they could identify their facial features, draw them, and then transfer their small drawings to a large sheet of 18″x24″ watercolor paper.
Canson’s Mix Media Acid Free Paper, 18″x 24″
I started this project by looking at ourselves in the mirror and talking about all of our facial features. I pointed out where our eyes, nose, ears, mouth, eyebrows, are in relation to each other.
Next, we analyzed how their facial features could be similar or different from others. With this in mind, we practiced making a sketch of ourselves on a piece of copy paper.
As the younger students quickly drew their facial features, older students struggled a bit to create “realistic” features. I gently explained to the older children that all of their facial features could be broken down into basic shapes. For example their eyes could be round, oval, almond shaped, etc. I was able to talk through their frustrations and let them come up with their own solutions.
For example, their eyes could be round, oval, almond shaped, etc. I was able to talk through their frustrations and let them come up with their own solutions.
Next, each child was given a large piece of mix media paper where they had to replicate their small sketch on a larger scale. They then outlined their drawings with black permanent marker and filled in with watercolor paint.
The kids were able to mix colors, and paint their drawings with any sort of marks they felt inspired them. The younger kids definitely took liberty to position themselves in a world of whimsical flowers and bold colors. Meanwhile, the older children’s paintings felt more restrained, subdued, and serious. It’s amazing to see how everyone’s personalities shone through each of their portraits.
If you’ve never had your little ones draw or paint on a large scale, try this project. I promise, you’ll want to hang and frame these mega masterpieces!