A Self-Portrait with Words


Marissa, "Optimistic"

This past semester I was very fortunate to be a mentor for a student teacher from Sam Houston State University. She was such a blessing to me. We worked really well together coming up with new and interesting assignments for Art. One assignment that the Art II students really enjoyed was creating a self portrait. The interesting twist to the assignment was that the students had to do their self portrait with words.

In preparation for the assignment my student teacher, Marcia, took digital photographs of each student in the class. She then printed out a black and white print of the photo on paper. We used my desktop and lexmark printer. The size of the photo had to fit in the 8.5 x 11 inch guidelines of regular computer paper. You really don’t want the picture too small, but you could always make it larger.

The students were given their photos and told to trace the outline of their face onto another sheet of computer paper with marker. This outlined tracing would be needed as a guide for their final product.

close up

A Close Up of Marissa's Hair

After tracing the photo, students were told to choose one word that would describe their personality. They could only pick one. That was difficult for many students, but they all finally decided. It was interesting to see the chosen word.


Alice, "Faithful"

Once they had their word, then they were told to take out another piece of paper and place it on top of their traced drawing. This is the drawing done in marker. The marker makes it easier to see.

The students then had to use the chosen word to fill in the areas of hair, eyes, mouth, face, nose, etc. They could write small or large. They could change up the type of writing such as the font used. They could write some letters darker and bolder to create the necessary values needed in the drawing.  Letters could be stretched and pulled to fit the areas on the portrait.


Eddie, "Creative"

We let the students decide if they wanted to put in a background or not. Anything that was put in the drawing had to be created using their chosen word. Some of the words used were: faithful, dreamer, intuitive, creative, optimistic and legacy.

This may be an art assignment that you want to try with your homeschooler. This assignment can be adapted or modified for any age. I hope you will give it a try.

Here are a few more examples of self portraits:


Tre, "Legacy"

Marcia, The Dreamer

Marcia, "Dreamer"

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6 Responses to A Self-Portrait with Words

  1. Pingback: Homeschool Showcase #92 | Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

  2. Very cool assignment, and the results came out quite nice 🙂

  3. What a cool idea! I might have to try this myself & try to get my daughter to play along, too!

  4. Thank you Kris and Becky. My student teacher’s idea worked great. I was so pleased with the results. We hung the work up on the wall and had the students explain their choices and decisions made throughout the creative process. They were very proud of their work.

  5. Art teacher here.
    Both a writing/contemplative assignment as well as interesting art.
    Thank you. Found you at WUHS showcase.

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