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"funny Face" self portraits

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From: linda (lindwood_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Sep 21 2002 - 17:38:27 PDT


I do a project nearly every year with my fifth graders. I use the digital
camera to take a photo of them making a hilarious, horrible, scary,
extremely joyful, or whatever emotion Facial expression. I ask that they
get their hands into it in some way, too. At least one hand. I let them
practice in front of a mirror...stretched faces, pushed in faces, the
hardest belly laugh, rage, whatever. I take a picture of them, and they
they have to draw themselves in tonal values. It's a big proportion
lesson, too. I have them start with one eye...use an axis line to get the
angle of the eyes right. I tell them to "dry trace" the photo to notice
detail and shape, parallel lines, shadows, etc. What I mean by "dry
tracing" is to just slowly explore line and shadow with a pencil point
without actually leaving a mark. See how far a line travels before it
ends, etc. And, true to "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain", I tell
them not to name any facial feature...just describe it in detail as they
draw it. I remind them to look back and forth, back and forth, from the
photo to their drawing, constantly. I show them a value scale and
drawings with good value ranges and mushy ones with all mid tones. They
see the difference. I also tell them to imagine that there is a steel bar
that connects their eye looking over what they are drawing like a little
ant, and that their drawing hand follows at the same speed, same time,
same direction, as if connected by a steel bar.

Ok...after all this talk prior to drawing, they draw their first eye.
Then they use it as a measuring stick to see how many eyes away the second
eye is. I ask them to use an axis line again from corner to corner of
their second eye to get the angles right. Check for parallel lines, look
where the blackest blacks and the whitest whites are. When the second eye
is drawn, they can use both eyes as a measuring stick to see how long
their nose should be, or how many eyes it is to the chin, to the top of
the head, etc. WE continue with this looking and measuring and exploring
and comparing and contrasting and describing game until the whole face is
drawn in tones and lines where applicable. I am CONSTANTLY amazed by how
great these turn out. At first they freak, but within 10 minutes you can
hear a pin drop. Hair is last, after the chin and hands are drawn. ANd
their shirt collars, etc. I wrote an article for Arts and Activities
about this a few years ago, and it was published. I'd have to look up the
date, though. THey draw SO MUCH LAUGHTER when they are put up. So much
more fun than just another pretty face. I use some of Da Vinci's faces as
examples. Now that I have my power point projector, help me think of some
other faces that are distorted that I could show as examples.

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