Wild ‘n Crazy Picasso Portraits

“Picasso Por­traits”, taught by Mrs. Mendence to her 2nd graders,
after attend­ing my teacher work­shop, “Teach Kids Art with Markers”

Noth­ing beats abstract art for get­ting kids to loosen up and just have fun with being cre­ative! Not hav­ing to worry about mak­ing your pic­ture look “real­is­tic” really takes the pres­sure off, and for many, can be a totally free­ing experience!

Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) was a pro­lific Span­ish artist who pro­duced over 20,000 draw­ings, paint­ings, prints and sculp­tures dur­ing his 70 year career. As one of the most rec­og­nized fig­ures in 20th-century art, Picasso is best known for co-founding the Cubist move­ment and for the wide vari­ety of styles embod­ied in his work. Study­ing his fas­ci­nat­ing life and very orig­i­nal art will help both chil­dren and adults alike to develop a greater appre­ci­a­tion for all styles of abstract art!

I adapted this les­son from a project I found on Miss Julie’s Place — Art Lessons for Kids. Click here to read her instruc­tions and watch a step-by-step slide show! I chose to teach my les­son a lit­tle dif­fer­ently, using mark­ers, bright col­ors and dif­fer­ent types of lines for con­trast — rather than focus­ing just on value, which I think would be a great idea for older kids. Try it both ways!

9x12 white con­struc­tion paper
Magic Rub eraser
Cray­ola mark­ers in bright colors

1. Stu­dents may work from a pho­to­graph or from life to cre­ate their por­trait. They may even want to draw Picasso him­self!
2. With pen­cil, draw a large oval shape, fill­ing most of the paper.
3. Next draw a curvy line down the mid­dle of your oval, to sim­u­late the shape (fore­head, nose, lips and chin) of a profile-view por­trait.
4. Find the lips and draw a side­ways “V” shape on both sides, with a line through the mid­dle from cor­ner to cor­ner. You are cre­at­ing both a pro­file and front view simul­ta­ne­ously!
5. Now add the eyes and out­line the shapes for the eye­brows above them. Draw only out­lines of shapes — noth­ing filled in yet!
6. Draw a sim­ple “C” or “back­wards C” to indi­cate a nos­tril on the pro­file side of your draw­ing.
7. Add a curved line on both sides of the head for ears and draw the hair as a shape rather than indi­vid­ual lines.
8. Next, draw a “fig­ure 8″ (ver­ti­cally) over the top of your por­trait and a rec­tan­gle (hor­i­zon­tally) across it. Use these lines to cre­ate inter­est­ing shapes within your draw­ing. Erase any lines that cre­ate shapes that are too small to color in.
9. Trace over all your pen­cil lines with a “fine” black Sharpie, then erase any pen­cil lines that are still show­ing.
10. Use mark­ers to color each shape, with no two shapes that are next to each other col­ored the same. Use stip­pling, hatch­ing, cross-hatching, and even scrib­bling to fill in your shapes!

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5 Responses to Wild ‘n Crazy Picasso Portraits

  1. Faige June 10, 2009 at 8:10 pm #

    I absolutely love those Picasso draw­ings. I love any kind of art that chil­dren don’t feel like they have to copy a spe­cific model and the mural is so pro­fes­sional look­ing. Did you know that Picasso was a VERY pro­fi­cient real­ist before he became a cubist? When I saw some of his work from that area I was amazed. As a kid I always thought he couldn’t really draw realistically.

  2. TeachKidsArt June 11, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    Yes! That’s exactly what my next post is about!! Stay tuned.…:)

  3. Ms. Julie's Place June 12, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    I love how these turned out. I have done the les­son this way as well. I love show­ing the kids Picasso’s early work too. I think it really helps them get the idea that art isn’t nec­es­sar­ily just about what we can or are able to do but what we make a con­scious choice of doing!
    I am always amaz­ingly hum­bled when oth­ers use and adapt my lessons. Thanks so much for using the idea!

  4. Megan June 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    How long did these take the stu­dent to do?

    • Cheryl Trowbridge June 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

      These took two 50 minute ses­sions to com­plete. First ses­sion, intro­duce Picasso and draw with pen­cil. Sec­ond ses­sion, trace lines with Sharpie, erase pen­cil lines and color with mark­ers. Fun!

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