If a portrait is a picture of someone else, and a self-portrait is one of ourselves, this activity combines both. Students trace each other, but then draw themselves.

You will need big sheets of butcher paper and an available mirror for this one. Before starting, have students examine the differences between Picasso's self-portraits and Durer's, using the websites listed below. How are they different? Is one more realistic? Is one more fantastic?

  1. Cut sheets of paper that are large enough to fit students' entire body. 
  2. Have students pair up and find an area with enough floor space to accommodate the sheet of paper.
  3. Lay out the sheet of paper on the floor and have one student trace the outline of the other's body on the paper.  
  4. Before tracing, students must discuss how students being traced would like the outline to look: Thick line or thin? In color or black and white? Close to the body or not? Once these decisions are made, the tracing can begin. 
  5. Once one student is finished, repeat procedure with the other student. 
  6. Now that students have the outline, ask them to go to the mirror and look at their own faces. What are the shapes that make up the whole of their face? What kind of drawing tools should they use to represent them? How should they reproduce the hair?
  7. Ask students to draw in their own faces on the paper outline of their bodies. They can glue other supplies to the paper to help make a more accurate portrait. 
  8. Once the faces are complete and if they have time, the students can detail the rest of the portrait: clothes, shoes, etc.
  9. When complete, hang the portraits all over the room, and have the students identify who is who from the drawings.


View some self-portraits by Pablo Picasso

See some portraits by Durer