Light, Shadow, Self Portraits, and Artsonia

Throughout the past several classes, both fifth and sixth grade students have been engaged in a unit on Self Portraits. Before commencing instruction, students began with a pre-assessment self portrait using pencil and a mirror. Here are examples of before and after drawings:

Grace H.
Grace H.
Cole F.

Instruction began with students using iPads to sketch along with some “How to Draw” videos by Mark Crilley. iPads make this a personalized learning experience as students may pause the video at any time to catch up or review the video to see details they may have missed. The video distribution was centralized through Google Classroom, making them easy to access at home or at school.

Students then went on to experiment with charcoal pencils, stomps, and kneaded erasers. They drew Styrofoam heads and used Blurration (squinting their eyes) to see the areas of light and shadow. We used both male and female styrofoam heads that I found on eBay. We spotlighted them with flashlights to create dramatic shadow. Drawing these heads made for a great discussion of the “classic ideal” compared to real life human heads. It was a great time to point out the uniqueness of our features and skin tones.

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Once comfortable with the charcoal, students began their self portraits, referring to the styrofoam heads to see where the shadows should be on their faces.

Eddie R

Some additional before and after photos:

Annalise C.
Colin F.

Fifth grade students worked similarly, following different videos and using construction paper crayons to add color instead of charcoal. Students focused on using complementary colors in their portraits, which presented a terrific chance to review the color wheel.

Kendyl J.
Kendyl J.

Both grades worked on their self portraits over two or three classes. Last class, they posted them on Artsonia with artist statements. Sixth grade portraits can be found here:

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Jessica m.

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And fifth grade portraits can be found here:

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Cameron H.

Cameron H.

Adam M.
Adam M.

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I think you’ll agree the 5/6 art students at Miscoe Hill are looking good! Enjoy!

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