Sep 8, 2010

Back To School Portraits

I'd been looking for a different approach to self-portraits for a back-to-school project. I wanted something that would ask the students to see themselves in a new way, and create a colorful display that I knew the teachers would appreciate for their classrooms. Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser has an amazing life story, along with a very appealing style of abstract drawing. Click here to read more about him.
1. Start with a 9" x 12" paper, and trace the width of a ruler around the outside edges in pencil. Add another line about 1/4" away to make a narrow inner border.
2. Draw a very large circle that almost touches the top border and does touch the left and right. Wobbly circles are welcome! Shoulders may be straight or angled. Eyes are drawn by starting with a center dot, and then the football shapes that extend and touch the outside edge. Hair must be simple, simple, simple, using as few lines as possible. Names are drawn in block letters in the bottom border.
3. When the drawing is done, all lines are traced with a thin black marker.
4. Everything is colored in heavily with some good colored pencils. This sample is down Prismacolors.

10 comments:

Apples Love Oranges said...

Thank you for bringing this artist to our attention. I have to admit that as an art teacher and art major I have never come across his work before. I went to look him up and instantly fell in love with his work. I think his bright, modern style will really appeal to my middle school students!

Heidi Heideveld said...

I come visit your site every once in awhile. I'm not a teacher, but I am into scrapbooking. I just think these murals are so cool - I want to try one and I'm not even a teacher myself! Will they also work on A4 paper?

Brussel Sprouts said...

This project is interesting because you pose the problem of using simple and minimal shapes to represent one of the most complex visuals: the human body/face. In requiring the children to problem solve in this manner, it seems you are offering the opportunity to see oneself in a very different way than one may be used to, which in turn stimulates the imagination. I am interested to hear how this project is received by your students!

marisa said...

I'm a homeschool mom, and we start each year with a self portrait. I love this idea!

Charlene said...

I love this idea, but was wondering if you could help me locate examples of his portraits. When I was looking around the internet, I could not find any examples. :) Thanks!

Kathy Barbro said...

Hi Charlene,
I found the image I was referring to at:

http://www.allposters.com/gallery.asp?startat=/getposter.asp&APNum=2689226&CID=1613A48663DC4CF2B12A8E18A8DD37C2&PPID=1&Search=hundertwasser&f=t&FindID=0&P=1&PP=3&sortby=PD&c=c&page=1

Hope this helps!

Lizzy on the Counter said...

Your site is an inspiration. My 4 year old daughter and I enjoyed making self portraits.

Ms. Julie's Place said...

Thanks so much for sharing this with The Gallery. I am so excited about it's launch and am honored you, especially, chose to take part in it!

Anonymous said...

Teachers and developmental experts say my son is behind age-level in his motor skills and spatial awareness. The simple, basic shapes in this piece and the technique of tracing the original lines with marker are just what he needs to be working on. I need something to add fun and variety besides the usual dot-to-dots and mazes. Thanks for posting this and so many other great projects!

alpidarkomama said...

We *loved* this art project. My 6, 4, and 3-year-old did self-portraits for grandpa's birthday present and they turned out great! Thank you for all of the wonderful ideas you put up. We do something from your blog at least once a week!