Secret Identity: Self-Portrait in Costume
Artists have been creating self portraits for many years. And drawing ourselves in a fantasy costume is even better. Sandburg Fourth Graders and DCS Middles (a 3rd/4th grade class) drew their self portraits in a costume of their own design.
First we drew a basic face lightly in pencil, paying attention to getting the proportions of the features correct. I talked the students through drawing a life-size oval, adding lines on each side for a neck, then almond-shapes in the center, one eye-width apart. Halfway to chin is nose tip, halfway from nose to chin is center of lips.
Then we circulated around the boxes of hats, sunglasses, scarves, belts, vests and shirts. Everyone looked in the large mirrors and combined the elements until they expressed themselves in a costume.
Then we returned to our basic drawings and began to add our costume shapes to our self portraits. Continuing to look in the mirror, we added hair and eye color, individual features, and then color with crayons and markers.
I brought masks, vests, shirts, even a wig or two, even though I knew it meant washing everything between classes ( I currently teach art lessons to four elementary school classes.) As our time is always limited (One Hour Art) all costume pieces could be worn over the students’ regular clothes.
We used large wall mirrors propped up around the room, and small makeup mirrors on the desks.
The mystery and fantasy that appears in these self-portraits is so interesting. Without much time to think about it and with limited costume elements on hand, each student created a totally original alter ego.