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A Portrait of Feeling: A Great Art Project

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A famous portrait – The Mona Lisa

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”- Oscar Wilde

Portraits are a HUGE part of art. Whether you’re admiring the Mona Lisa or seeing someone paint caricatures at the amusement park, portraits are all over. They’re fun to create, too!

Are you ready to dive in? All you need to get going are the following:

  • Paper

  • Pencil

  • Color Pencils

  • A hard surface to draw on

  • A person who is willing to sit in front of you while you draw (and maybe a chair for them to sit on) or even a photograph

As you begin, make sure to have your person (let’s call him or her the subject) sitting in some sort of light. After all, you’ll want to make sure you can see the subject—especially because you’ll need to get some detail in your art.

Begin by drawing the shape of the subject’s head. The easiest way to do this is to make an oval. Some people have rounder faces than others, so adjust your work accordingly. Once you’ve got the basic shape of the face, draw the features of the subject’s face, starting with the nose, then mouth, then eyes. As you look and draw, pay attention to your subject’s features. Is the nose small or big? Does your subject have large, puffy lips, or are they thin? Are the eyes big and wide, or does your subject like to squint? Make sure to be specific when drawing facial features, as each subject is unique. Chances are your grandpa is going to look different than your little brother!

Once the facial features are done, start drawing your subject’s hair. Pay attention to how the hair sits on the face, especially if your subject has bangs. Some things to look for include if the hair is curly or straight; the length of the hair; and how the hair is combed.

When you’re done drawing, thank your subject and let him/her go. Now it’s time to add YOUR feeling to the work through your coloring. Use a unique blend of colors that signifies your mood. Does the portrait represent excitement? Feel free to take advantage a color pallet that uses a lot of yellows and pinks. Is your subject somber? Maybe throw some blue and grey in the background to convey this mood. This is your opportunity to throw your own spin on the work, so go with your inspiration.

Before you know it, you’ve made a complete portrait! Consider offering your work to your subject or hanging your piece of art on the refrigerator. Own it!

Have a wackadoey day, and make sure to come back to the blog for more fun art project ideas!

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