Why our art teacher dreads making self-portraits with his students
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Why our art teacher dreads making self-portraits with his students

Although primary art teacher Sacha Sukasam believes that creating a self-portrait is invaluable to develop students’ observational skills, it’s a project he is always dreading. In this article he explains how he’s found a way forward.

By Sacha Sukasam, primary visual arts teacher

One of the projects I dread teaching the most is self-portrait. This is because rather than creating a portrait of what they actually look like, students often opt for making one of what they think they should look like. An example of this is choosing a lighter skin tone for themselves. Through my experience I’ve witnessed children with darker skin tones awkwardly choose to either be chestnut brown or peach. With the in-betweens being an experimental mixture between yellow, orange, pink, brown and black. 

Bigger variety of skin tones

However, self-portrait is an incredibly vital lesson for students to develop their observation skills as well as to get an insight on how they see themselves. With that in mind, this time round students were offered a bigger variety of skin tone colours to choose from. They then started by matching different skin tone coloured paper to their arms, until they found a complete match.  

Astounding results

Once they got their skin tones down, students started to observe their features more closely, such as getting the right hair texture and eye colours. The results were astounding. Not only did the 2nd graders improved their fine motor skills, but they were also able to authentically create a self-portrait collage which closely resembled what they actually look like. Check them out for yourself!