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Curriculum - Art and Design - Lesson plan - Let's face it

Secondary: A project on portraiture offers a framework for pupils to explore their identities through a range of materials and processes

Secondary: A project on portraiture offers a framework for pupils to explore their identities through a range of materials and processes

What the lesson is about

This term-long scheme introduces pupils to the theme of portraiture through a wide variety of methods such as measurement, digital photography, Photoshop, analysis of artists' work and materials, and concludes with a final project. This plan provides a diverse range of cross-curricular activities with a central focus on a crucial artistic medium. It is aimed at GCSE pupils.


  • Develop observation skills when collecting information and communicating ideas.
  • Develop analytical and intuitive capabilities through the appropriate use of materials, processes and techniques.
  • Develop an understanding of the formal elements.
  • Develop skills when using digital media and develop an individual response.
  • Adapt ideas to meet different purposes and make connections with others' work.
    • Getting started

Introduce the theme of portraiture. Discuss and demonstrate how to construct a portrait using measuring techniques. Try to overcome preconceived ideas about how a face should look. Encourage pupils to look at detail and construct an accurate tonal study of themselves or another member of the class.

Get pupils to take photographs of each other using a digital camera. Give them a brightly-coloured image of themselves created in Photoshop and show them how to use colour media to recreate the images.

Ask your class to produce at least two digital designs of their pictures using Photoshop to manipulate the images. These can be printed and included in their sketch books.

Set pupils the task of constructing a self-identity photomontage using collage techniques, after collecting images or items that say something about them, such as photographs and jewellery.

Ask pupils to research artists who have used portraits in their work. Get them to develop a study of the ways those artists worked. Give pupils the opportunity to try out some of those techniques by recreating some of the artists' work.

Taking it further

For a final piece, ask the pupils to develop their own work and design through their choice of media. This piece should reflect their identity, as well as taking on some of the characteristics and techniques of the artists they have looked at.

They should design at least two ideas to show how they have reviewed and modified their work.

Finally, they should evaluate the project, outline their ideas process and show how their work has been influenced by other artists.

Where to find it

The original scheme, including extension ideas and cross-curricular links, was uploaded by marsoma and can be found at

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