Here is a sampling of self-portraits inspired by artist Paul Klee (including one in progress) from my last teacher workshop. Paul Klee (1879–1940) was a Swiss artist known for his highly individual, abstract style. His work was influenced by many different art movements, including Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism. This project uses squares of “bleeding tissue” for it’s vivid colors. If you haven’t tried this technique yet, you really must!! It’s so much fun.… even for adults! I originally found this idea on the always inspiring blog “Art Projects for Kids”. I changed it a little to focus more on realistic proportions, but check out both ways of doing it and see which you like best! Here’s how we did it:
- 9x12 white construction paper
- Black chisel tip marker OR black crayon
- Mirror (for self-portraits)
- “Bleeding” tissue paper in bright colors, cut into squares and rectangles
- Watercolor brush
- Water and containers
- After watching you demonstrate, have students draw a very basic self-portrait (see instructions in previous post). Encourage the use of stylized shapes, simple lines and minimal detail. I like to have Kindergarteners draw directly with their marker or crayon, but older students may choose to draw with pencil first and then trace over their drawing. The point is not so much to create a “realistic” portrait as it is to create a simple line drawing, so if the proportions, etc. are a little off, so much the better!
- Place a piece of tissue paper on your drawing and use a paint brush to paint over it with water. Repeat with contrasting colors until the entire paper is covered with pieces of wet tissue paper and no white paper is left showing.
- You may wait for tissue to dry before removing it, or simply take it off as soon as it has had a chance to bleed its color onto the paper.