Self-Portait Painting


A self-portrait is a representation of an artist that is drawn, painted, photographed, or sculpted by that artist. In this lesson we are going to paint a self-interpretation, not a photographic likeness. Your self-portait painting will express your mood, personality and other personal characteristics of yourself.

What you need

  • sketch pad
  • permeant marker, pencil & eraser
  • gauche paint (poster colours)
  • Water bucket, brushes and tissues

What you do

PART 1: Portrait Drawing and Brainstorming

  1. Start off with a rough drawing of your portrait on a A4 size sheet of paper. This rough draft will help you practice and plan your final self-portait. 
  2. Make a line drawing of your face using a photo for reference. Try to draw your facial features; especially eyes, nose and mouth, as accurately as possible.   
  3. Remember to include a boarder in your drawing. Design your boarder so that it reflects aspects of your personality and mood.  
  4. Transfer your drawing on to high-quality paper with pencil. Trace the lines with permanent black marker.   


PART 2: Self-Portrait Painting

  1. Before starting to paint, assess your drawing to make sure everything looks okay. Ask a classmate for their opinion. 
  2. Practice painting on your rough drawing first. Practicing mixing colours to match your skin tone.  
  3. When selecting background colours, consider what your favorite colours are and the kind of emotions you want to communicate. 
  4. Paint your face, background and boarder. Always begin with light colours first and progress to darker ones.