Draw an Emotional Self-Portrait Activity

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Updated on Sep 25, 2012

Did you know that colors can affect your emotions and mood? Many famous artists use color to imbue their art with a certain emotion. Pablo Picasso even went through stages where he focused on just one color, such as his Blue Period!

Self-portraits are often very expressive. Artists use line, composition, and color to create an overall mood or feeling. Luckily, you don't have to be a famous artist to play with color or paint a self-portrait! Encourage your child to explore color and its mood-altering effects by creating his own self-portrait using only warm or cool colors.

What You Need:

  • White drawing paper
  • Small mirror
  • Pencil
  • Colored chalk

What You Do:

  1. Find a spot where your child will be able to work on his self-portrait undisturbed. Set up a work area with a chair and a small mirror for him to use while working.
  2. Help him think of a list of colors that create a certain emotion. Cool colors, such as blues, greens, and purples, often create a feeling of sadness or calm. Warm colors, like reds, yellows, and oranges, are energetic colors, making you feel excited, joyful, or angry. What other color and emotion combinations can he think of?
  3. Before beginning the self-portrait, do a little art research together. Go online and take a look at the paintings Picasso created during his Blue Period, such as Self-Portrait with Cloak. Spend some time talking about emotions and what they mean. What are some of the emotions he experiences most often?
  4. Encourage him to pick an emotion to convey in his artwork and three chalk colors he thinks represent that emotion.
  5. Now it's time to get started! Before using the chalk, have him lightly sketch out his face on the paper using the mirror for reference.
  6. Now invite him to use the chalk colors he selected to fill in the sketch of his face. Encourage him to blend the chalk using his fingertips or a torn piece of paper towel.

Once he's done, display his finished self-portrait in a beautiful frame. Challenge the family to try to guess the emotion depicted in his self-portrait.

Sarah Lipoff has a K-12 Art Education degree and enjoys working with kids of all ages.

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