Art projects for middle school and high school should allow the student to express their own ideas. At this age level, the students want to explore making decisions and forming opinions. Art is a safe and easy way to let the students practice these skills. Allowing students to make their own choices in a controlled way will increase their creativity and ability to deal with life choices. Allowing them to express their own ideas will help them deal with peer pressure.
A self-portrait will allow the student to express their own ideas. No one knows them better than they do. This project can be combined with an art history lecture about Pablo Picasso, and how he used newspaper in his collage, or Henri Matisse and his decoupe (of the cut) scenes.
To make this portrait you will need
- Newspaper (especially sports, comics, feature stories and news sections)
- Magazines, old sheet music, old road maps, or large calendar pictures of landscapes
- White glue
- Cardboard (at least 8 x 10 inches)
- Colored paper, including patterns such as wall paper or scrapbook paper
- Mirror (optional)
Before class, lay out the assorted pictures and papers in a variety of locations around the room. Allow the students to walk around the room until they find all the choices they will need. Tell them to find papers that represent a favorite location, a favorite thing to do, favorite colors, patterns, animals, etc. They need to find three favorite things.
Find a color or pattern of paper to use for the background. This can express where you like to be. Pale blue can represent the sky if you like being outdoors. White paper can represent being inside of a room. Music can represent being at a concert. Magazine photos of the ocean or another location can also be used for the background if they are big enough to cover the cardboard. Glue this paper to the cardboard. Be sure to spread the glue out in a thin layer so that the paper doesn’t get soggy, or wrinkled.
Find a section of the newspaper that expresses your interests. If you like sports, use the sports section. If you like entertainment, use the weekender section. Draw a large oval or circle that is the same shape as your face. Faces usually come in oval, circle, heart and rectangle shapes, depending on the size of the jaw and brow. Add a rectangle at the bottom for a neck. Cut out this shape and glue it to the cardboard.
Use paper that expresses your favorite color, favorite animal or favorite pattern. Cut a shirt shape, and glue it below the face.
Use markers to draw the facial features and hair. Use a mirror to see what you look like (optional). Draw the features in a cartoon or abstracted style.
- The student expressed their interests with the papers they chose to use.
- The student expressed their favorite things with the patterns and colors used.
- The student represented their own looks when drawing facial features.
- The student glued neatly and used good craftsmanship in assembling the collage.
Sunshine State Standards:
VA.B.1.3.1 knows how different subjects, themes and symbols (through context, value and aesthetics) convey intended meanings and ideas in works of art.