Lauren Signorelli of Artful Playhouse shows us how to draw abstract self portraits for kids in 6 simple steps! Then paint with watercolors to make the portraits pop!
Updated April 2023
My background is primarily in Early Childhood Education so diving into elementary art was new and exciting for me. Today, I’m so excited to share our abstract self portraits for kids.
For my very first Art Club Kids class, I wanted to focus the semester on bringing out confidence, personality and pride not only in kids’ artwork, but also within themselves.
I began gathering fun, engaging lessons that focused on individuality using the typical “All About Me” preschool theme mindset. And I came across this amazing directed abstract portrait drawing lesson by Kathy Barbro from Art Projects for Kids and I couldn’t wait to give it a try!
I like to go big and bold in the studio and this activity was perfect.
Abstract Self Portraits for Kids
- Fold paper into fours and draw the nose
We used heavy weight white paper or cardstock folded into fours to create guidelines.
Use the middle line as a guide and draw the nose. Make sure to extend either side of the nose to the top of the paper.
- Now draw the mouth and chin
Below the nose, draw a mouth or lips.
Start just above the center guideline and travel underneath the mouth to the adjacent side and draw the chin.
- Draw the eyes
In the middle of the top quadrants, draw two curved lines horizontally for the eyes (touch the bridge of the nose to the side of the paper).
Finish the inside of the eyes using two curved lines touching top to bottom of the inside of the eye. Add two small circles inside.
- Add the neck
Finally, reach from the chin and in line with the corners of the mouth, draw the neck and extend it to the very bottom of the paper.
- Outline drawing with Sharpie marker
Kids always love when you bust out the Sharpies! Now that the basic portrait was complete, we used a black sharpie to outline all of our work.
Although this was a directed drawing project, the next steps really allowed for the kids’ creativity to shine through!
- Add detail with oil pastels, then paint with watercolors
Watercolor resist art is magic for any age and we applied that magic to our portraits.
We discussed lines and pattern before getting to work adding various designs within the shapes of our faces with oil pastels. Some kids designed with symmetry in mind while others made each section unique.
Once we were happy with our designs, it was time to complete our work with watercolors. I also encouraged my students to fill every white space on their paper.
The end result was big, bold, unique and beautiful! I couldn’t love these portraits more and every student was beaming with pride!
More Portrait Art for Kids
- How to Make Frida Kahlo Portraits for Kids
- How to Make Picasso Collages for Kids
- Superhero Self Portraits for Kids (+ Printables!)
- Self Portrait Body Tracing Art
- Mixed Media Collage Portraits for Kids
- 18 Fun Arts and Crafts for Tweens
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