Expressive Self Portraits - Lesson Plan

Name of Lesson: “Expressive Self Portraits”


It is important for advanced art students to begin to express themselves in meaningful ways. This art lesson plan is great way to introduce students to self expression.  I usually present this lesson to advanced students as their first assignment of the year.  This allows them to introduce themselves to the class in the form of a well-crafted self portrait.

Class Level: Art 4 or Advanced Placement

Overview and Purpose: Students will revisit the self portrait by creating an introspective and expressive self portrait that either communicates something about themselves or sheds some light into their personality.

Materials: Various sizes of white drawing paper, graphite

Objectives: The student will learn that expression in artworks can sometimes be found in the presentation of the subject matter.  In this case the expression should be communicated through a self portrait.   

Delivery of info:  Students will be presented with various versions of self portraits throughout art history.  The teacher should lead in a discussion evaluating the aspects of expression present in the artworks.  The teacher should encourage the students to think about how they can be expressive in their artworks, specifically self portraits.  The students will then create expressive self portraits in graphite on white drawing paper.  The emphasis of expression should be placed on how the subject matter is presented in the finished self portrait. 

Guided Practice: Students will work while the teacher walks around and monitors progress. Students will have 10 days to complete the assignment.

Review: portraiture, proportion

Estimated Duration: 10 days

Video Resources
Facial Features
How to Draw an Eye
How to Draw an Ear
How to Draw a Mouth
How to Draw a Nose

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