Monday, 11 November 2013


I have seen that some of the children are showing an interest in drawing people - this is a big step forward from all the "experiencing the pen move across tha paper" art that has dominated this little group of eleven children. So I thought the time was ripe to introduce the idea of drawing a self-portrait.
On Mondays the children choose if they are going to be doing an indoor or outdoor activity in the morning - we had 10 children present today and it was a 5-5 divide (it isn't always). Funnily enough the child I thought would be the most interested in drawing a self portrait as she has been sitting drawing lots of people suddenly recently, practising, practising chose to go outside - and two children who I thought would not be in the least interested in drawing self portraits (as they have only made drawings of rapid circles and lines) decided to stay inside to draw - but that is the way it works...

One of the two who I thought would not choose to draw suddenly expressed concern... "I can't draw people". I felt slightly under pressure - as this is a child who seems to feel the need to get things just so. Would I be able to support him during this?
I put the camera down and decided to give him full focus. We looked in the mirror - what could we see. He said his name. I asked what shape was his face. It was round. So I asked if he could draw a big round circle on his paper.
He did that.
We looked in the mirror again. Where are your eyes? He pointed to his own eyes. Where in the circle of your face are your eyes? He looked again in the mirror. What shape are they? Back to the reflection and then he draw one circle and then another - I helped him hold his pencil closer to the point as he was having a hard time controlling his pencil letting him know that know it would be easier to direct the pencil.
Can you see that your nose is under your eyes - can you draw that too? He did.
Now look for your mouth - where on your face is your mouth? Under my nose he said. Yes, can you draw your mouth under the nose. He did.
He then looked at his picture and smile and exclaimed "I can draw myself". (1)

The next child positively bounced over in excitement - and even though I did not think this would be an activity that he would be interested in, he proved me wrong. he showed enthusiasm and excitement throughout - exploring his face in the mirror and drawing - with the same sort of guidance.  He started his drawing sideways, by accident or not - but once he drew his eyes on top of each other in the circle, he paused and then turned the paper round to continue. He needed a little help to hold the pencil more firmly, although this did little to affect his drawing technique that was VERY light.(2)

As this was the first time to draw portraits for three of the children I felt it was best that each child got one to one attention - when not drawing the children were in the adjoining room playing with animals, small story figures and fairies - the positive sound of imagination filtering through the whole time... By supporting the children in this way, not only could I aid them with their own observations of themselves but it was also a great language opportunity, boosting our use of prepositions, shapes, body parts etc

The next two children have done portraits with me last term - and they are both a year or more older than the other three as well.
(3) We discussed about where the eyes should be positioned as she was about to place them at the very top of her head - so I asked How high up on your face are your eyes? She looked at the mirror and adjusted the positioning of the eyes and from then on used the mirror to guide her. She was very thorough about the number of bands in each of her mnay pony-tails - counting 1,2,3,4 as she made lines across each pony-tail representing the bands tying her hair.

(4) This child really enjoyed the use of the mirror - smiling back at herself often and notcing the lines at the side of her mouth when she smiled which she incorporated in the drawing. She wanted to include her teeth - and so she opened her mouth to have a look at how her teeth looked. It was also important or her to draw the enitre body. We talked about the fact that she could see her ears and yet her hair still went over them - and how could this be represented on the paper... but frawing over the ears was not something that she could do, and so drew her hair around her ears.

(5) I encouraged the youngest of the group to use the mirror - and even though shelistend and looked in the mirror she chose not to draw what she saw but chose to draw what she knew was a herself, a person. I understood this from the fact that we could talk about eyes and she would draw the mouth. What was fascinating was that her drawing was created sideways and when she was finished she turned it around to admire it. She drew long long legs and long arms. I helped her with her pencil grip to hold it closer to the point so that she would have a more control of the pencil.

I left the portrait things out on the table with the idea that maybe some of the children would like another go... and the two older children did return dressed as fairies and they also brought out the coloured pens to add some colour... check out this post to find out more

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