Working with the Children on the Portrait Study
Role of the Artist:
We began by focusing on the parts of the eye that we can see on the surface of our faces. We also discussed the rest of the eyeball that is not visible to us but is equally important to understand and include in our drawing. We were able to see how important it is to draw parts of the face that we can’t see in order to create a guideline to assist in the proper placement of the facial features as well as things like eyelids and eyebrows.
When we focused on the nose we discussed the difference between the hard part of the top of the nose, which is bone, and cartilage, which is softer part towards the end of our nose. We started our drawings to create a nose by drawing a circle at the end representing the cartilage to give us a guideline for creating our nostrils. This helped us to properly place the nostrils in relation to the upper narrow part of the nose.
Then moving on to the mouth, another simple circle technique helped to show where to place the small dip in the middle of the top lip. It also provided a guideline to know how far down to create the bottom of the lip in relation to our chin. Once the children had a confident command of drawing the eyes, nose and mouth, we move onto determining where to place those features on an oval that would temporarily represent the face. When the features were added we also discussed the proper placements of the ears in relation to the eyes and mouth.
Then we looked at the shape of our head. We noticed that some were rounder than others while others were oval, and some had more triangular jaws, and some people have a square shape to their face, etc.
Finally, we wanted to make sure our portraits included the neck and shoulders and part of the chest area so that we didn’t have a floating head on our page.
We also focused quite a bit on maintaining and developing the correct proportions, not only for each of the features, but also to utilize the whole page. We did this so that we created interesting positive and negative space, as well as an all-around interesting art piece.
Miss Bonnie, Artist at Acorn Early Learning Centre (June 2011)
Role of the Educators:
Our focus was on the “Image of the Child”. We were very interested in who the children thought they themselves were. While they could now understand the process of drawing their image with the help of an artist and mirrors, we still had many questions to ask the children such as “What do you think you eyes say to others” or”your mouth”? As well, what would your friends say about your eyes or your face? Who did they perceive themselves to be? So we started to ask those questions of each of the children as they looked at themselves in a mirror and after they had done their drawings, recording their answers. This information together with their drawings have helped us to have an insight into each of the children as individuals and also to observe their emotional growth over the school year.
One important observation that we made was that especially the girls added jewellery and flowers to their self-portraits without any provocations on our part.
This has been exciting work and we hope that they will remember this part of their childhood with excitement and happiness.
Miss Joanne and Miss Amanda, Acorn Early Learning Centre (June 2011).