There are a few things that art teachers try to correct from a very early age: 1) popcorn clouds 2) “m” birds 3) a sun drawn in the corner of the paper and 4) a face with huge circle eyes and a dot nose. This last one I take personally because I have researched and put together a class skit of how to teach the well drawn face. I love teaching small children how to discover their features and draw them correctly. Not one child refuses to do the work as long as you show them where to look and how to measure using age old drawing techniques. With a little bit of comedy and hands on discovery on your own face, we’ll all be on our way to cartoon town.
Here’s how I start: each student has a mirror, a paper, 1 pencil, crayons, and patience. Then I ask if everyone knows that your hand is as big as your face. Try it! For the most part it is.
Place your hand in the middle of your paper and draw your dots at the top of your middle finger and under your wrist.
Connect with a shape similar to your face; round, square or oval.
Draw a dotted line through your face cutting it symmetrically, vertical and horizontal, like a small “T”.
Next are the eyes, which sit on top of the dotted line, then eye lids, eye lashes, pupils, and eye brows.
The tip of the nose sits in the middle of the eyes and chin and can be drawn like a “u”. Followed by the nostrils on either side.
This is my favorite part. You know the name of the space between your nose and lips? A snot catcher!
The snot catcher starts the top of the lips.
The chin is special because it too can have different shapes. I draw the shape to connect the bottom of the lip and my jaw line.
The ears start at the eyebrow line and end at the…
Connect the ears with a loose “S”
Next is the hair. Decide where your part is and draw the hair on the face first, like bangs or spikes.
Outlining the whole drawing with a black crayon from start to finish reinforces the lesson learned and eye-to-hand coordination is established. At this point you can erase the dotted lines too.
Try using realistic colors for the first self portrait. You can trace several copies using a lightbox, or window, to use for different styles later.