Fun with Portraits Art Lesson Plans

The quintessential art lesson for elementary school: self-portraits! This 24-page lesson plan booklet includes six easy portrait ideas. Easy-to-follow steps, supply lists, full-color photo-tutorials, original Deep Space Sparkle handouts and student galleries included.

The Portrait Lessons includes:

Matisse-Inspired Portrait for early elementary: Using oil pastels, kids draw a simple self-portrait following either a directed line drawing (or the tips stated in the packet)  and create a colorful, patterned background just like Matisse.

Matisse-Inspired Portrait for upper grades: Using tempera paint, older children learn a little more about feature placement and paint a background that would rival any of Matisses’ works!

Paper-Cut Portrait: Using a simple face drawing as a template, children cut paper to create a wild and whacky portrait. If you have a lot of paper scraps, this project is for you! There are two versions of this lesson: realistic colors and abstract colors.

Realistic Portrait: Using the how-to-draw handout, students learn the details of proportion. Appropriate for any grade level.

Multi-Media Collage Portraits: Looking for a unique way for your kinder student to express themselves? This collage portrait is just the thing. A face template provides a good starting off point for the little ones. Yarn, painted paper and buttons complete the art.

Imagination Portraits:Early elementary students love imaging what they would like to be when they grow up. Using the handout provided, children brainstorm certain professions (teacher, scientist, astronaut, movie star, etc) and draw themselves in the role. Absolutely adorable!

The PDF includes five original how-to-draw handouts (two “head” templates to reproduce,Imagination Portrait Idea Sheet and How-to-Draw a Face guide), full picture tutorials and the best yet, over 75 students samples!


Click to purchase Fun with Portraits in the DSS Shop
Click to purchase this product in my Teachers pays Teachers store.



  1. OhHappyDay! says:

    i think i send payment to you for this (julie@ohhappydayfunkyart)
    if you have recieved could you send the pdf file to
    THANK YOU! can’t wait!

  2. Patty P says:

    Hi Rebecca,
    Oh! Sorry about that! Tech support will send you a link via email later on tonight.
    It’s easy to bypass the link in Google Checkout, so I’m glad you contacted me.
    Thanks so much for the order and I hope you enjoy the lessons.

  3. dbanana says:

    I love all the ideas you have on this site. Everyday I seem to find something new. I have shared it with many teachers. Thank you for Sharing.

  4. Patty P says:

    Hi Dana,
    I just sent you a link for the Fun with Portraits lesson. Hope you enjoy!
    If anyone misses or bypasses the automatic link on Google Checkout, let me know…it's really easy to just send an email.

  5. littlecbsmom says:

    I LOVED the self portrait lesson! I just did one with my homeschool co op class yesterday and the results were fantastic! I have NO experience teaching art and thanks to you I was able to pull this off.

    I had the kids draw a picture of themselves first then walked through the lesson and then they drew themselves again and the transformations were amazing!

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  6. Shai Coggins says:

    Hello. I've tried to purchase this, thinking I will get a download link immediately, as I was hoping to use the lesson for tomorrow. But, I did not get the link. I'm disappointed. How do I get access to the PDF file?

  7. Patty Palmer says:

    Hi Shai,
    Yup, the download is immediate. Send me your information right away and we'll take care of you (I have forwarded your comments to tech support but other than your name, he has nothing to search for in terms of payment or ordering records)

  8. chris says:

    I tried to purchase this, but when I clicked "add to cart" nothing happened. Please help.

  9. Patty Palmer says:

    Hi Chris,
    Occasionally our server is interrupted, so trying again a few minutes later is sometimes the best solution. You can always go directly to the Product page.
    Hope this helps!

  10. deldobuss says:

    I love your site and your lessons! Have you ever thought about adding your pdf booklets to I am a homeschool mom and I know that other homeschool moms would love your lessons for their children!

    -Aadel in KS

  11. Patty Palmer says:

    Thanks for the tip! I'll check it out!

  12. Linda Grant says:

    Hi, love your stuff! Just ordered ‘Fun with Portraits PDF’ but don’t know how to get file? Didn’t see a link. I paid through paypal.

    • Patty says:

      Hi Linda,
      Sometimes Paypal can take a while delivering the link. Wait a bit but in the meantime, I’ll forward your email address to tech support.

  13. Connie says:

    I received the receipt from paypal, but no download link. Can you forward to


  14. Catherine says:

    Hi, i purchased the self portrtait pack yesterday, but havent received anything in my email inbox as yet. I have purchased something before and pal pal sent it straight through. ??
    Please help, i need it asap!

