A Homeschool Art Lesson | How to Draw an Accurate Face

Posted by: on Mar 21, 2017 | No Comments

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One area that I’ve wanted to write more about on Elasticpantcity is our homeschooling journey. Now that we have two boys in school, the time dedicated to learning subjects has picked up exponentially. We’ve been challenged to focus on the 3 R’s: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic by our support teacher through HCOS. So old school, but so essential to early learning. Because Ben and I are creatively minded we would rather draw, build and play our days away and frankly our boys seem to be following suit. That said we’ve cracked down on the academics to help our boys build a solid foundation for later learning. I mean, if they can read, write and do numbers, I think they’re good to go ; )

That said, part of our decision to homeschool was to be able to give our kids an arts-based education. Ben is the musician and all-things-tech guy, while I veer towards the fine arts. I wouldn’t call myself an artist but I study art extensively and dabble here and there. At least once a week I try to do an art-study with the boys on something that is foundational for an artist to learn. In this post I’ve written up the art lesson we did on how to draw an accurate face . I’ve included our learning objectives and all other information that could be useful for you to build your own art lesson for your kids! This lesson was great for ages 3 on up. In some areas I have a faith-based focus but you can adapt it as you want.

Supplies:

Old Magazines-precut parts of the human face: Mouth, eyes, eyebrows, nose, ears
Scissors
Glue
Coloured paper
Two computer print-offs (Links provided)

Learning Objectives: Create a Collage of the Human Face and Learn Rules of Proportion for Drawing a Face.

Did you know that most adults still draw the human face as they learned to as kids? We tend to draw without seeing and there are all sorts of tricks to unlearn incorrect methods. For example, many people can learn to draw a face more accurately by looking at the photo of a face turned upside down. Another valuable tool is to learn the rules of proportion. Rules of proportion are measurements of where on the face most people’s eye, nose and mouth are located.

Step 1: Create a Collage of the Human Face

Using the magazine cutouts, create your own face on a piece of paper using glue. You don’t have to use matching eyes on your face: Mix and match and be creative!

Discussion:

  1. Talk about the beauty of God’s creation in the form of the human body, specifically focusing on how every face is unique and special. Imagine if God created us like our collage! Why do you think He chose to make our faces the way he did?
  2. Bring into the discussion when the practice of collage first gained popularity. I am a fan of collage artists from the Dada period, such as Hannah Hoch, so I showed the boys work by these artists. I reminded the boys they had seen Hannah Hoch’s work in a show at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
  3. Artists can represent the human figure in all sorts of ways but if we want to draw a face accurately we can learn the rules of proportion.

Added Learning Bonus:

-Tactile and used fine motor skills

-Practiced math by counting how many eyes, etc. they ended up using in their collage

-Got their creative juices flowing and sets them up for a more focused lesson to follow

Step 2: Drawing Elements of the Human Face Using the Rules of Proportion as Provided

Using a print-off or your own drawing, give each student a copy of the human face divided by lines as seen below.

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Most people do not realize the forehead takes up a large portion of our face. We tend to draw our eyes too high on the face as a result. On average, most people’s eyes can be drawn accurately by placing them on the halfway line as seen in the image. Below the halfway line, divide the face in half again. This line helps us determine where the tip of the nose lands on the average person. Finally, below this line, divide the face in half again and it will help you determine where the mouth should be drawn. These are the basic rules of proportion. If you start with these rules you can adapt as needed. Here’s a helpful hint: The space between the eyes is usually the length of one eye.

Discussion:

  1. We focused on the math of dividing the face up and how math can also help us in art. Specifically we discussed what it means to 1/2 something (Obviously ; ) and how many times we halved the face to get our proportions. (Note: This is a very basic way of figuring out proportions and there are plenty of other more complicated ways but this method seemed understandable for young kids).

Step 3: Draw a Human Face Using the Rules of Proportion on a Blank Face

Use the print off below or get the students to draw their own face shape. Have them divide the face up on their own using lightly drawn lines to show what they have learned about drawing a face accurately using the rules of proportion. The younger students might need help with this.

Discussion:

Have the students share how they feel the lesson helped them draw the human face more accurately. If they have past drawings around (We have plenty!) get them to do a before and after learning comparison.

Below are more images of my boys hard at work on their projects. This lesson was a great success marked by the fact that they were engaged, had fun and learned something! Of course the boys enjoyed turning their collage into little monsters and drawing crazy bodies to go with the faces.

This was a day where I was reminded how awesome homeschooling can be! We didn’t start the art project until the boys were done their 3 R’s work and then we did the  steps of this lesson throughout the afternoon. Parents please note again: Not every day is like this. And for a reason. It was completely exhausting and I only do this type of lesson once a week! However, the planning required is absolutely worth seeing the boys enthusiasm and joy as they engaged in the activity!

I hope you found this useful!

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