I love teaching self-portraits!
Not only do students get to know themselves much better, but they also lose the fear of drawing a face, facial features and drawing a human. Once you teach some basic proportions rules, practice drawing features individually and give out mirrors, the rest, as they say, is history!
WARNING! Your students will want to do self-portraits forever after this. Don’t say I didn’t warn you 🙂
For these self-portraits, we focused on discussing what makes up our identity, personality and uniqueness. When I first asked the students what makes them different from others, the first response has to do with their physical bodies, nationalities, etc. This is all true but where I really wanted to dig deep was to understand that their thoughts, opinions, ideas, CREATIVITY, and feelings are totally theirs and totally unique.
Ask any of my students, ‘Who is the boss of your thoughts, feelings, and ideas?’- you get a big ME!
Students are so used to seeking our approval, for everything. Now when a student comes and asks me, ‘Can I add this or can I do this..’ I answer back, ‘Who is the artist here? Who’s work is this? and you should see the huge smile that gives me for that moment of recognition and self-empowerment. Their artwork is more beautiful, authentic and their own for it.
We did quite a bit of facial features practice in their sketchbooks so they could lose the fear of drawing an eye for example, and see it more as a bunch of lines that create an eye. The students went off to do their own with a mirror. The final part was to frame their portraits with clues of everything that made up their identity. Some classes mixed paint to make their skin color, others used pencils to mix skin colors.
I absolutely love how these turned out and in a future post, will show you the finished display with all the variations on this unit of inquiry.
What do you think? How do you teach an inquiry into identity with your students?
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