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Easy Picasso Faces Art Project

Everyone is looking for a quick and easy art lesson that children can complete in under 45 minutes. This oil pastel and watercolor painting fits the bill! The supplies are simple: 9 x 12′ 90 lb watercolor paper, black oil pastel and liquid or pan watercolor paints. Start by showing how to draw a simple “Picasso” cubist face. I did a similar lesson with older children and I used this drawing technique. I allow about 15 minutes for the drawing, stressing bigger shapes and strong lines. I have many Picasso samples on the white board for inspiration.

The oil pastel, if applied heavily, will act as a barrier to the liquid watercolors, creating small areas in which the watercolor can pool. So technically, this isn’t really a resist technique. Use a small piece of watercolor paper so that you can be sure to finish on time and don’t worry about oil pastel smudges. Most paint colors will hide fingerprints beautifully!



  1. Awesome lesson. Thank you for sharing 🙂


    September 16, 2012

  2. Picasso faces are always fun aren’t they? This is a really simple procedure, thanks 🙂
    Are the funky photo frames part of the activity or something you use for your blog display?

    Elizabaeth - Dream Painters

    September 16, 2012

    • Frames are “photoshopped” although I’m thinking it would be great fun to make have the kids the frames from paper!


      September 17, 2012

  3. I have done these a few times with my 5th graders! They love their zany creations and do an awesome job! Thanks for your wonderful ideas!

    Jenny Helmore

    September 17, 2012

  4. Love your organization tips. I have a little longer class time so I do this project in combination with a lesson on drawing basic facial proportions. We do a “realistic” face…look at Picasso’s early work and then talk about some of the thoughts behind the distorted faces! And of course doing the cubist faces are a lot more fun. Love the idea of putting funky frames on them.

    Lisa Bailey

    September 17, 2012

  5. I did this project with my students after viewing some of Picasso’s pieces and then some student creations. My class LOVED this project and they created such amazing work!! Thank you so much for the inspiration and fabulous ideas! I will be back for more!


    December 2, 2012

  6. I did this lesson plan, with my year 2 & 3 class, following your plan and it worked out fabulously. The children had more imagination than I gave them credit for. When they first started I didn’t like them but after they had been gone over (the outline) with black pastel, this made all the difference. When they dyed them they looked even better. Thank you for the great idea, I will be doing this every second year at least!!!


    March 2, 2013

  7. I had my 4th grade students create these this week. As an additional “flair”, they took magazine cutouts of facial features (eyes, noses, etc.) and glued them onto their Picasso portraits. They were so creative and turned out amazing!


    May 15, 2014

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