Let’s Get Started


In this activity students will get the opportunity to draw someone they love. It is a simple activity, using pencil and coloured pencils, but because of the subject matter it can lead to great personal enrichment and sharpened observation skills.


Have a collection of a variety of different materials that students can explore using during this class. A collection of found materials from nature work perfectly as they are easily accessible, and are cost friendly.


Note:  Have the example image of Mary Pratt’s painting entitled This is Donna on display for the class to refer to to show the concept of portraiture, with emphasis on the full body, rather than just the face.

  1. Students will discuss the subject of the painting. Mention that it is a woman in her underwear. Although this is apparent the students will want to laugh and giggle about the image. This is normal and not to be avoided, but discussed.
  2. The students will be told to focus on the details of her face, and all the shadows that are on the walls behind the figure . Where is the light coming from? Is she sad? Happy? Angry? A good and open discussion can come from these questions. Once the students get a few giggles out of the way, the lesson  can carry on.
  3. Following the short discussion, students will be told that they are going to do their own portrait of someone they love. This portrait is going to be from memory. Ask students to all close their eyes for 10-15 seconds and picture someone they love.
  4. Ask students to focus on the details and unique attributes that make the person   they love special to them and then try to show these details in their image: If their chosen person is loving, perhaps they can draw a heart; if their chosen person is a musician, perhaps they can draw music notes or an instrument. Any information to help the viewer know why this person and location are special will help express emotions behind the image.
  5. Students will be told that they are going to fill in their image with  colored pencils . At this point students will also be asked to think about shadows. All students will begin to think about light and how it creates shadows. Is there a sun in their drawing? If so, where would the shadow be? Is there a light in the room that they drew? Which side, and where would the shadow lay?
  6. Students will be made aware that shadows help the viewer get a sense of where light is coming from and make images seem more 3-dimensional.
  7. For students who have completed their assignment they can attempt to add on to the activity by using construction paper to create a frame around the picture. For this, students cut strips of construction paper and tape it to the image. They can decorate their frame with marker, glitter, words, anything that is available for them to use.
  8. After all the pictures are complete students will sit in a discussion circle to share their work. Try not to force the discussion as students will have the right to pass, but rather encourage them and assure them that the discussion circle is a safe place and they can feel free to talk about their art. Students will be asked to share who the image is of, and what location is in the background.

Tips and Tricks

With K-2 this lesson can go very quickly which means ideally there would be a lot of scrap pieces of paper available from them to paint on as they enjoy “getting dirty” with paint.

Try not to give students all 3 primary colours, as when they are mixed together, the end result is always a brownish colour.  Put simply, use red and blue but no yellow (white should always be available, and a bit of black). Using orange, red, and blue, will give the same brown affect since its base colours include all primary colours. If students really love yellow, perhaps give them yellow, blue, black and white.