At the beginning of each class, young artists are asked to practice drawing their hand. In keeping with tradition, we began class by drawing their hand somewhere around their face as self portraits were the aim of tonight’s class, focusing on proportions of the face. A young artist who has drawn many faces in her sketch book, mostly of herself or a fellow student, drew herself resting her chin on her hand.
At her age, children are just beginning to want their drawings to closely resemble the subjects and are focused on accurate representation. After the opening exercise, the proportions of the face were explained to the group and young artists were encouraged to measure the placement of the facial features. Along with this physical and visual measurement, the fact that facial features are commonly misplaced when drawing was pointed out. After the demonstration, artists made another attempt at self portraiture.
This time the young artists used lines to accurately place eyes, nose and mouth as shown in the example. She exclaimed, “Wow look at the difference! This is so much better!” When asked to compare the two faces she did not wish to share her first. Although it seems she was embarrassed about her first portrait, her actions and verbalizations made it clear that she knew she had improved. It is important to help young artists understand this process of improvement and encourage reflection on past work.