Self Portrait Project

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Project Description

The Mixed Media Self Portrait assignment is a dynamic and expressive project that encourages students to explore their identities, self-perceptions, and creative talents through the use of multiple artistic mediums. This assignment goes beyond traditional self-portraits and invites students to experiment with a diverse range of materials and techniques to convey their unique personalities and inner worlds.

Project Objectives:

The primary objectives of the Mixed Media Self Portrait assignment are as follows:
  • Self-Exploration: Encourage students to delve into introspection and self-exploration to gain a deeper understanding of their identity, experiences, and emotions.
  • Mixed Media Techniques: Introduce students to a variety of art materials and techniques, including drawing, painting, collage, and more.
  • Creative Expression: Foster creative thinking and experimentation by allowing students to blend and layer different mediums to communicate their self-perceptions.
  • Narrative and Conceptual Thinking: Encourage students to develop a narrative or concept behind their self-portrait, conveying not only their physical appearance but also their thoughts, emotions, and experiences.
  • Presentation and Communication: Teach students how to present and articulate their artistic choices, the symbolism within their artwork, and the message they aim to convey.

  • Materials Needed:

    The materials for this assignment may vary depending on the specific vision of the student, but commonly used materials include:
  • Canvas or heavy paper
  • Pencils, charcoal, or pastels for drawing
  • Acrylic paints or watercolors
  • Collage materials (magazines, newspapers, photographs)
  • Glue, adhesive, or mod podge
  • Brushes and painting tools
  • Found objects (buttons, fabric, jewelry, etc.)
  • Mixed media materials (inks, markers, oil pastels)
  • Scissors and cutting tools
  • Varnish or fixative (for preserving the artwork)

  • Project Steps:

  • Self-Reflection: Begin by asking students to reflect on their own identity, experiences, and emotions. Encourage them to consider what aspects of themselves they want to convey in their self-portrait.
  • Planning and Concept: Have students sketch out their ideas for the self-portrait, considering composition, symbolism, and the use of different mediums. Discuss the message or story they want to communicate.
  • Mixed Media Exploration: Introduce students to various mixed media techniques through demonstrations and examples. These may include drawing, painting, collage, assemblage, or any other combination of materials and techniques.
  • Artistic Process: Students should start creating their self-portrait, beginning with a foundation that could be a drawing or a painted base. From there, they can layer additional elements using various materials and techniques.
  • Narrative and Symbolism: Encourage students to incorporate symbolism and elements that represent their identity, interests, and experiences. These symbols could be drawn, painted, or collaged onto the artwork.
  • Layering and Blending: Demonstrate how to effectively blend and layer different mediums to create a cohesive and visually engaging self-portrait.
  • Presentation: Discuss the importance of presenting the artwork thoughtfully. This could include selecting a suitable frame or display method and preparing an artist statement.
  • Reflection and Critique: Hold a class critique session where students discuss their self-portraits, the creative process, and the symbolism behind their choices. Provide constructive feedback and encourage students to reflect on their growth as artists.
  • Final Presentation: Encourage students to present their self-portraits to the class, explaining their artistic decisions, the narrative or concept behind their work, and the emotions or experiences they sought to convey.

  • Learning Objectives

    Self-Exploration and Self-Awareness:
  • Encourage students to explore and reflect on their personal identity, experiences, and emotions.
  • Promote self-awareness and self-expression through artistic means.

  • Mixed Media Techniques:
  • Introduce students to various mixed media techniques, such as drawing, painting, collage, assemblage, and layering.
  • Develop proficiency in using multiple art materials and tools effectively.

  • Creative Thinking and Innovation:
  • Foster creative thinking by encouraging students to experiment with unconventional materials and approaches.
  • Challenge students to think outside the box and innovate in their self-portrait creations.

  • Narrative and Conceptual Thinking:
  • Teach students how to develop a narrative or concept behind their self-portrait that goes beyond physical appearance.
  • Encourage students to use symbolism and visual elements to convey personal stories, emotions, or messages.

  • Technical Skills and Craftsmanship:
  • Develop technical skills related to drawing, painting, collage, and other mixed media techniques.
  • Promote craftsmanship and attention to detail in the creation of the self-portrait.

  • Artistic Expression and Communication:
  • Enable students to express their unique personalities, interests, and experiences through their artwork.
  • Teach students how to effectively communicate their artistic choices, symbolism, and narratives to others.

  • Critical Thinking and Analysis:
  • Foster critical thinking by encouraging students to analyze their own work and the work of their peers during critiques.
  • Promote the ability to provide constructive feedback and engage in meaningful discussions about art.

  • Reflection and Self-Assessment:
  • Encourage students to reflect on their creative process, artistic growth, and the emotional impact of their self-portrait.
  • Promote self-assessment and the ability to identify strengths and areas for improvement in their work.

  • Presentation Skills:
  • Teach students how to present their self-portraits with confidence and clarity.
  • Promote the ability to discuss the artistic choices made, the symbolism incorporated, and the intended message or emotion conveyed.

  • Cultural and Social Awareness:
  • Encourage students to consider how their self-portraits may reflect cultural, social, or personal contexts.
  • Explore how self-portraiture has been used historically and culturally as a means of identity expression.

  • Emotional Expression and Empathy:
  • Allow students to use their self-portraits as a means of expressing and processing emotions.
  • Foster empathy by discussing how art can connect people through shared emotions and experiences.

  • Artistic Growth and Personal Development:
  • Promote artistic growth and development by challenging students to push their creative boundaries and expand their skills.
  • Encourage personal growth through self-reflection, self-expression, and the exploration of identity.

  • Rubric

    Rubrics have become popular with teachers as a means of communicating expectations for an assignment, providing focused feedback on works in progress, and grading final products. A rubric is a document that articulates the expectations for an assignment by listing the criteria, or what counts, and describing levels of quality from excellent to poor.

    Rubrics are often used to grade student work but they can serve another, more important, role as well: Rubrics can teach as well as evaluate. When used as part of a formative, student-centered approach to assessment, rubrics have the potential to help students develop understanding and skill, as well as make dependable judgments about the quality of their own work. Students should be able to use rubrics in many of the same ways that teachers use them—to clarify the standards for a quality performance, and to guide ongoing feedback about progress toward those standards.

    The rubric for the perspective project can be viewed, downloaded and printed below. Enjoy

    Element of Art


    An element of art that is two-dimensional, flat, or limited to height and width.

    Artist : Vincent Van Gogh

    Vincent van Gogh is instantly recognizable by his reddish hair and beard, his gaunt features, and intense gaze. Van Gogh painted some 36 self-portraits in the space of only ten years. Perhaps only Rembrandt produced more, and his career spanned decades. For many artists, like Rembrandt and Van Gogh, the self-portrait was a critical exploration of personal realization and aesthetic achievement.

    Project Example

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    Project Demonstration

    Student Work

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    Project Submission

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