DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

"Expressive Self-Portraits"

Fundamentals of Art

Dulaney High School, Timonium MD

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Fundamentals of Art "Expressive Self-Portraits" UNIT PLAN

Dulaney High School

Expressive Self-Portraits using exaggerated colors and emotional facial expressions representing student's inner selves


Sequence Chart:








group color.pdf







  • Students will create Expressive Self-Portraits using exaggerated colors and emotional facial expressions representing their inner selves.
  • Students will study portraiture through a variety of exercises involving proportion, facial features and details, value and shading, and color exploration. These exercises will lead to a final self-portrait where accurate representation of the facial features, focus on shading, and color choices will be considered. 


  • How do you create a self portrait showing emotional qualities and exaggerated color?


  • What can portraits tell us about the people in them? What can self portraits tell us about the artist?
  • What makes a self portrait good?
  • What do the expressions of people in these portraits inform us about?
  • How are the individual pieces of a portrait composed? How do the features of a face fit together?
  • What emotions can eyes convey?
  • What are common mistakes made in portrait drawing?
  • What do you already know about oil pastels?
  • What did you discover about oil pastels?
  • What emotions are being expressed in an image? How?
  • What feelings do colors convey? What are some meanings that colors have?
  • How do you use facial expressions to convey an inner emotion?



  • Students will be able to compare their pre-assessment drawing to their other drawings and recognize what is incorrect about their portrait
  • Students will understand how the features of the face fit together to form a portrait
  • Students will understand that the features of the face convey the emotions being expresses by the subject
  • Students will develop a visual memory for the features of the face trough sketching
  • Students will use color as a means of expression and creating meaning


  • Students will accurately be abel to draw the individual features of the face (eyes, mouths, ears, nose) using a variety of sketching techniques, such as copying, tracing or following step by step directions
  • Students will be able to compose the individual features into a full portrait using correct proportions and accuracy
  • Students will use oil pastels correctly


  • Students will be open to trying new things and ways of drawing
  • Students will be willing to learn and improve upon their pre-existing skills
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Teaching Resources / Visuals

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
User-uploaded Content

Prezi.com Presentation, Self-Portrait Examples

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

STATE/DISTRICT OUTCOMES (Baltimore County High School Comprehensive Fine Arts Program):

  • through sketching the individual features of the face a visual memory of these features is formed to combine into a full composition
  • oil pastel is a media with visual properties of easily exaggerated color to create an effect of emotional expression
  • oil pastel is a material that needs to be applied with specific techniques
  • because of the properties of oil pastel it is a good medium to choose for expressing emotional exaggerated colors and portraits
  • through a formal critique of finished products and works in process students learn to use opinions of others as constructive criticism as well as how to critique another piece of art
  • through critique students are respect each others works and offering positive criticism about others ideas and expressions
  • Declarative Knowledge
  • F3.1 Sketching may be used as a form of visual brainstorming to generate ideas; Artists observe and sketch from natural and manmade environment to develop visual memory
  • F3.2 All media have unique visual properties that can be used to create various effects; Every art material has specific characteristics which require specific techniques and tools; Artist select media and use techniques for interpreting subjects and expressing ideas
  • F4.2 A critique is a formal process that involves description, analysis, interpretation, and judgment; Criticism is based upon knowledge influenced by personal bias and changing social values
  • F5a.1 Demonstrate tolerance and respect for the expressions, ideas, abilities, and needs of others gives artists and others the ability to freely express ideas; Artist maintain integrity for their own work when they respect, understand, and safeguard the originality of work
  • Procedural Knowledge
  • F3.1 Developing skills with using a variety of sketching and drawing tools
  • F3.2 Selecting and using art tools, materials, techniques, and processes appropriately, assessing the visual characteristics of each medium
  • F4.2 Listening, observing, analyzing, questioning, Identifying and comparing visual characteristics; Using verbal, written, and visual language to communicate ideas
  • F5a.1 Providing constructive criticism to peers; Constructing support for decisions; Listening, observing, analyzing, and questioning


  • portrait:
  • self-portrait:
  • emotionalism: a theory that suggests that the most important thing about an artwork is the communication of mood, feeling, or idea. Success is in strong mod and focus is on expressive qualities
  • imitationalism: a theory that suggests that the most important thing about an artwork is realistic quality of the subject matter. Success is in looking like the real world and focus is on literal qualities
  • formalism: a theory that suggests that the most important thing about an artwork is the effective use of art elements. Success is in balanced shapes/lines/colors/values/textures and focus is on visual qualities



  • paper, sketch books
  • mirrors
  • pencil, erasers
  • oil pastel


  • prezi
  • features (eyes, mouth, nose, ears) worksheets with images for sketchbook drawing
  • color scale worksheet
  • color scale shading a shape and shading a face worksheets


  • Self-Portraits: Durer, Parmiginano, Courbet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Frida Kahlo, Mary Cassatt, Kathy Kollowitz, Chuck Close, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplerthorpe


  • pre-assessment self-portrait
  • sketching individual features of face
  • drawing portrait with accurate proportions
  • color and value exercises
  • expressionism/emotionalism introduction
  • photograph self-portrait to draw
  • oil pastel drawing of expressional self-portrait with exaggerated colors
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.