Self Portrait

Self Portrait Lesson

The fundamental exercise of a self-portrait is a challenge. Rarely do we observe ourselves objectively and so, self-portraits are less about how we see our physical traits and more commonly, a manifestation of our inner self-perceptions. With this in mind, this lesson explores the self-portrait through a tactile and emotional approach rather than a visual one. This activity may be helpful for students with visual impairment or motor skill challenges.


-Hot Glue Gun

-Watercolor Paper

-Watercolor Pencils*

-Paint Brush

*Watercolor pencils can be substituted for a variety of mediums.

Step 1: Working one-on-one with an instructor or volunteer, the student felt and investigated their facial features, one at a time. With some light prompting, the student was able to articulate the shape, size, and placement of each feature. While the student verbally dictated, staff sketched a portrait according to that description.

Step 2: Staff traced over the sketch with a hot glue gun.

Step 3: Student was presented with the hot glue portrait after it had cooled. The student checked the features on the portrait against their own, making verbal notes of needed alterations.

Step 4: The student described their personality (shy, happy, girly, strong, etc.) to staff who selected colors to match those qualities or mood.

Step 5: In the final step, the student colored in the portrait with watercolor pencils, using the glue lines as guides.

Watercolor and hot glue portrait

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