For the past several years, I have started off the new school year doing a self portrait project for first grade. It has been a great way to provide a challenge for my students, while also serving as a confidence builder in the process.
We begin with a square piece of white paper... If you are using watercolor, then you can switch to watercolor paper.
Starting with the face, draw a U shape... add in the neck and shoulder lines next- use symmetry as an art vocabulary word while explaining!
Continue next steps, the facial features, starting with the nose... Use words such as boat bottom, tree trunk to describe the steps of the nose. Finish with the curved lines for the nostrils. Yes! Nostrils! The young ones always crack up when we make the nostrils.
Ensure that the nose is placed correctly a little farther then halfway down the page- this serves a reference point for all other facial features.
Next, we will work on the eyes... Warning!!! Most students will make giant circles for eyes, encourage that they are sized appropriately, and shaped like ovals or footballs. Start with the shape, then add the iris, pupils, and additional details.
Now, we tackle the mouth... After the eyes, this should be a little simpler. Start with two mountains and a valley, add a boat bottom, and draw a line in between. If they want to draw some nice toothy grins, make sure you widen the boat bottom line, and add details in between.
We are almost at the finish line now! It is usually now that I provide the students with mirrors so that they can depict more details... Ears, hair, glasses, freckles, the works!
We are about finished with one class period due now. In the final week, the students will outline their pencil sketches with black marker, and do an oil pastel resist with watercolor paint. I also encourage them to consider a nice background element to their portrait.
Check out some of these student works in progress!
Next week, we will finish last minute details, (as this project can carry over to three weeks) and have a final critique on their work!
For next time, I will be posting progress on our Square One Art fundraiser which is starting shortly!