Personalized Self-Portraits

Third grade self-portrait by Zachary

Use the inspiration of artist Frida Kahlo to have your students add a personalized touch to their self-portraits. Frida Kahlo is known for her prolific painting career…. paintings mostly of herself! She often used symbolism in her paintings as a “window to her soul”. I like to have students add “something that helps people know them better” to their self-portraits, even if it’s as simple as using their favorite color in the background. The technique for making borders that I showed you in my last post creates a great space for displaying all kinds of images and designs.

To help students come up with ideas of things that describe them (for some reason they often struggle with this), I first have them fill out a “Personal Inventory”. I usually print up a 1/2 page form for them to complete, but sometimes I just asked them questions and have them jot down simple one-word answers.

Here are some of the questions from my “Personal Inventory”: What is your favorite color? Favorite food? Favorite subject in school? Favorite sport? Favorite sports team? Favorite hobby or after school activity? Favorite season? Favorite holiday? Favorite animal? Favorite time of day? Favorite thing to draw or design to doodle? Favorite place? Those are just a few ideas…. add some more of your own! Be sure to tell students that it’s not necessary to answer every question…. this isn’t a test! The point is just to brainstorm ideas of things they like. Then have students create symbols to represent those ideas and add them to their background or border. The “Personal Inventory” will help students to create self-portraits that show more than just what they look like!

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