Art 1 Gridded Celebrity Portraits

Each year following an introduction to gridded portraiture, students in grades 8-12 are challenged to create a self portrait, using a grid method. Some years I find it helpful to have students do a preliminary drawing before attempting the self-portrait project.

I usually try to avoid having the kids work from images taken from the internet, but for this project they could choose from several different photographs of celebrities that I provided.

They started by creating a 1/2" grid on the photograph and a 1" grid on 9x12 sketchbook paper. Using the grid to establish their placement, they first made a (LIGHT!!) contour drawing of the outline (just to make sure that their placement was correct), then moved to interior lines, then focused on pertinent details. After everything was properly placed, they erased the grid and used smudging and blending to establish a good range of values on their drawings. They erased to create highlights.

I encouraged them to work upright on our easels (or walls!) at some point as they drew; to back away from their drawing from time to time and look at it from a distance; to turn it 1/4 of a turn every 10 minutes or so; to cover most of the photograph and drawing to limit their view and increase their objectivity; AND to not focus on drawing a face, but on simply matching lines, values, etc.

Based on where many of these kids started in September, they have made AMAZING progress!!








Introduction to Gridded Self Portraits
Student Progress in Portraiture
Student Self-Portrait Gallery




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