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Modigliani Inspired Self-Portraits

Kids use a simple drawing technique that results in these stunning Modigliani chalk portraits. One of my favorite art lessons.

Kathy at Art Project for Kids created a fantastic lesson based on Modigliani’s famous elongated portraitures. Instead of creating a grid like Kathy did, I decide to fold the paper instead. This eliminates the somewhat hard task of creating grid lines with a straight edge. We used oil pastels with this lesson but perhaps the next time I do this lesson I might choose soft pastels.

Check out the link above for Kathy’s full directions.

For more portrait lesson ideas, check out Deep Space Sparkle’s “Fun with Portraits” PDF booklet.


  1. I love these portraits! They are absolutely beautiful and it looks as though the students had a high level of success.

    I also like the new links to other sites you’ve posted and your new heading. Your blog looks fantastic and I am always inspired by your projects. Thanks for making your ideas available!


    January 22, 2009

  2. Thanks, Joy!
    The Modigliani projects were very successful. Have to give Art Project for Kids kudos for creating the grid idea. This was the reason why the project was so successful.
    Thanks for visiting!

    Patty P

    January 22, 2009

  3. Hi Joy,
    I find these all breathtakingly beautiful! I remember getting a few nice pieces when I first did this but yours are ALL gorgeous! Congrats!

    Kathy from Art Projects for Kids

    Kathy Barbro

    February 16, 2009

  4. Thank you so much for all your great lesson plan ideas for art! I will be sure to add your blog to mine to help out other fellow teachers 🙂 I'd love if you had some suggestions to incorporate ancient civilizations for grade fives in about 1 -2 40 minute time slots (I'm a student teacher and I'd love to do something creative and fun)! Thanks again!

    -Miss V-

    October 17, 2009

  5. Hi Patty,

    I love the Modigliani portraits. I'm new to the elementary world and was hoping you can explain the grid method used… I've used a grid method for enlarging drawings but I was hoping you could share how to create the Modigliani look?

    Dawn S.

    September 1, 2010

  6. Hi Dawn,
    I provide a link to Art Project for Kids. Just click on it and Kathy has provided great instructions. Have fun!

    Patty Palmer

    September 1, 2010

  7. I did this lesson with my 7th graders–they loved it! And the portraits turned out beautifully. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas. I teach Art without an Art degree, but with your blog (and many others) I am able to bring fabulous lessons and ideas to the classroom.


    January 5, 2011

    • This particular lesson is practically a no-fail lesson. I have to thank Kathy at Art Projects for Kids for coming up with this one. So glad you liked it and I’m glad it worked for 7th graders.


      January 5, 2011

  8. Thanks so much for sharing this lesson! I’m so excited to do this with my 6th graders! This is my first year teaching and I can’t wait!! 🙂

    April Duda

    July 9, 2011

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