Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Lesson Plans

How-to-Portraits: Long post

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Vanessa Mellom (mellom)
Sat, 17 Oct 1998 00:35:27 -0400

I recent ly did portratits with my 6th - 8th at school.
We did four one hour lessons on it, each time doing a full portrait...
with one day finish and evaluate
It was really sucessful, so successful that I wanted to share with what
I found that really worked. With NU Pastel. The nu pastels have such
wonderful layering qualities which is so perfect that you cover up
mistakes when they happen, rubbing out and blending into the paper was
not allowed because better results happen when the pastel is layered ...
{I got the large boxes of 48 colors... It is so worth the expense}

The first day we did black and white and picasso, The second day we did,
color with Degas, using the same system, and the third day we did wacky
colors. And the last day we finished, evauated our progress and worked
on backgrounds, with ideas from Frida Kahlo. (There are great lesson on
her in the getty internet archives)


Talk about the value scale and assigning numbers to each value,
We used four values of nupastel,and gave each value a number;
White(1) light grey(2), dark grey(3) and black(4).
This amount of four values of nupastel proved to be crucial, That way
each value is separate, And a lot easier for students to make a gradual
gradient. If you use just black and white charcoal then they have a hard
time making grey because they aren't patient enough to make it, they
want immediate results so four different pastels of different values is

EXPLAIN AND EXPERIMENT:PRactice using the pastel on a scrap of
paper.FUZZY BROAD STROKES and lines

FIRST, DRAW THE MAP: with the dark grey lines, "Do you belive that....
the eyes are in the middle of the head? Lets measure in the
mirror...... Marking The shadows under the nose in the middle of the
eyes and chin?

EXPLAIN HOW WE START DRAWING: We start with the general shadows, fuzzy
broad strokes, putting your first layer of pastel down. (Details come at
after sll of the shadows are put in) This is when I have them look in
the mirror for all four shadows of darkest, dark, light, and bright
places. Listing places where the see the four different values.

SECOND: Add all shadows in a fuzzy way, with the dark grey; the cane
for oneside side of nose and eyebrows and under, under the nose, under
the bottem lip like a moustache, hair, and side of face and temple.

THIRD:we put in the highlights, with white; forehead, cheeks, stripe
down the bridge of the nose the ball of the chin fussliy attached to the

FOURTH: The last general shadows added were the lightest shadows value
(2), the light grey pastel was used tocreat a gradient between the white
and the dark grey, is sort of creates a mess around the details which is
good because the details need a surface with pastel on it already for
them to come out good. Suggestion: Use the grey over the dark grey and
the white to sucessfull make the gradients.

EYE: In the mirror measue how far the eyes are from the center line of
the face, name the different parts of the eye and see if you can se the
whole colored part of the eye in the almond shape?, then, turn paper so
face is lying on its cheek, along the eye line draw an almond shape with
the dark grey, so that the corners are the same distance away from the
center line Put in the white in the corners of the eyes, parenthesis for
the iris fill in with the dark grey. Add the pupil; with black and add
white highlihgts to the pupli and sunbursts of the iris,

NOSE: Identify all the shape and where they are located in the mirror,
Be sure to identify what is the lowest part of the nose parts, the
center or the ourstide edges of the nostrils. To start drawing< Make
rub a light grey layer of pastel where the nose and nostri;s are goin to
be. With white color in a ball at the end of the highlight stripe Nest
to the ball on both sides with space in between put quarter moons in
white for each nostril Like this ( O ) {A much bigger O then the one on
this keyboard. And last, underline the ball and the moons, and make
marks where the inside of the nostrils are.

MOUTH: Mirror: Which lip is in shadow and which is in highlight? Now you
know what values to use.Is there a shadow under the bottom lip? With
dark grey draw the upper lip: TWO MOUNTAINS AND A VALLEY / or A "V" that
fades in to the cheek. whit: Bottem lip. Beware of "humongo liver lips"
If the are too big, you can white out with with white pastel.

Layer of dark grey,
Light grey strands of curls lines on top of lines, on top of lines,
Black: color in the negative shapes
Dk Grey, Lines through the BLK
Light grey, More lines through BLK and Dark grey
White: Lines through Light grey highlights.

This was really sucessful with the older kids, They really did
professional quality work! Amazing stuff!

Contact me if you have any question!

Vanessa Mellom