Mark Feuring



Webster University Lesson Plan - Illustrating the Self-Portrait

Elementary Art Education – Mark Feuring

Description of Setting: Grade school classroom – kindergarten through fifth grade. Classroom tables are setup in pairs, and students surround working areas. Each group of tables has a class color, such as red table has red working tools and instruments.

Description of Learners:

Students in the classroom have spent previous class periods drawing pictures of people. They have filled the format of page compositions with illustrations of self-portraits, friends, and family members. Through this fifth grade assignment grade school students are working with illustrations of the face, such as the eyes, nose, chin, ears, and hair.

1. Grade school students are able to recognize classmates, themselves, and other people (Clements, Wachowiak, “Emphasis Art” 2010 pp. 50)

• This lesson plan will integrate scribbling of line into recognizable form. People have curly hair, straight hair, or wavy hair. Some people have long or short faces. Grade school students can draw circles. The circle shapes of the chin and eyes will be unique in student work.

2. Students at grade school level are able to create patterns and decorate backgrounds with visual art methods.

• We can understand that students can draw patterns of line. They construct the shapes of the square, and are beginning to understand the proportions of the body.

3. Students nearing the fifth-grade level are able to comprehend appearance, dress, and values (Clements, Wachowiak, “Emphasis Art” 2010 pp. 88-108)

• Students have achieved illustrations of the head, shoulders, body, and legs. Focusing on drawing the face will give students the insight to create with lines, patterns of shape, and textures, what they look like in a mirror.

4. Through practice, and developing, grade level students have created patterns of facial features past the recognizable form of the encephlepod.


Students nearing the fifth grade have perception skills of themselves in a given situation. Patterns repeat and are usually decorative. Grade school students create line drawings of an event or situation.

Drawing skills will improve with practice and the conditioning of work.


Success of student project depends on drawings of patterns. A student will understand a self-portrait if it is an image they make of themselves. As the facilitator of the project, we want to teach visual recognition to the objectives of portrait art.

GLEs Addressed – Strand I-3A

Product/ Performance – Number 3. Communicate ideas about subject matter and themes in artworks created for various purposes.

1. Students can identify a portrait is an image made of a person

2. Students understand a self-portrait if it is an image of themselves.

Instructional Process

Students will look in the mirror and draw their human face. Using line and shape, they will draw their facial features. A self-portrait is a drawing where an artist is drawing themselves.

1. The instructor should teach about the unique elements of each face. We want to teach students to use discipline in constructing their shapes.

• Give students time at the beginning of class to place their mirror and arrange their paper, pencil, and markers. The students in the 50 minute class will have time to arrange their materials, and begin to quietly focus on what makes them unique by looking in the mirror.

• We want to take a moment and grab the “ah-ha,” by letting students passively look in the mirror. Quiet down the shy giggling of the class. As the teacher monitors the class, the students should be quietly noticing the elements that make their persona unique.

• Give explanation through a slight 1 minute demonstration on drawing the oval, using the projector. Most elements of a self-portrait at this grade level, involve a basic approach to drawing the human face. We would like the student to notice whether their face is long-round, short round, or square round.

• Draw the shape of the head to fill most of the paper. Leave some of the bottom of the page for drawing of the neck and shirt.

2. As the oval shape is drawn on the paper, we can then construct the hair, nose and eyes. A breakdown of the face into halves, and quarters with a sketch of the pencil will allow us to balance our drawing.

• With the line segments constructed, we can draw the nose, eyes, and hair. We compose lines of patterns for the hair, and place the nose in the middle of the oval. There are many ways of creating line that will design the nose. The teacher can give a few examples on the overhead projector of how to represent that shape.

• The next step is to draw the eyes before the hair. Each student is to ponder in the mirror how the eyebrows are unique to the face, and has the hair is to look. The teacher can draw on the overhead some examples.

• The students can bring colored markers into this part of the composition. The final elements of the self-portrait are to be outlined in a thin line, with a black marker.

• The need is to create a shape of a smile that is special to a student. To draw the lips will be a final stage in the drawing of the self-portraits. Talk to the students about the upper lip, the lower lip and the smile.

• Some students may want to draw teeth. The teacher can demonstrate this technique.

3. The students can fill the background with color marker patterns, and draw a unique shirt texture or shape to fill the page with colorful elements.

• Using chalk, the students can shade facial color by rubbing the color.

• Markers can be used to create line in the visual space of the background.

• The color of hair is a special characteristic of the self-portrait.


½ sheet of white paper –blank


Black marker

Colored Markers

Mirror with stand


Color Pastels

Management Procedures:

The students should be in a comprehension phase of behavioral management. Remind the students to focus in the mirror, and pay attention to the teacher’s examples. We are looking for an efficient classroom that has balance between excitement and challenge. The teacher should be promoting “focus” as a keyword, and “building” as the strategy word, for the composition of the self-portrait.

Questions of confidence may arise where a student may comment about not being able to accomplish the goals. The students should be reminded that we are making our best efforts. We should focus on line and the balance of the “simple” elements we are creating with our artwork. “Think of what wonderful colors these markers are! We get to color the value our skin and eyes in this lesson. We can manage our skills of being an artist with our talent”

The development of recognition and reflection can occur with this illustration. We can place drawings at any phase of the process, and have a gallery walk. We can stop and walk around tables to study our classmates’ work.

The drawings are to be hung in the hallway as artwork. We want to complete two self portraits in the fifth grade class. One self-portrait is drawn earlier in the year, and a self-portrait illustration near the graduation date of the fifth grade class is composed by student artists.

A similar project will be to draw a classmate.