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Creating portraits in elementary school is a rite of passage for any child. Almost every child creates one, and every parent adores them. If you are in search of some portrait art lesson ideas, you’ve landed on the right page!


There are many portrait options here at Deep Space Sparkle…

  • If you’ve never taught art before or would like a bundled packet of lessons, I’d suggest purchasing Fun with Portraits. A downloadable PDF file that offers six portrait lesson options that include full photo-tutorials, student galleries and the best yet–handouts.
  • For the slightly more experienced, I have many free options that you can chose from. Scroll down and see all the wonderful, creative portraits lesson that you can try with your class, child or group.
  • Read my series on the Primary Portrait Project where I experiment with three different media for portrait making in Kindergarten: Tempera, Chalk Pastel and Oil Pastel.

Kinder, First and Second Grade Portrait Recommendations

Collage Portraits Using yarn, paper and paint to create a decorative self-portrait.
Painted Self-Portraits  A basic self-portrait using tempera paint.
Self-Portraits with a Twist  A creative twist on a basic self-portrait using oil pastel and watercolor paints.
Fairy-Tale Royals Portraits Add a little glitter and glam to a basic watercolor portrait.
Picasso Faces Try a different approach to making a portrait–Picasso style!
Oil Pastel Portraits–Matisse Style Use easy oil pastel to create an expressive portrait in the style of Henri Matisse

Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Grade Recommendations

Paper-Cut Portrait Use the student-made template and colored paper to create a whimsical portrait.
Fairy Tale Kings, Queens and Knights. Who says all portraits need to be serious? Older kids will love creating these dynamic portraits.
Matisse-Inspired Painted Portraits. Expressive, personalize portraits in the style of Henri Matisse.
Emotion Portraits. Use waterproof pen and watercolors paints to create an expressive emotion-based portrait.
Modigliani Portrait using oil pastel
Abstract Paper Portraits. A twist on the regular paper-cut portraits using abstract colors.

Other fun Portrait Projects

Frida Kahlo Portrait  (Available in the Frida & Diego PDF)
Cowboy and Cowgirl Wanted Posters (Available in 3-Ingredient Art 5 & 6 PDF)
Egyptian Faces (Available in Egyptian Faces PDF)
I hope you enjoy all the lessons!