  15. Catherine says:

    Hi again- (my comment above) still waiting for some help! Please fwd the link i purchased to – paid through paypal.

    • Patty says:

      Hi Catherine,
      I’m in Europe right now and I’m having trouble sending email. Double check your email address that Paypal has. Even though this might not sound like the answer to your problem, it’s by far the most common error with Paypal. Also, can you send me an email with your name and what you ordered. It’s easier sending an email to tech support rather than a comment. Don’t worry…we’ll get you your link.

  16. Kay Heilman says:


    I have come to this link through the Daily Cafe site. I was here a year or so ago, but was hesitant to purchase as all I read in the comments are people who haven’t received their link.
    As of August 16th, you still are having difficulty.

    Would love to purchase but cant afford the risk.

    • Patty says:

      Hi Kay,
      Sometimes problems happen with an order (wrong email address for paypal, people not knowing how to download and sometimes a problem with our server not being able to handle the load) but everyone always receives a link.
      I leave the comments up as sometimes the answers are in the replies and can serve as trouble shooting for customers. Out of the many thousands of lessons we sell, there really is only a few problems and Neil and I are always there to help.
      Thanks for pointing out your concern!

  17. Neither download worked for me they both said there is an error in the file. Please help. I prefer this to be sent to my aol account if possible, Thanks

    • Patty says:

      Hi Susanne. I forwarded your comments to Neil. He’ll send you a direct link, so don’t worry, you’ll get your lesson. Occasionally our server gets overloaded and the download time for PDF’s gets cut off. I’m not sure if thats the case here, but sometimes that happens. Help is on the way!

  18. HollyP says:

    I just purchased using Paypal – please send to holllypanter@ gmail dot com


  19. NeetK says:

    I also just purchased this product. Could you please send the PDF to

    Thanks again for the great site, and all the great activities.

    • Patty says:

      Hi NeetK,
      I’m not sure if you used Paypal or Google Checkout, but sometimes there is a delay with Paypal. Please check your junk mail folder and double check your email associated with your Paypal account, meanwhile, I forwarded your query to Neil. He can send you a direct link in case you haven’t received yours by now. Enjoy!

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  21. [...] Grade: My Matisse Inspired Self-Portraits in Tempera Paints. (See my “Fun with Portraits” PDF for the [...]

  22. [...] can take some time, the results are worth it. Read over the instructions (better yet, download my Fun with Portraits Lesson Plans PDF) and plan your strategy. This project does require a few specific instructions so the first stage is [...]

  23. [...] “Matisse” Portraits for Fifth Grade September 19, 2009 By Patty Leave a Comment Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginMy fifth grade students at Brandon School have been working very hard on these dynamic portraits for three weeks. Yesterday, most finished. I’m so proud of their work!The finishing steps require attentive students and these children did a marvelous job of doing just that. You can find a complete tutorial in my  Fun with Portraits PDF Lesson Plans . [...]

  24. [...] benefits: little prep and few supplies needed. Yay! You’ll find this project featured in my Fun with Portraits Lesson Plan PDF. I include some templates so you might want to check it out. I love this project because it is so [...]

  25. [...] more detailed photo tutorials, templates and student handouts, check out Deep Space Sparkle’s “Fun with Portraits” PDF [...]

  26. [...] being wrong. For a more detailed lesson plan, with templates available, consider purchasing my Fun with Portraits Lesson Plans. It’s worth it. Time: Three, 40-minute classes Supplies: Selection of flesh colored [...]

  27. [...] more Portrait lesson ideas for this and other grade levels, check out Deep Space Sparkle’s “Fun with Portraits” PDF booklet.  Check out this post from a reader. /* Pin It Filed Under: Famous Artists, First Grade, [...]

  28. [...] more detailed photo tutorials, templates and student handouts, check out Deep Space Sparkle’s “Fun with Portraits” PDF booklet.  /* Pin It Filed Under: Portraits, Third Grade Tagged With: Paper Projects, [...]

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  30. [...] student handouts for this and other portrait lessons, check out Deep Space Sparkle’s “Fun With Portraits” PDF booklet. Click on the button below to [...]

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About Patty

I teach art to 400 school children in Goleta, California. My art library contains hundreds of free art lesson ideas. My shop has art lesson plans, videos and resources to help you teach art to kids. It's a whole lot easier with Deep Space Sparkle.

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