I am sure some of the support staff in the class thought I was pushing it when I said our final project was going to be a self-portrait! I kind of thought I was a little nuts to try it! And yet, try it and SUCCEED we did! Whenever I do projects like this when I want to empower kids to make original art, I try to give them a blanace between structured guidelines and individual choices.
The best option is to START with a structured guideline. I had the kids use a pre-cut tracer shape for the outline of their heads (of which they could choose from three sizes and shapes. Then I walked them step by step through drawing each feature on their faces- we used colored pencils so that they didn't have erasers at their disposal. GASP! Drawing without an eraser?!?! Blasphemy! Well, not, actually, really good training to use mistakes and not get bent out of shape over them. Try it. Let your mistakes stick around and turn them into character. That's life isn't it?! Or maybe you have a big ole Life Eraser I am not aware of?
Any who. Enough deep metaphors. The next step after tracing the head shape was to look in the mirror. Alright, I guess I am not done with deep metaphors. Because if you want to understand something, sometimes all it takes is looking- looking with a new perspective. Have YOU ever noticed that your eyes are actually in the middle of you head? It's true! If you overlook your hair line and just count the top of your head and the bottom of your head (chin) as top and bottom, your eyes are the middle line! That same thing happens between your eyes and chin for your nose and your nose and chin for your mouth! And another really cool thing I love showing people is how your ear lines up with your eyes and nose! Go find a mirror. It's an awesome thing!