After their first line project with the stylized animals, the grade 5’s took their line templates onto a new project. I photographed each student against a white wall in a close head shot. Using high contrast and enlarging the photocopies, I created their starting points. Each student got their large portrait copy and a Sharpie marker.
1st & 2nd Sessions:
I demonstrated how they could now take those line ideas/doodles/graffiti and use them to illustrate a ‘what if?’. What if their hair went crazy? What if their hair became a doodle? I showed them how to draw out the lines already in their hair and extend them into different patterns. The caution was to integrate the two, so that the lines do not look like a headdress or a helmet, or merely an ornate background.
As they began to put pen to page, I became aware of a few students’ reluctance to ‘play’ with their own image: worrying about what others might think. It helped that most students threw themselves into it, so that energy won the day eventually. As the drawing progressed, individual encouragement was needed to get at a more seamless integration of the lines and the hair. Blonde hair required different line qualities than brunette.
After some initial hesitation, the students really began to have fun with their crazy doodle hair …
To take the students a bit further in these self portraits, I copied their drawings and gave them 4 each to work with. We looked at the work of Andy Warhol and Henri Matisse, specifically his portrait of Mme. Matisse “The Green Line”. We talked about abstraction, and then they got to work with bright coloured Sharpies. I directed them to colour each face in patterns differently, thinking about the artwork they just saw. By this time, they had no problem playing with their image. Woo hoo!
This project got a lot of buzz from all who saw them, and pride for those who made them!