Activity 1: 10 Days Project, Case Study

During the project pupils were asked to take 10 photographs, over the course of 10 days that they felt represented their lives and the lives of their families and communities. These photographs are portraits. Even though the photos may not feature a single image of the actual pupil that took them, by looking at the 10 images that the pupils have selected we can begin to learn something about that person. Perhaps you could ask your pupils to take the 10 Days challenge! What would your pupils choose to photograph and why? Can you print the photos and create a mini exhibition in the classroom?

Activity 2: Literacy Activites

It can be useful to think about ways of describing ourselves as starting points for artworks. Pupils are asked to bring in a photograph of themselves, share it with friends and explain something about it. They are then asked to look at it very closely and create short poems using provided frameworks.

Activity 3: 2D Drawing Self-Portraits

Portraits can take the form of all sorts of styles and it’s not always important for drawings to look ‘realistic’ but it is important to try and capture something about the person. Every face is very different and different people have very different features such as eye shapes, nose sizes, mouth length etc. These basic tips will help children to understand the basic proportions of a face, and using this method can make the task less daunting.

Activity 4: 2D Oil Pastel & Watercolour

Using Ben Uri artist Jack Bilbo’s work, Miriam as a starting point, pupils explore colour in portraiture. They experiment with oil pastels and watercolours to produce a vibrant colour scheme for their own work. The children consider proportions of the face using a ruler, and will be surprised to discover that the eyes were actually halfway down the head! After producing the outline of the face in light pencil, they next draw over the lines with heavy oil pastel, finishing with a wash of bright watercolour paint.

Activity 5: 2D Chalk Pastel Self-Portraits

This activity allows pupils to explore how to make chalk portraits. They look at sample portraits and learn how to colour mix skin tones using chalk pastels. The children finally draw their portraits using chalks on black paper, drawing a white outline first and then carefully filling in the colour.

Activity 6: 2D Recycled Portraits

Pupils create these self portraits using recycled paper, magazines and packaging. They work carefully to try to match their skin tones and eye and hair colours.

Activity 7: 2D What Do You See?

Pupils think about different types of symbolic portraits, with particular reference to Ben Uri artist, Michael Rothenstein’s The Love Machine. The piece features larger than life eyes, with images inside them. The pupils are asked to use their imaginations to draw what they want to see in front of them in ten years’ time and create their own oversized eyes, which would contain the pictures. They use a variety of materials, including watercolours, fine liners, acrylic paints and black paper to produce their future-gazing eyes.

Activity 8: 3D Symbolic Mobiles

Pupils are asked to consider how they could use symbols to represent aspects of themselves, and create eight small images that describe them best. These are drawn in pencil and painted with watercolours. The images are outlined in black pen ready to be made into this installation.

Activity 9: 3D Symbolic Trees

Pupils are introduced to the idea of a family tree. Imagining themselves as trees, they are asked to consider what their leaves would show and reveal about them, and then to create symbols accordingly. The symbols are drawn out in pencil and coloured in using pencil crayons. The class creates realistic looking trees using brown tissue paper and PVA glue, from which their leaves could grow.

Activity 11: 3D My Favourite Place

Pupils discuss the varying ways in which artists make self portraits and the importance of setting. They think about how we can learn about people by exploring the places that are important to them. Pupils make sketches of places that are important to them. They then create shoe box portraits of their special places, using mixed media.

Activity 12: Me! 3D Self-Portrait

Using modelling wire, pupils make the "skeleton" of the body and twist them together to make up a body shape. They then use newspaper to pad out the body, make a base so that the sculpture stands, and add a layer of clothes, using coloured tissue paper.