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Middle-School Art Assignment 1: Self-Portrait Drawing

The Self-Portrait Drawing Assignment was strategically introduced to Middle-School students, as Art students within this particular age-group are challenged to improve upon their technical drawing skills and general observation abilities.

Although a variety of optional portrait-drawing techniques were introduced to the Art students from which they were able to select a preferred style of drawing, the overall assignment mainly focused on how to correctly apply the ‘Grid-Technique’.

Correct application of the ‘Grid-Technique’ was especially helpful to Art students who were more mathematically inclined, Art students who desired to perfect their drawing proportions with precision, and Art students who preferred relying upon a ‘practical framework’ to envision their final self-portraits, before the execution and completion thereof.

Additionally, the ‘Grid-Technique’ was helpful when enlarging and minimizing reference photographs, as the application of this technique guaranteed a high success-rate of duplicating facial features. However, the ‘Grid Technique’ is only effective when using photographs as a frame of reference, and therefore unsuitable for life-drawing exercises.

Certain rules regarding effective application of the ‘Grid-Technique’, included ensuring that the number of grids were equal to the number of squares, while all grids needed to be in scale with one another and all squares had to be the same size.

The Art students also had to ‘match values’ by identifying and circling similar values /or shades on their reference photographs, (prior to redrawing the facial outlines), so that they were able to create realistic value and shading within their self-portraits.

For example, the Art students had to identify all the areas within their reference photographs which were black /or nearly black and number them all as ‘number 1’s’, all dark grey sections within their reference photographs were circled and numbered as ‘number 2’s’, all light grey shades were numbered as ‘number 3’s’, and nearly all white tints /or highlights were numbered as ‘number 4’s’.

The Art students learned that the most important ingredients for depicting a highly realistic self-portrait drawing, is understanding the necessity of applying multiple layers with various pencil-types, while simultaneously applying one’s observation-skills meticulously to create the best outcome.

Self-Portrait Drawing Assessment Criteria:

A.)-Thinking and Inquiry:

a.1)-Did the student show evidence of his /or her planning & preliminary sketches?
a.2)-Did the student accurately plan correct facial proportions?
a.3)-Did the student demonstrate the light source by including correct core /or cast shadows?
a.4)-Did the student use the correct pencils in order to create the best desired visual effects?


b.1)-Did the student apply the relevant drawing techniques to his /or her self-portrait drawing?
b.2)-Did the student create a wide range of value by using the shading techniques learned in class?
b.3)-Did the student successfully include intricate details within his /or her facial features, using shading?
b.4)-Is the shading smooth and well blended with transitions?
b.5)-Has the student put time and effort into creating a neat and completely shaded, finished product?      
b.6)-No visibly remaining grid /or fingerprints /or folds /or crumpled paper seen within the final submission?


c.1)-Did the student answer three reflection questions about his /or her work with a high degree of detail and specificity?
c.2)-Did the questions answered, contain depth and quality?
c.3)-Were the accurate use of arts-related terminology applied within the answers provided?
c.4)-Overall clarity of communication?