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Two of my favorite self portrait projects on the high school level are
simple, but effective.
1. Bring in a picture of yourself. Enlarge it on a copier (black and
white), so that it is "reduced" down to values by the simple fact of
enlargement...Get the Sunday paper. Rip out (don't cut-tear!) pieces
the size of a quarter and under (variety of shapes), of different values
made by the type. (you should collect approximately 10 different types
from white to total black). Paste the 'bits' of paper down on the
"xerox", using the values as a guide. Little bits are much better than
big bits. These turn out wowie zowie. My students have searched the
paper for words that meant something to them to put in the
collages...some have done contour line drawings on top of the collages,
some directly on the image, others askew..It's a good base for
watercolor...has a lot of potential for expressive ideas.
2. Working from a mirror or a picture, do a self portrait where your
head touches at least 3 sides of the paper. Make sure you put
sunglasses on your face. In the sunglasses, in one lens do a portrait
of you as a baby, in the other lens to a portrait of you now. (we did
these in pencil, but any medium will do).