art ideas for the classroom - · pdf file famous for painting the mona lisa. eric daigh...

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  • These straightforward, practical portrait-themed suggestions for teachers follow on from the BBC Learning Live Lesson with illustrator Nick Sharratt. To watch the recording of the Live Lesson, please visit the Big Painting Challenge website:


  • Different materials can create different effects. Allow pupils to experiment to see which ones give the most pleasing results. Start off with basic materials and explore others as you go.



    Experiment using these materials:

    Paint — watercolours, poster, acrylics, oils Pencils — varying grades, colours, watercolour pencils Charcoal Chalk — coloured and white Oil pastels Graphite sticks Collage — 2D and 3D materials Montage — magazine clippings, photographs, printed images Natural materials — fruit or vegetable juices, flower petals, mud, clay A range of paint applicators such as various sized and shaped brushes, sponges, cotton buds and scrapers

    Begin by asking your pupils to look in a mirror and pull faces. Changing their facial expressions will get them to notice which parts of their face move most and least. Photographs or pictures from magazines. Children can also work from memory (remembering), observation (looking) and imagination (creating). Look online for inspiration and build your own gallery of resources on the BBC Your Paintings or National Portrait Gallery site.


    Use digital drawing programmes to quickly and easily draw a portrait. Once you have the outline of a face, children can change the colour and add or take away features to manipulate the image, creating different facial expressions. Children will find drawing with a stylus or using a touch-screen much easier than a mouse. Search the internet for artistic images, life stories of artists and examples of their work which will most inspire children. BBC Bitesize Art and Design has lots of short clips to get lessons going with practical demonstrations at: subjects/zn3rkqt

    Using black and white lets you concentrate more on the shape and form, line, tone and textures of a portrait. Colours add realism, life and depth. Begin with a simple line drawing using pencil, charcoal, chalks or graphite sticks. Add shades of colour using chalk pastels, pencil crayons or watercolours. Always blend and mix colours to create new tones — don’t just go straight from the pencil, bottle or tube. Encourage children to see mistakes as part of the creative process. Originality is good and nothing to be upset about. Experiment with a limited palette such as LS Lowry’s five standard colours: white, black, red, yellow and blue. Build up layers of colour for a richer and deeper effect.


    MAGAZINE MONTAGES Cut out lots of different facial features from magazines and arrange them in a sketch book to create a range of different portraits.

    FRUIT AND VEGETABLES Look at the work of Arcimboldo for inspiration. The more sources of inspiration children use, the more interesting their work will become. Allow them to use their imagination as well as their five a day to create a natural portrait.

    PICASSO-STYLE PORTRAITS Draw or paint a portrait of the same person from two different angles. Be brave, cut each into flat-sided ‘jigsaw pieces’, mix them up and rearrange them to make two Cubist portraits.

    DOTTY PORTRAITS Look at examples of Georges Seurat’s pointillist paintings and also traditional Aboriginal paintings. Use cotton buds, paintbrush handle tips, pencil ends or straws and paint to create a stylised portrait with unusual effects. Try using black or coloured paper for the background.


    LS LOWRY — UK A unique style of sketching and figure painting with several notable portraits amongst his works.

    PABLO PICASSO — Spain Artist, sculptor and printmaker creating drawings and paintings often in Cubist style.

    TOULOUSE- LAUTREC — France Sketches and paintings capturing snapshots of characters in French society.

    VINCENT VAN GOGH — Netherlands Thick heavy brush-strokes capturing a variety of characters’ faces.

    RAPHAEL — Italy Renaissance painter of incredible frescos and beautiful religious imagery.

    ARCIMBOLDO — Italy Portraits constructed and painted using fruit, flowers and vegetables.

    JULIAN OPIE — UK Digital artist creating accessible, simple, bright and bold yet faithful representations of people.

    LEONARDO DA VINCI — Italy Many, many creations but most famous for painting the Mona Lisa.

    ERIC DAIGH — USA Portraits using unconventional materials to combine painting, photography and mosaic.

    RENE MAGRITTE — Belgium Surrealist painter with a unique take on portraiture.

    Ten great portrait artists whose differing portrait styles will inspire children in new ways.


    Show children different types of illustration. Four different styles of illustration can be seen in the art works of: — Mick Inkpen — Quentin Blake — Anthony Browne — Raymond Briggs


    BBC Your Paintings – art resources Three different artists’ self-portrait challenge (2D and 3D sculpture) Picasso portrait painting – using colour to represent emotion LS Lowry style portrait Andy Warhol’s ‘Marilyn Monroe Diptych’ explained Simple figure drawing – a natural extension to portraiture

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